The educational landscape is shifting—fast. It’s because of three revolutions that have occurred since 2000. This was the message of Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet and American Life Project, as he delivered the keynote to the NROC Annual Membership Meeting in Monterey, CA, earlier this week. NROC is the National Repository of Online Courses and is made up of members from state boards of education, school districts, digital academies, virtual universities, education networks, and more. I was at this meeting because I’ve been consulting for the parent organization, the Monterey Institute for Technology and Education. (See more about NROC and MITE at the end of this blog post.)
I was hooked immediately by the positive outcomes from this new educational model and then reeled in by the call for positivity in delivering the educational experience.
Three revolutions that are shifting the educational landscape
1). Broadband facilitates networked learning
2). Mobile connectivity alters learning venues and expectations
3). Social media aids peer-to-peer learning by doing
What does this mean? There are new kinds of learners emerging—both in capacity and learning styles. They are more oriented towards being nodes of production. More self-directed. More reliant on feedback and response. Better arrayed to capture new info. And more inclined to collaboration.
And according to the 75 NROC meeting attendees, for this new technology-based and often remote online learning to be effective, teachers, learners and parents must embrace the experience and come at it with positive expectations. Many are doing just that, and we heard compelling success stories. Others are just getting started, and many more are just beginning to think about it. There is a great deal of potential in changing the delivery of education, and there are many benefits to come.
What is the future of learning/knowledge?
Rainie referred to Shana Ratner’s (1997) “Emerging Issues in Learning Communities.”
- With the old education system, learning is transactional. Knowledge is objective and certain. Learners receive knowledge. Knowledge is organized in stable, hierarchical structures that can be treated independently of one another. And our “intelligence” is based on our individual abilities.
- In the new education system, learning is a process. Knowledge is subjective and provisional. Learners create knowledge. Knowledge is organized “ecologically” (i.e., disciplines are integrative and interactive). And our “intelligence” is based on our learning communities.
Don’t forget the positivity
Ben Williamson’s recent blog at DML Central about “Happiness, Learning, and Technology: Why “Affective” Schools are the New “Effective” Schools” underscores the need for digital learning to be infused with the same (or more) positivity as traditional learning. This is a great read for anyone involved in the online learning revolution. With Williams’ urging, perhaps we will REALLY transform education—as long as we make sure a positive outlook bears as much gravitas as the information that we convey.
About MITE and NROC
Supported by grants from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Monterey Institute for Technology and Education (MITE) has developed an open education resource called HippoCampus.org to provide high-quality, multimedia content on general education subjects to high school and college students free of charge.
Positivity has an important place in every aspect of life. Please post examples so that others may see how a positive approach has helped you with a specific outcome or process. Or contact me if you are interested in exploring ways that your life can be more fulfilling through positivity. Cheers!