Thursday, January 10, 2013

In 2025, Will we Still be Sending Our Kids to School?

ABC Video Player - No Links
ABC Video Player - No Links (Photo credit: stevegarfield)
by Matt Brett, Manager Higher Education Policy at La Trobe University, and Associate Professor Claire Macken, Director, Flexible and Online Learning Development Projects at La Trobe University, The Conversation:

By now, most of you have probably heard of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) - courses by universities like MIT and Stanford that are available for free online.

But what about Massive Open Online Kindergartens (MOOKs)? Or Massive Open Online Primary Schools (MOOPS)?

MOOCs have seen a lot of hypothesising about the future of higher education and what it means for universities. But if these ideas about online and blended learning are taken to their logical conclusion, the impact of technology in education could extend beyond universities to every stage of education.

Development in a digital world

Today, customised educational technologies are available across developmental stages, from pre-natal to higher education. Children grow up with using technology nearly everyday.

A case in point is this viral Youtube video which shows a 12-month old baby successfully navigating an iPad while finding the same movements on a hard copy magazine don’t work - one is clearly more familiar than the other.

To give you a sense, let us briefly take you through the technology filled world of our respective progeny (a 5 year-old, and 9, 10 and 12 year-old children).

For these children, familiarity with the cause and effect of keyboard, mouse and screen was introduced at a very early age. Augmenting other developmentally appropriate activities like play group, books and parental engagement, were access to websites like ABC 4 Kids, Nick Jr and cBeebies.

In schools, educational websites such as Studyladder, BrainPOP, Mathletics and even Minecraft are part of their learning experience.

Socialisation and group work is also encouraged by teachers as part of learning through online environments, school-based learning management systems and web-based social learning software. And ABC’s subscription only Reading Eggs and related work books has many kids on the cusp of commencing school already reading.

Desktop or laptop computing is but one element - these children are also proficient in smart phones and tablets, complete with a vast array of apps specifically targeted at childhood development.

There’s apps for languages, maths, science, history, geography, art, and music. There’s even an app to help your child appreciate the night sky. Bloomin’ apps even matches educational apps to Bloom’s taxonomy.

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