Innovate or die

Just a copy of my comment to Tony Bates’ recent posting on  innovation in education.

http://www.tonybates.ca/2010/06/28/innovate-or-die-a-message-for-higher-education-institutions/

He references several recent articles discussing crises in education  (funding, concerns about whether online education is an effective solution, etc.)

The articles do talk about human capital and critical thinking but I’d like to see more on how this relates to the new ways we can connect.

Here’s my reply:

Hmmm… I can’t help but wonder if we’re seeing enough about the *purpose* of education in the thinking represented by the references mentioned.

Your statement from OECD about universities and colleges “preparing their students in such a way that students can foster innovation in the workplace when they leave” (and in my opinion this should include k-12 as well) begins to hint at this.  But I’d like to hear more about critical thinking, citizenship, quality of life, etc… things that go beyond the workplace.

To me this idea opens up the topic of informal learning. The innovation required might be described as finally coming to grips with the fact that content AND personal support is ‘out there’ and not necessarily ‘in the academic institution’ and therefore the academic institutional focus needs to shift. Maybe the educational goal should be to work with learners to help them acquire ways of finding, evaluating and making effective use of information and also help them to learn how to form social media connections that will assist learning and focus it to specific areas of interest. Then the institutions could have a role in evaluating how the learning is taking place so learners can gain credentials and move forward in life.

Innovate or die doesn’t seem to be too extreme of a concept to me.  I can visualize a day in the not-too-distant future when what is known about a person’s contributions via social media will be more important than any degree. Employers are already looking there as well as at resumes, aren’t they?

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