Heard: WSJ Column Suggests Shriveling Of The Ivy League
By Wired Academic on March 24, 2012
Blended Learning, Cost of Education, Education Quality, Flipped Classrooms, International, Minorities, Open Source Education, Required, Universities & Colleges
Holly Finn writes about the online learning revolution in The Wall Street Journal’s Marvels online column recently. She works at the Skoll Foundation and writes about how technology and science are affecting people. She synthesizes what most of us following the education innovation world already know… but turns a few fun paragraphs in her column … and she suggests a general decline of elite educational institutions like Harvard, Yale and Stanford given online learning trends, which is interesting as she attended Yale:
These schools have much to recommend them: impressive students, organic dining halls, presidential alumni. To maintain their reputations, however, elite colleges have long relied on limiting access—Harvard’s class of 2015 is about 1,700 students, Yale’s is 1,300—and that may be coming to an end. Revolutionaries outside the ivy walls are hammering their way not onto campus but straight into class.
It is education’s time to change now. At the high-school level, interactive study sites are increasingly ingenious: Look at Piazza, Blackboard and Quizlet, founded by a 17-year-old. TED-Ed just launched a channel on You Tube, with three- to 10-minute lessons for kids. YouTube’s EDU Portal has been viewed 22 billion times. Khan Academy, a favorite of Bill Gates, has four million unique users a month and thousands of educational videos, from “Napoleon’s Peninsular Campaigns” to “Python Lists.” If you think that last one is about snakes, please download Khan’s new iPad app immediately.
“The current search for new educational funnels must be reversed,” wrote Austrian philosopher Ivan Illich, in “Deschooling Society.” He called for “educational webs” woven among us all. That was 1971. Today, Web courses don’t just meet but beat their impersonal offline counterparts. Studies show that tutorial-style teaching is more effective than lecturing (as Oxford and Cambridge have known for centuries), even when prerecorded. Mr. Thrun’s online students told him that the course felt more personal.
To be truly egalitarian, classes will need to go not just online but mobile. Still, the upshot of it all is clear: more smart people is better. Just watch that ivory tower topple.
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