Sunday, December 9, 2012

Napster, MOOCs, K-12 Ed?

I am in the middle of reading this blog post by Clay Shirky called "Napster, MOOCS, and the Academy."

A neat quote:
Once you see this pattern—a new story rearranging people’s sense of the possible, with the incumbents the last to know—you see it everywhere. First, the people running the old system don’t notice the change. When they do, they assume it’s minor. Then that it’s a niche. Then a fad. And by the time they understand that the world has actually changed, they’ve squandered most of the time they had to adapt.

In it, Shirky talks about the revolution in peer to peer sharing of music via Napster coming to Higher Education in the forms of MOOCs (massive open online classes).

That’s because the fight over MOOCs is really about the story we tell ourselves about higher education: what it is, who it’s for, how it’s delivered, who delivers it. The most widely told story about college focuses obsessively on elite schools and answers a crazy mix of questions: How will we teach complex thinking and skills? How will we turn adolescents into well-rounded members of the middle class? Who will certify that education is taking place? How will we instill reverence for Virgil? Who will subsidize the professor’s work?

As an adjunct professor, I am very interested in the future of higher education. But in my day job as a middle school Science teacher, I wonder and fantasize about the time where K-12 education also undergoes this type of openness.

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