I’ll get to my response to the flipped classroom this weekend, but I came across the topic of “Massively Open Online Courses” on Slashdot and had to share. Basically, where the flipped classroom is about taking direct instruction out of the primary and secondary classroom and replacing it with higher-level thinking activities and an increased role of the teacher, MOOCs are about replacing and/or supplementing higher ed with independent courses open to anyone with an internet-connected device. They’re distinct visions of technology integration, but they both reimagine the role of the teacher and student:
If you were asked to name the most important innovation in transportation over the last 200 years, you might say the combustion engine, air travel, Henry Ford’s Model-T production line, or even the bicycle. The list goes on.
Now answer this one: what’s been the single biggest innovation in education?
Don’t worry if you come up blank. You’re supposed to. The question is a gambit used by Anant Agarwal, the computer scientist named this year to head edX, a $60 million MIT-Harvard effort to stream a college education over the Web, free, to anyone who wants one. His point: it’s rare to see major technological advances in how people learn. (Regalado)
I’ll come back to this about a later, but think about this: in an era of democratized information where finances and student visas are huge obstacles to higher education, are MOOCs the future?