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Ronald Vallecer

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Who wants an open source curriculum based Education?

Inspired by Clay Shirky's recent open source talk, I thought about having an educational curriculum that is open sourced to students. Wouldn't it be exciting if students are taught to take ownership of their own learning journey. No more vague and unhelpful teacher feedback, instead students come into educational institutions knowing that their perspective counts and that they are in charge of their learning. Conceptual.understanding at their pace and language.

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    Sep 26 2012: Those who receive expert guidance, mentoring, and shaping/sequencing of educational experiences to take into account what is known about learning and about the most important principles of the disciplines would get a vastly superior education to those who don't.
    • Sep 26 2012: Mainly my point, if experts can share their knowledge about how best to teach and learn, then effectively they will be mentoring a world. That is what open-source can do for education, make the best information available to everyone.
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        Sep 26 2012: I don't think school children would be able to gather, synthesize, and apply this expert information effectively.

        It is something like why it is not efficient or effective to have people- and most particularly children- read the medical literature and self-prescribe treatments and medications.
        • Sep 26 2012: I never actually took out the teachers from the equation but rather, I think in this context, we will need more teachers than ever before. It is just the pedagogy that changes. Imagine GitHub and Khan academy applied together, teachers would of course need new expertise, but the point is, it is suppose to make their teaching more effective and efficient. I keep saying IB, but I hope that everyone is familiar to with it, because what I am proposing is pretty much extreme IB. It is transdisciplinary in real time with the classroom more like a mission control room where expert teachers are available to give proper amount of scaffolding and prompts.

          That is the most amazing thing about contextualised and inquiry based learning. The teacher's job is to understand what is really meant to be learn, how it can be conceptually taught and what truly are the success criteria. No more recycling of curriculums, personalized learning at its best, at the same time, best of all, the learning experience is more social than ever.
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        Sep 26 2012: I am certainly familiar with IB. But more broadly speaking than any single curriculum, contextualized, inquiry-based learning involving small group work and discourse is well understood to be best practice in teaching and the most popular pedagogy at this point in lower education in the United States. This has been true for the last decade certainly.

        And most classrooms, I believe, even in the least financially supported districts, make extensive use of the internet as a resource for freely available content.

        Is this not also true in Hong Kong?
        • Sep 26 2012: Thanks for your reply. IB is still in its infant stage in Hong Kong. I consider myself fortunate to work in one of the few institutions that cater to IB principles. Everyday, more and more educational tools or made available via the net, but institutions are slow to respond. It is of course dependent on the teacher's teaching philosophy and that of the school. That is why Github was so appealing to me for its promise of cooperation without collaboration. Current bureaucratic structures require to many conditions to be right that are really not essential for cooperation. It will be many times more chaotic than what we have now, more work, more jobs perhaps, but definitely more representative of reality.

          My proposition is to source free the curriculum instead. The one that truly matters, because it will be what the lesson plans are based on.
    • Sep 29 2012: First, let me tell you about my learning history of something which might be called a prehistorical open source education. I was born in the 1920s. I had to quit school after the 7th grade and went to work as an apprentice in a paper mill. Then I learned to be a bookkeeper in the main office. During that period I self-studied many topics, first the English language, and then topics such as physics and chemistry and mathematics.Later on I was allow to be a technician in the paper manufacturing plant. In 1949, I moved to another city and had to find another job as an accountant in an insurance company. Later on I decided to come to the U. S. for formal education. However, I had to pass a qualifying exam and an exam for the equivalency of a bachelors degree in Accounting. I came to the U. S. and obtained admission as a special student in the business school. By next year I was admitted to the graduate school and worked out a Master of Arts degree in mathematical Statistics. After 3 more years I got a PhD in Public Health. While I was in the School of Public Health, I was invited as a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics for 20 years.
      So even though I am not a child anymore, I am able to understand the therapeutic value of most common drugs and their adverse effect as well, without a teacher guidance.
      What I am trying to say is that if a person has a strong motivation of leaning everything he is interested and has the maturity of knowing what he wants, he could succeed in self learning, even in multiple topics. Now that was done even when there wasn't any internet, or even television available. As most of you probably know, that the guidance in learning in graduate schools is not like the hand-holding style of a elementary or high school teacher. How did I learn some quite advanced physics, etc. by myself? That's because I was in a city where used college books are available. With internet, self learning is quite easy
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        Sep 29 2012: I agree and am entirely enthusiastic, Bart, about continuing education for adults. I have spent my entire adult life engaged in it, either through institutions or self-study. I am younger than you are, but books have always been my most serious source of in-depth education in adulthood.

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