News and views from north Bristol's urban village

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Harvard Leads the Way

Get three Bristol parents together and within about ten minutes the subject of the conversation will turn to education.

With minds often focused on figuring out how to get our child(ren) into the school of our choice, it is easy to lose the big picture and focus only on the detail of the here and now.

Sometimes, however, an education story emerges that puts things in context and raises fundamental questions about the way that learning might evolve in the Internet age.

Yesterday Harvard University announced that they intend to make all future academic articles by faculty members available to the public free of charge online. The announcement is an indication of the way that the idea of open source learning is being pioneered and developed in significant ways.

Although getting Johnny to read high-brow academic papers on anthropology or aeronautics may not be top of many parents' priorities at present, the fact is that education in the future looks likely to be more about self-learning and independent learning than about sitting dutifully and imbibing the wisdom of another.

Not only that, the way the emerging generation learns is already light years away from that of their parents. Email is already regarded as something old people do (think telegrams when you were a child). Communication, and with it learning, is increasingly done through blogs, mobile phones and, of course, social networks both online and off.

One other thought: the average worker already changes not only jobs but careers several times in his or her lifetime.

What kind of skills does that way of living need? And how, as parents, can we nurture genuine self-learners?

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS.

No comments:

Site Meter