Seth Godin poses a question in his TEDx talk that I have been mulling over all semester: what is school for? I think we can all agree that a school isn’t just a building to hold students for the day; although, as Parker Palmer points out in “A New Professional,” “the fact that we have schools does not mean we have education.”
I am inclined to agree with many of the points Godin makes about how education may (should?) change moving forward and with the availability of technology:
- Making lectures and course materials available online would give students control over their schedules, and the freedom to manage their time as they please. In concert with an expert in the subject matter– available either in person as Godin suggests, or online in real time– to direct questions toward, this seems like a promising model.
- There may have been a time when memorizing information was necessary, but in a world where we have constant access to resources, this is an outdated idea. It is likely that students will, over time, memorize the important facts that come up repeatedly in their work but requiring memorization and regurgitation is unnecessary and ineffective.
- Godin mentions “precise, focused education.” Products we purchase are customizable, we have precision medicine (kind of), so why not education too? I have some trouble imagining what exactly this would look like. I think of my undergraduate experience; I completed a degree with an interdisciplinary major, which gave me the ability to select courses that aligned with my interests. On the other hand, it failed to create a cohesive progression in my studies that students in established departments had.