Responding to what they call unfair scrutiny from state and federal regulators, representatives from online colleges discussed a self-imposed quality-assurance framework at today’s Presidents’ Forum in Washington, convened by Excelsior College.
But state officials said they are still concerned that self-imposed standards are not good enough and that online programs are not consistent in providing students with high-quality education. . . .
As the internet rapidly matures in coming months and years, these nanny standards form yet more schooling firewalls for the delivery of open learning from the internet. These nanny-creep-firewalls will undermine educational effectiveness for both the colleges who get stuck with them and the governments that demand them.
The most recent post on this blog describes how the new HTML.5 will facilitate delivery of study materials conforming to what a student is ready to learn. This individual assessment of what to learn next is based on at what level of the subject the student has already engaged in previous websites. This fundamental new way to set a standard for what to study next is totally separate from the perceived lockstep standards of either the college or the government. The assessment HTML.5 will generate totally accommodates the learner.
The day is coming when standard setting nannies will need to prove their relevance in the new venue of online response to a student’s level of inquiry. It seems sort of silly for a nanny standard to test a student on algebra in her first college year, when the internet is sending her more basic math knowledge based on her past visits online. Or really silly to give the same algebra test to a student in her class who is exploring calculus and trigonometry based on HTML.5 selected resources where he is spending time.
So often when one argues for using online content in learning the argument is raised: Oh, but you have to have nurture and teaching. Of course. This 7-week old Pallas’ Cat kittens make the point that youngsters of all sorts need the skill and patience of faithful adults.
Education is a deeply entrenched sector of liberal, government, progressive, public — whatever word you like — control and management. Federal control of this sector is increasing, and that is doubling down on debacles in the sector. The preceding statement is not speculation. An article in today’s Political gives background and details: The Democrats’ education debacle. It begins:
Education for Democrats these days is an education itself — a lesson in how dysfunctional this White House and Congress can be on domestic policy. [Lots of details follow.]
So if you are a kid now school age, what do you do as schooling debacles bring chaos to your education? Increasingly, there is a really good answer to that question. What you do is take your schooling into your own hands. Get what you can from the school you are in, but do not expect a good education to be forced on you. Learn to be a consumer of the useful debris instead of folding your arms and demanding an entitlement from the dysfunctional folks in government.
In your hands schooling
If you are in preschool or the early grades, learn the 3Rs on your own from computer toys and children’s mobile computers. Get yourself a reading device into which you can download books — and read, read, read!
Once you are into learning subjects like history, sciences, arts, and the rest, get your own mobile browser for the internet. You can learn anything you want to online, either by connecting directly to knowledge itself, or working with subject tutorials.
Education powered by government will fizzle during your school years. Take schooling into your own hands where you can double down on true learning.
In the future as knowledge to learn is delivered into young hands wirelessly, the need for nurturing individual students does not disappear. Nurture and grasping ideas and facts are different aspects of raising the young. This video from the Stockholm Zoo shows the importance of keeping an eye out for the little ones. The background is explained at ZooBorns.
We have been programmed to assume that what kids are taught at school is better knowledge than what they get by connecting to the internet. We are also assured that schools standardize subjects so each youngster will learn the same material — at least at a minimum.
We can suppose — because TiZA is a taxpayer supported public school — students will go through preparations for and taking required standards tests. But it is hard to assume that the students would not learn a lot of the material they study from the perspective of Islam. After all, their Somali parents would see that as a benefit — as a chief reason for sending their children to TiZA. The StarTribune columnist writes: “During her tenure, [a witness] says in an affidavit, she saw ‘no real distinction’ between the operations of TiZA and the Muslim American Society, with which the school shares a building.”
Schooling has always involved culture and nurture. To what extent that is good or bad is not the subject of this blog and website. Visualizing schooling as a pizza focuses thinking about the knowledge-acquiring aspect of schooling. Until recently the level where the issue of knowledge biases and slants was struggled with was among the pepperoni and onions in the above illustration: curriculum, textbooks, and what is in the library.
Handschooling is a brand-new doable step that absolutely equalizes and vastly expands the knowledge available for students — worldwide, no less — to study and learn literally from the same webpage.
To add the olives layer by providing each TiZA student with his and her own mobile web browser would not need to change any of the other layers. It would add, for each individual student, a connection to the new layer that no other generation has ever had: the global knowledge commons that emerges in the intertwingularity.
It is false to justify not letting kids have handschooling because it would be substituting the olives for the pepperoni and onions. But forbidding the olives is increasingly less possible. The world has changed for school people who would limit to their own biases what children learn. The new intertwingularity layer hovers above every school, and increasingly the new generation is connecting on its own.
The phoenix metaphor is helpful in visualizing the future of schooling. We need not be alarmed, as Harry Potter is here, as the old schooling disintegrates. It is a waste of time and money to attempt to resuscitate it — and doing that just keeps the old bird whimpering along at high cost to students and budgets enduring its long, slow death.
Here, as Ovid wrote long ago, is what will happen to the phoenix of education if we quit trying to fix failing schools and look toward the bird that will be rising: Most beings spring from other individuals; but there is a certain kind which reproduces itself. . . . dying, [it] breathes out its last breath amidst odors. From the body of the parent bird, a young Phoenix issues forth, destined to live as long a life as its predecessor.
In Medieval times it was said that:When it is old, it builds a pyre of wood and spices and climbs on to it. There it faces the sun and the fire ignites; it fans the fire with its wings until it is completely consumed. Some say it is the sun that ignites the fire; others say that the phoenix starts it by striking its beak against a stone, or that stones gathered with spices in the pyre rub together to create a spark. A new phoenix rises from the ash of the old.
I suggest sunlight or a stone strike are long overdue in finishing off education as we have tried for so long to breath life into it. It is foolhardy in the digital age to keep trying to keep alive the dying analog school methodology. When the analog education sprung to life its driving realities were printed books and delivery of knowledge to geographical locations where students could gather.
The new education creature will be formed around digital versions of knowledge that can be comprehensively carried in each student’s pocket wherever he or she may be. The new education phoenix of the digital, connected age will, or course still be education — still be a phoenix, just one more more beautiful and appropriate to our times.
Since I have started writing at Handschooling.com several people have written to me or placed comments here that are, in truth, about the new education phoenix. These suggestions have included:
So I will be advocating a “open learning center”: approach to schools and a ‘networked common school’ approach to metropolitan inter-district cooperation.
I believe that many can in the rich world of content and real world experiences collaborative learn with others and self-direct that learning.