Digital learning perfected - are we there yet?
Today's post comes from our co-founder and Executive Director, Neeru Khosla. This is the first part of a series of posts from Khosla.
If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our students of their tomorrow - John Dewey
How often have you thought: What if someone improved the way I'm doing [x] right now to make it more efficient/simple/easy? It got me thinking, what if we tried answering that question in education? What if we tried to question some old norms and use technology (we have become more digital right?) in our discourse of public and private education? After all, isn't that what technology's promise is: offer efficiency and simplicity with an opportunity to improve?
Experimentation as an integral and important part of Learning
Imagine when one decides to build a wheel. Several questions come to mind: should I build it with stone? What all will I need? How would I develop a first prototype of it? The answer is invariably, the first version is a prototype, an experiment. The wheel that was just made is so far from what was envisioned! But what it brings with it are more stumbles and learnings that go into the development of the next wheel, and it turns out better. We've not taken this approach in education technology yet. Ed Tech is a new beast!
At CK-12 Foundation, we've tried this approach by initially putting out flexible online textbooks (that you can create on your own for free!) and then learning that concept-based learning is something the market needs, decomposed the digital online textbooks into bite-sized concepts. A lot more yet to learn for us…hence our experiment is still ongoing!
What did we rob them of?
Students are the core of everything we do and care about because they are our future. So, when we think of ways we can augment their understanding and comprehension of key fundamental concepts, we're all for it!
I often wonder:
Black and white images vs. multimedia textbooks today
Did we rob the students of the past from imagination, innovation? Are we allowing our children to think multi-dimensionally now?
School Musuem/lab trips vs. Interactive Simulations today:
Remember when we had to wait to apply our classroom learning till we have the trip scheduled to go to the lab? Did we rob students of the learning moment "at that time". Today's interactive environment allows students to participate, engage, practice, iterate and learn in the moment, right then and there!
Delayed Feedback vs. Instantaneous, Customized feedback today:
Our ability today to provide real-time, instantaneous feedback for a child's learning due to the digital environment is helping improve learning dramatically. I shudder to now think of how traditional feedback had to wait till end of class time/end of term. Did we rob them of their right to know and improve 'in that learning moment at that time'?
Silver bullet solution?
Is there one? No. Technology has helped and will continue to help, but that's just one piece of the overall solution. There are elements of pedagogy, curriculum, teaching styles and many more that play a vital role and we're still in the early phases. It won't be solved by anyone alone, but rather together as a team by believing that change has to come. There's been a lot of chatter about edtech: is there innovation or is there noise? Time will tell.
We're working on a lot of exciting things at CK-12 that help address some of these core challenges and put the power back in the hands of the ultimate user - YOU! Stay posted.