Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Special Blog Post #1

Boy Wrapped Around in Social Networking

A World Where Grades Will Be Left Behind By: Mary Beth Marklein, USA TODAY

In this USA Today article by Mary Beth Marklein, it describes a type of education that will be free and available to anyone who wants to participate. It is a type of education where no one will be late for class, no one will be counted absent, nor will they have an option to fail. Google vice-president and Standford research professor, Sebastian Thrun, is seeking to make this change to education. Thrun does this work at his education company, Udacity, in California. Thrun says, "You want learning to be as much fun as it is to play a video game." Now Udacity is up and running trying to enable this change in education. Special effects are being used, video cameras are taping instructors' hands while writing on boards, and Thrun's team is making computer generated activities. Thrun says that he has no idea what education systems will look like in 30 years, but he does know that it will be top of the line due to the use technology. Classes will never again have a size limit, students will not be given grades, and instruction will be free. The only thing that might cost students is additional services. Thrun compares to this revolutionizing of education to the revolutionizing of the movie theatre. Whenever the film-making business grew it did not shut down live theaters. It just allowed people to watch movies in every town, it suited large audiences, and was very reasonable. This is what Thrun wants to do with education. He wants the education systems to reach people everywhere and be affordable without closing down the regular school buildings. His vision of the future is summed up in these few words, " offers "a message of hope, of aspiration -- not of destruction."

Thrun has a friend, Sal Kahn, who is encouraging teachers around the word to "flip" their classroom. Flipping the classroom means to take away books, paper, and pencils to incorporate computers, the Internet, and SmartBoards. Students will not have "lectures" by their teachers nor worksheets for homework. These students will be engaged in at home online lectures provided by their teacher then they will complete homework in the classroom. This enables the teacher to answer questions the students have as they face them. Schools in the north have already designed a curriculum that enables students to play games while they are in school. Some colleges even want to create a way to get an education that is CHEAPER than a CELL PHONE bill! Wow!

After reading this article I found that it was very similar to Dr. Strange's theory of learning. Udacity will be free, students will not be given "grades", and it is practically available to everyone. Just like in EDM 310 it is pretty much free, except for tuition, but we did not have to buy an expensive textbook. We are not given grades; we are just evaluated on our work quality, which makes us try harder. The EDM 310 class is also pretty much available to anyone. Since everything is online in EDM 310 anyone in the world can participate in this class.

If I was not experiencing this type of change that this article is talking about then I would completely disagree with the ideas. I think that it is a great change in the education system by incorporating technology and doing away with the grading system. Sometimes students tend to focus too much on the grading scale and do not learn anything while doing that. By not receiving a grade on every assignment in EDM 310 I have noticed myself trying harder on the projects and actually learning more.

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