A Future Without Schooling?

Jim Shimabukuro, Jan 29, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes
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So, here's the question: "Can we, educators, imagine a future without traditional schools and teachers? The same can be asked of higher ed, Can we imagine a future without traditional colleges and professors?" Well in fact, Jim Shimabukuro says, we've already begun to imagine this future with MOOCs and other open online learning. So, the key issue isn't whether we can do it. Rather, "yes, students 'can' learn on their own or with peers, but the problem is 'will' they?" But isn't that an indictment of the traditional system? Contrary to all the stated goals of education, "Years of regimented schooling has succeeded in creating regimented students who are unable and unwilling to learn on their own."He adds, "we’re standing on the edge of a vista that staggers the imagination."

Just one thing, though. This new and exciting future isn't the outcome of a sole entrepreneur working outside the system, as the TED myth would suggest. This has been the goal of a lot of people, working together, mostly in government and schools, with some support (and as much resistance) from entrepreneurs. The internet, the web, open content and open access, the LMS, pedagogy and the MOOC: all were created within the public system, by people working for the public good, not by some lone capitalist with an idea. This future wasn't created by the Bill Gates of the world. It was created by the Pete Seegers. Never forget that. Photo: Robin A Richardson.

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