Tag Archives: Zone of Proximal Development

MOOCs – Sliced Bread, or the Ron Popeil Bread Slicer?

There’s a lot of hype about MOOCs (and when I put hype and MOOC together, I mean xMOOC), and with the hype comes a resistance from ed tech folks.  The arguments go something like this:  hype machine says MOOCs are the next big thing and the best thing to happen in ages, and resistance says MOOCs aren’t great, aren’t new, and aren’t making things better.  A prime example comes from some hype dished up by the MIT Technology Review entitled The Most Important Education Technology in 200 Years, countered by D’Arcy Norman’s terse reply whose tag line involves fertilizer.  What we forget when we enter a point-counterpoint frame of mind is that both points of view come from ideologies and histories that result in the digital artifacts I have linked to.  Studying those artifacts to find the encampment inferences and foundations can help us see the positives and negatives of both sides rather than following one full throttle. Continue reading

Teaching & Teachers – Apocalypse Now?

Just when I finish linking the MOOC movement with societal and cultural movements working against teaching as a profession, I find a weeks-old Wall Street Journal article asking if teachers will be necessary in the future.  The jist, as you could imagine, is that technology allows for lecture to be put online for others to see, so do we need all of these lecturers when we can just get some “star teachers” to record some HD video?  Learning is the accrual of content, so why not get the well-known people to share the content?

My problem with this educational futures is it sits squarely opposed to conventional and contemporary learning theory. Continue reading