Trying to raise my kids the best I can

Monday, February 09, 2009

Is the internet making school obsolete?

I read this article written by a renowned college professor called "Anti-Teaching: confronting the crisis of significance". Or if you want to see a video of him lecturing about it, it's here.

He's really on to something here. He lists some of the past truths about school that are now anything but true. Things like:

To learn is to acquire information
Information is scarce and hard to find
Trust authority for good information
Authorized information is beyond discussion

"Information is scarce". This really nails it. This is why school is irrelevant. We used to have to go to school or a library to get information. Now we can get any information at any time, anywhere.

Which isn't to say that teachers and books are irrelevant. They just need to adjust to this new world we live in. Libraries have done a good job of changing. (With great thanks to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation).

But schools... not so much. I think that the majority of kids should be homeschooled. With their own computer. Knowledge is no longer limited to the local school and library. Every child can access all the information in the world, in their pajamas. With the freedom to pursue their interests the next generation could reach new educational heights.

And college is even more obsolete than elementary school! By adulthood, self-motivated learning is at its peak. The only thing a college provides that the internet doesn't, is proof of knowledge- and even that's a farse. Really, it's just proof of attendance/homework/test taking.
Add to that the astronomical- and I mean ASTRONOMICAL costs of a college degree, and you've got a train wreck!!! You can get college credit via testing through the CLEP credits, but I say, you should be able to self teach and test your way out of an entire degree!!!

Recently, my college professor said that the apprenticeship era was bad for the Nursing Profession. I struggled to understand that statement because the most important lesson's I've learned in nursing school were at clinicals, watching real live nurses. But I think I get it now. I think that without the background of medical knowledge, and the standardized expectations, apprenticeship alone can allow many unqualified to slip through. But today, with the internet, I think the apprenticeship model would work best for nurses and most other professions! The background knowledge can be learned through self pace studies and online testing!!!

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