As many theorists of innovation have noted, it’s difficult for mature established fields (and corporations, for that matter) to reinvent themselves. Change often comes from the outside. Once an organization has settled into a revenue stream that provides some security, it’s almost impossible for that organization to adopt approaches that harm or cannibalize that revenue stream (Blockbuster and video rentals, Microsoft and Office). Risk-taking is the domain of young companies and outsiders to a field. ReadWriteWeb presents five ways for tech companies to disrupt education. Suggestions: it should be free(mium), grassroots, 21st century learning & teaching, use open content, be open source. Can’t say I see that as being sufficient to disrupt education. Any solution that does that would need to:
1. Be based on a unit of influence that is at the control of each individual (i.e. connections not networks)
2. Scale social interactions (not only content) so large network learning occurs, but in a way that permits various group/collective sizes
3. Promote and benefit from learner autonomy, helping learners to building skills and capacity for ongoing learning
4. Use distributed, decentralized technical infrastructure (p2p not centralized)
5. Extensively use learning analytics, preferably blurring physical and virtual interactions
6. Use curriculum intelligently (linked data/semantic web) in order to provide learners with personal and adaptive paths
7. Allow information splicing so that flows can be adjusted and organized to reflect different learning and social tasks
8. Enable easy variance of contexts – or as my colleague Jon Dron states – “context switching”.
9. Offer varying levels of support and structure, under the control of the learner. If a subject is too challenging, learners can choose a structured learning path. Or, if learners prefer greater autonomy, more flexible paths can be adopted.
10. The system needs to learn from the learners (Hunch is a good example)
11. Integrate activities from various services so learners can centrally interact with data left in other services (Greplin)
12. Provide learners with the tools to connect and form learning networks with others in a course and across various disciplines (diversity exposure to ideas and connections needs to be intentional)
What are your thoughts? What type of tool, or functionality, do you think would disrupt education? What types of tools would teachers need to disrupt education?