Riley: Social learning - retraining the educators
Riley: Social learning - retraining the educators
Added on 04 May 2017
Watched 3,304 times

You go to any educationalist, let's just take a state school or college, something like that, and you get the teachers and you put them all in a room. Some of them will be between the age of 30 and 40, some of them between 50 and 60, and you may have a few a little older than that. So they will broadly break down into people who think this technology is absolutely fantastic and they are fully operational and they are going to educate this way. Some of them will go: "Wow, this is new. That sounds like re-training to me, but I'm coming into it, I've got a long career ahead of me, I really want to be a great teacher, and my students need this, so I'm in." And some of them, which I call retired but unannounced, just go: "It's over. I am just going to give up. I'm just going to coast now till my retirement date, because I'm not emotionally, skillfully or even mentally equipped to be interested in this. What I really like is flat boards, the old way."
So if you talk to that younger group, and even some of the middle group, what they tell you is: "Well, here's a really cool thing. Lectures used to be everybody sitting around listening to lectures, and lecturers find that really boring. They have to do the same lecture every time there is an undergraduate class." Then he goes home and they do their homework. I don't know if you've heard, but the other thing that happens on the internet is everybody cheats, apparently including the Defense Minister for Germany right now. So everybody cheats, but why do they cheat? They cheat because we learn communally. So you can either say 'people cheat' and you can take that moral overtone to it, and all old people go: "A lot of the students cheat today." Which makes me laugh. Or you can go: "This is great, there is an impulse, we actually learn better when we're with a lot of people." Which is what most good educators understand, social learning.
So now the people with this technology go: Everybody gets together at the beginning of the class, and the teacher just goes: "All right, well, you've got the lecture, you've all watched it, now let's talk about the lecture." So he or she can assume that the students all saw the lecture over the weekend, in their own time, or when their kids were put to bed or after work or whatever is most convenient for that individual. And the individual knows that when they get to the classroom, they are going to have a communal experience about the knowledge. This is a better way of teaching. And so the only people that would reject that, are good people who are just not up for that change, they just like the old way. And that's completely acceptable for some as well. But all the energy is in this other camp.
So that's a good question: Do we re-train, are there new skills? And I go: Yeah, but it's already happening. And again, any of those of us, everybody who you talk to who has teenage children is fully aware that this process is underway. So when you hear people fighting it, particularly in the education system, you're just hearing people who are afraid. And typically they're not afraid of educating children or teenagers, they're afraid for their own livelihood or they're afraid about their incompetence or, there are many other reasons why the educator should be afraid right now. But it's not about whether or not technology can improve education.

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