A recent post on this blog asked:
“Has the era of the super teacher arrived? Will the role of the traditional teacher be turned upside down? Are we on the cusp of complete disruption to the standard educational model? Two emerging technologies – free massive open online courses (MOOCs) and interactive, “flipped” classrooms – suggest that the answer to each of these questions is a resounding, Yes.”
Prism: “The world’s greatest instructors can now teach virtually anyone anywhere on Earth and achieve the feel of one-on-one instruction – for free. Millions of the planet’s poor who thirst for knowledge will drink at the fount of these super teachers. And for students attending your local educational institution? Why would they take Intro to Artificial Intelligence – or grade 9 algebra, for that matter – from anyone but the world’s best?”
Friedman: “We demand that plumbers and kindergarten teachers be certified to do what they do, but there is no requirement that college professors know how to teach. No more. The world of MOOCs is creating a competition that will force every professor to improve his or her pedagogy or face an online competitor.”
Prism: “The centuries old instructional model is as follows: the teacher presents the material in class and the student does practice problems for homework. Interactive, “flipped” classrooms are turning that model upside down. Teachers now assign their lectures for homework and then coach students through problem solving in class. Homework for class and class for homework.”
Friedman: “We have to get beyond the current system of information and delivery – the professorial “sage on the stage” – and students taking notes, followed by a superficial assessment, to one in which students are asked and empowered to master more basic material online at their own pace, and the classroom becomes a place where the application of that knowledge can be honed through lab experiments and discussions with the professor. There seemed to be a strong consensus that this blended model” combining online lectures with a teacher-led classroom experience was the ideal. Last fall, San Jose State used the online lectures and interactive exercises of M.I.T.’s introductory online Circuits and Electronics course. Students would watch the M.I.T. lectures and do the exercises at home, and then come to class, where the first 15 minutes were reserved for questions and answers with the San Jose State professor, and the last 45 were devoted to problem solving and discussion. Preliminary numbers indicate that those passing the class went from nearly 60 percent to about 90 percent. And since this course was the first step to a degree in science and technology, it meant that many more students potentially moved on toward a degree and career in that field.
Prism: “MOOCs and interactive, “flipped” classrooms are two disruptive innovations that fit like hand and glove. We are on the cusp of an educational tsunami: Super teachers will provide instruction to hundreds of thousands or even millions of students as homework; the next morning, their classroom teachers will coach students through problem solving in interactive, “flipped” classrooms.”
Friedman: “Bottom line: There is still huge value in the residential college experience and the teacher-student and student-student interactions it facilitates. But to thrive, universities will have to nurture even more of those unique experiences while blending in technology to improve education outcomes in measurable ways at lower costs. We still need more research on what works, but standing still is not an option.”
Read Mr. Friedman’s full editorial, The Professors’ Big Stage.