Saturday, July 16, 2011

RSA Animate: Ken Robinson on Shifting Education Paradigms

RSA Animate is like the TED conference -but with cartoons!  The Royal Society for Encouragement of the Arts hosts speakers with innovative ideas (this is where it is similar to TED) and sometimes they make them into amusing videos.   Here is a video that seem to apply to education I thought I would share for anyone who has the time and inclination to watch them.

The speaker is Ken Robinson and he is talking about how the paradigm of education is based on an outdated model of society and because of this students check out in class because none of it seems relevant to them.

I'm pretty thankful for The Industrial Revolution.  As much as I love the outdoors I enjoy the opportunities I have in this day and age to leave the farm, live in a city and enjoy the benefits of mass production that time period brought about for western civilization.  One product of that time was public education (another reason to be grateful).  Unfortunately the factor design that was popular at the time for making widgets found its way into making students.  Because of that we are handed a educational system that puts kids in a box like they are a product.  

To be honest I do not see a problem with considering kids to be products of an educational system.  What we really have is a compatibility issue.  The problem is that the process of manufacturing intelligent, thoughtful, creative or at least self-motivated adults requires a different sort of factory than a car.  For students there are no standard parts and if you return them to the manufacturer then you go to jail for murder.  For the student factor the parts that come in are all unique and autonomous and it is not entirely clear what to expect of the performance of the finished model.

Is there any solution to our factory problem?  How can we get the volume of students the state requires educated for a reasonable cost?  One possible solution is School of One in New York.  The concept behind the school is that every student is different and requires a different method of learning.  Students are able to select their method of learning for each subject (computer program, small classroom or tutor -who tutors several students at once remotely).  At the end of each session the students are tested and a computer program analyzes what algorithm seems to work best for each student for different subjects.  Feakonomics Radio has an episode dedicated to it.  They compare it to Pandora.

No comments:

Post a Comment