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What are the limitations that keep new educational designs from being implemented tomorrow in schools and especially in higher education?

School is my awful job and learning is my amazing hobby; This has been my take on life ever since and contrary to what I thought would happen, it hasn't changed in the last few months of college, when I have actually found that undergraduate studies aren't much different from its earlier analogous structures in what concerns quality of learning.
I figured something would change in college, it had to. No institution of higher education would, like it had always been done before, only try to standardize me through disengaging processes of memorization and mechanization in class, and then test me for it, but they did so, and so I keep dragging my feet through the halls like I always did, uninspired by it all.
Well, here I am watching 10 TED talks and having more fun than I had in any of my classes so far, where I am basically taught simple things as if they were complicated instead of the opposite.
I think the education systems we have are all about making us easily browsable encyclopedias of knowledge and funny looking calculators without ever compelling us to make our own connections between concepts and subjects, understanding them at their core or questioning the underlying mechanisms that drive the phenomena we study, but why? Why does this happen when we have computers that are infinitely better at storing data then our brain and when we know that in order to come up with creative solutions to real life problems we have to do so much more than just recall previous knowledge; also, there is an important link between the education of today and the leader of tomorrow, and if we continue using the educational techniques of yesterday then we will keep having the same uninspired (to say the least) leaders of today. Now my question is: Do you think this is a problem? Exactly what is causing this? Is it a economic or a sociological issue? Does the academic world want to solve this? Does the corporate world? Do the governments? Do you think it can be solved? How?


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  • Nov 22 2012: I am a first year college student as well. To answer your questions in order...

    Yes, I believe the current education models are woefully inadequate.

    I believe it's caused by a wide variety of factors. Economics and sociology are but two, albeit two large encompassing areas.

    The "academic world" is like many other societies. That is to say, it is not of a single mind. There are many professors who wish to change the way things are structured, but when students are paying $500 for tuition and textbooks the students expect a finished product. Teachers can be fired for using an off the wall approach that fails.

    The corporate world is all for higher education so long as it means you can do your job better. in fact, they'll even help fund some of the research on better education practices if it's in their interest (particularly tech companies).

    Governmental systems each have their own unique take on the situation. Some actively promote changes in education. Others very aggressively resist it.

    The education systems of today aren't something I would say can be "solved". Rather, I believe they will evolve. As can be seen in your Related Talks list, a number of technologies and practices have been proposed for building a better system. Many schools are taking note, and making conservative moves towards a transition. For example, the concept of a fully online class was inconceivable two decades ago. Now, almost every college (and even some high schools) are utilizing them. As technologies and methods are tried and tested, they will become more accepted.

    All of this, however, doesn't solve your immediate problem of dull classes. My personal advice is to learn the material they teach, and then learn past it on your own. Independent study is much more enjoyable than rote. Additionally, it's fueled by your motivation rather than your teacher's. Google Coursera and pick a class that interests you, or one you aren't satisfied with.

    Best of luck Joao.

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