Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Creativity & achievement of excellence using new media for communications, educ, & the arts can‘t be accelerated or guaranteed.

The dramatic revolution in education, claimed or hoped for by many, never arrives.  But a less visible transformation is [STILL] well underway.  

Patience and Gratitude for Progress, But No “Moore’s Law for Learning"

We must be patient.  Human creativity and the achievement of excellence in the use of new media for communications, education, and the arts cannot be accelerated or guaranteed. After almost a century of movie-making, only a few new films each year offer genuinely new approaches to using that medium.  And only a few are truly satisfying for those who made them and those who view them.  We must be grateful to those who keep trying and for their occasional success.  [Also, look at the low success rate for new books, TV series, …]

There is no “Moore’s Law” for learning.  The speed of human learning does not double every 18 months, or 18 years.  The pace and efficiency of human learning offered by educational institutions can be improved, but not at the speed or magnitude of change associated with organizations whose core business depends on the behavior of computer chips more than people. 

After decades of mathematics education reform efforts in elementary and secondary schools, many students now begin studying algebra in eighth grade instead of ninth – one year’s “acceleration.”  Only a handful of accelerated college degree programs are available in which students can earn bachelor’s degrees before they are 22 or earn medical degrees before they are 25.  [Are you sure you want a surgeon operating on you who mastered his/her profession in half the usual time?] 

However, a few people can and do learn some things much faster and better than others when given favorable opportunities.  And most people can learn some things better and faster with some kinds of help (e.g., “ear training” in music education with computer-based practice; piloting with flight simulators;  arithmetic skills with computer-guided individualized drill-and-practice; basic English composition and writing with network-based collaborative writing practice;  any subject when the learner is more highly motivated by an inspiring lecture, a good book, an intriguing Web site, competition with peers, or the prospect of a job-related promotion).

The dramatic revolution in education, claimed or hoped for by many, never arrives.  But a less visible transformation is well underway.

- from Observations Section of "A New Vision Worth Working Toward: Connected Education and Collaborative Change," Steven W. Gilbert, 2000-2006, First version published via AAHESGIT listserv January, 2000; PDF of full article

Image:  Photo of "Robert Goddard High School in Roswell, NM. The school is named after the famous early researcher in rocketry."  2010 By J Dykstra, public domain
By J Dykstra (Personal photo) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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