There’s food for thought in the following article in the Guardian for everyone involved in education at any level. “Traditional teaching methods” and the role of computers and the Internet in education are issues that are continuously under scrutiny and have become crucial subjects for debate.
As more and more parents become computer-literate and aware of the power of the Internet to inform, educate, stimulate and entertain, might there be major shifts in how parents (as well as pupils) perceive education – especially in cases where children are extremely unhappy with their school experiences? Could groups of parents set up their own learning circles for home education?
And as more and more students and potential students regard high fees as prohibitive, particularly when on-line learning is freely available, might they also opt to learn independently of established schools, colleges and universities?
Three courses created at Stanford University prove that free online education can compete with traditional teaching methods
by John Naughton
Once upon a time, a very long time ago, in 1995 to be precise, a scholar named Eli Noam published an article in the prestigious journal Science under the title “Electronics and the Dim Future of the University“. In it, Professor Noam argued that the basic model of a university – which had been stable for hundreds of years – would be threatened by networked communications technologies.
Under the classical model, universities were institutions that created, stored and disseminated knowledge. If students or scholars wished to access that knowledge, they had to come to the university. But, Noam argued, the internet would threaten that model by raising the question memorably posed by Howard Rheingold in the 1980s: “Where is the Library of Congress when it’s on my desktop?” If all the world’s stored knowledge can be accessed from any networked device, and if the teaching materials and lectures of the best scholars are likewise available online, why should students pay fees and incur debts to live in cramped accommodation for three years? What would be the USP of the traditional university when its monopolies on storage and dissemination eroded?
If that was a good question in 1995, it’s an even better one today.