Innovation or reinvention?

Written by rex on 15/02/2013 11:38:14

In the current age we try to digitize everything, including education. We even try to move the class into the internet, with teachers from all around the world educating through video en tutorials. But I ask myself the question, don’t we use the digital era in the complete wrong way as we do not really innovate our practices. Compare it with magazines, they moved from paper to websites but their format is mostly the same, yet we speak of innovation.

So what kind of “innovations” do we witness currently? Probably the open education movement. Open education stands for communities who share and use the shared resources for learning. This happens through video databases like the Khan Academy, presentation databases like Prezi or game databases like InCourse. But isn’t this exactly what we have been using the past decades? If not for hundreds of years?

The ancient Greek started using fora and schools to “discuss and share” knowledge. The creation of those fora was an innovation, the current day use of digital forums is in my opinion not more then moving it to a different channel of communication. The way a child learns has always been playing and playing games with others, see how animals do that. Nothing changed in that sense.

So, you probably ask yourself what I see as innovative. Innovative is more than just new, I expect it to be a new way or method rather than an “improved” method. The tools we use can be innovative but what we do with them mostly isn’t.

An upcoming method of teaching named “flipped classroom” could be innovative, it overhauls the way teachers and tutors work. They let the pupil learn themselves and the teacher becomes more like a coach, but, the pupil will find teachers outside the classroom and in a sense the schoolteacher becomes obsolete because the pupil will find other teachers. These teachers will be on the internet or close by. They can be educated teachers or self-educated masters of those subject they help others. Exactly like the Greek did, but on the internet fora.

So I wonder, how much has changed since the ancient times. And how much did we reinvent?

What do you think? Let me know! Twitter @Strong99