Education As We Know It Is Finished

Clayton M. Christensen, Michael B. Horn, Forbes, Jul 13, 2010
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Education as we know it is finished, says Forbes. There's a lot to like about that - the era of industrial-age schooling was due for an overhaul anyways. And there are all these new technologies we can use to make learning personal and personally relevant. The bean counters at Forbes, however, have a different set of priorities. "With big budget cuts looming, online learning is likely only to grow, as students increasingly look to it to for courses they want to take and credits they need for graduation." Or as Mike Klonsky summarizes, "It will be much cheaper without teachers." We need to be clear (and this is a bit of a theme for today) about the direction learning technology will take us. I would be very disappointed, and indeed more than a little concerned, about the death of public education. At the same time, it is critical that we do more to make learning more accessible, and more relevant, to learners. We have to walk a fine line here, between the marketers and hucksters on one side, and the fossils and demagogues on the other.
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