Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community
This is a remarkable video. Rupert Murdoch argues, digital advances are making workers more productive, creating jobs that did not exist only a few years ago and liberating us from the old tyrannies of time and distance. This is true in every area except one: education." The current system in the U.S., he says, is "a jobs program for teachers and administrators" and the suggestion that failure is caused by poverty is "arrogant... you can build human capital even in extreme circumstances." He gives three examples of how bringing technology into the classroom will help in education:

- exciting young imaginations. The key is in the software - every study tells you it has to be interactive - guided instruction, instant feedback, practice exercises, and access to hundreds of videos
- more personalized teaching "to make mathematics sticky, to microtarget eighth-grade girls who might want to be physicists, and personalize the reading of each student" and to analyze where children are and what they need to move ahead
- "we can bring the world's greatest thinkers to every student for very low cost" - we do this outside the classroom; for example, we can download the world's greatest Mozart symphony for about a dollar.

We should build such a system, he says, "and ensure that no child is left on the margins of the great prosperity that this global economy offers." Yeah, I know, it's Rupert Murdoch. But surprisingly (or perhaps not?) I support all this. Where do you think connectivism and MOOCs are heading? Examples of all the pieces exist somewhere in the world. Not a day goes by that I do not wish I had the money, and more importantly, the authority, to build the system Murdoch describes. But there are systems in place to ensure that this never ever happens.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Mar 30, 2021 11:36 a.m.