DailyDirt: Teaching Technology

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

More and more online classes are appearing, and a lot of non-traditional students are trying out these kinds of classes. But the effectiveness of online learning and self-taught students hasn’t gotten that much attention. Someday, online education might be the norm, but so far, it doesn’t quite look like e-learning has proven itself. Here are just a few articles on the topic of teaching with technology.

By the way, StumbleUpon can recommend some good Techdirt articles, too.

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Comments on “DailyDirt: Teaching Technology”

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abc gumsays:

There are many out there who are self taught, no need for a formal class online or off, they know where to find the information they need and how to implement what they find. The motivation, whether out of curiosity or to fill a need tends to be focused and deliberate – whereas the formal classes tend to be regimented and dogmatic.

There is a need for a standardized something to put on ones resume in order to get an interview, where this is headed could be interesting.

Matt Tatesays:

Re: Re:

“…they know where to find the information they need and how to implement what they find.”

“There is a need for a standardized something to put on ones resume in order to get an interview…”

The question here is whether these two goals are satisfied by universities, or only the second one. IE, whether they are more concerned with education or credentials.

For the most part, autodidacts can handle the first on their own, but once online learning can supply reliable credentials, the second will be in reach of a lot of people at a very low cost. We might even see big universities react the same way that Hollywood studios are reacting to this loss of control.


I know many community-college level students who have online classes. The learning experience is different in that they must motivate themselves much more than in a traditional college classroom. However, they learn just as well as in a college environment, and online classes reach student who would otherwise not be able take these classes. Teachers are just as involved with these classes as they are with traditional ones. Answering questions online and reviewing student’s materials is just as time consuming as with traditional college.

As for the Idaho article, it’s a classic mistake of groupware. From my research on groupware, you MUST have buy-in from those using the technology (in this case it’s computers, not some specific software), which means the teachers. I’ll also add that, yes, teachers are concerned about their jobs, more-often-than-you-would-like before their students. And those who are afraid of technology will feel threatened.

But should the computer be in the classroom? Meh. The technology changes so rapidly that any school with a five-year-old computer might as well not have one at all. Kids have their own cellphones and computers and know how to use them. The skills in the classroom are arguably long-term ones like math and English, not short-term ones like the latest operating system. And, of course, computers are so cheap that families can afford them without some technology company lobbying their school for computers.

IMO, What technology companies should do is make computers more affordable to students, like Apple did for colleges. Likewise, schools should look into Kindles for electronic textbooks, so kids don’t have to carry heavy backpacks and get a head start on their back problems.

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