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  • This will revolutionize education. No prediction has been made as often or as incorrectly as

  • that one. In 1922, it was Thomas Edison who declared that, “The motion picture is destined

  • to revolutionize our educational system and that in a few years, it will supplant largely,

  • if not entirely, the use of textbooks.” Yeah. And you know how that worked out? By

  • the 1930s it was radio. The idea was you could beam experts directly into classrooms, improving

  • the quality of education for more students at lower cost. And that would mean you require

  • fewer skilled teachers, a theme common to all of the proposed education revolutions,

  • like that of educational television in the 1950s and 60s. Studies were conducted to determine

  • whether students preferred watching a lecture live, or sitting in an adjacent room where

  • the same lecture was broadcast via closed circuit TV. What would you prefer?

  • In the 80s there was no debating. Computers were the revolutionary solution to our education

  • woes. They were audiovisual, interactive, and could be programmed to do almost anything

  • you like. Well at the time, they could run Oregon Trail. But their potential was obvious.

  • Researches suspected that if they could teach kids to program, say how to move a turtle

  • around a screen, then their procedural reasoning skills would also improve. So how did it go?

  • Well the students got better at programming the turtle, but their reasoning skills were

  • unaffected. Even by the 1990s we had not learned from the failure of our past predictions and

  • I quote, “The use of videodiscs in classroom instruction is increasing every year and promises

  • to revolutionize what will happen in the classroom of tomorrow.” Videodiscs? Yeah, those giant

  • oversized CD things. Remember when they revolutionized education?

  • Nowadays plenty of things are poised to revolutionize education like, smartboards, smartphones,

  • tables, and M.O.O.C.s. Those are massive open online courses. And some belief were getting

  • close to universal teaching machine, a computer so quick and well-programmed that it’s basically

  • like having your own personal tutor in a machine. A student could work through well-structured

  • lessons at their own pace receiving immediate and personally-tailored feedback, and all

  • without the interference of a meddlesome and expensive teacher. Do these claims sound familiar?

  • Over the past 100 years, a lot of areas of life have been revolutionized, but education

  • is not one of them. By in large, students are still taught in groups by a single teacher.

  • And that is not what a revolution looks like. Some might blame this state of affairs on

  • the inertia of our educational institutions. It’s just too hard to get a huge bureaucracy

  • to change. But I think the reason technology hasn’t revolutionized education is something

  • else, something that goes to the very heart of what education is.

  • Let’s consider the process of learning. Say you want to teach someone how a human

  • heart pumps blood. Which learning aid do you think would be more effective, this animation

  • with narration or this set of static picture with text? Obviously the animation is better.

  • I mean for one thing it shows exactly what the heart does. For decades, educational research

  • focused on questions like this. Does a video promote learning better than a book? Are live

  • lectures more effective than televised lectures? Is animation better than static graphics?

  • In all well-controlled studies, the result is no significant difference. That is, so

  • long as the content is equivalent between the two treatments, the learning outcomes

  • are the same with all different media. How is this possible? How can something which

  • seems so powerful, like animation, be no more effective than static graphics? Well for one

  • thing, animations are fleeting and so you might miss something as they go by. Plus,

  • since the parts are animated for you, you don’t have to mentally envision how the

  • parts are moving. And so you don’t have to invest as much mental effort which would

  • make it more memorable. In fact, sometimes static graphics perform better than animations.

  • And I think this points to a really fundamental aspect of education which is, it doesn’t

  • matter what happens around the learner. We are not limited by the experiences we can

  • give to students. What limits learning is what can happen inside the student’s head.

  • That is where the important part of learning takes place. No technology is inherently superior

  • to any other. Researchers spent so much time investigating whether one medium or technology

  • was more effective than another that they failed to investigate exactly how to use the

  • technology to promote meaningful thought processes. So the question really is what experiences

  • promote the kind of thinking that is required for learning? Recently, that research is being

  • conducted and were finding out some pretty important stuff. I mean it may seem obvious,

  • but it turns out learning with words and pictures together, whether theyre animation and

  • narration or static pictures and text, works better than words alone. Also, we see that

  • anything which is extraneous needs to be eliminated from a lesson. For example, on-screen text

  • competes with visuals, so learners perform better when it is omitted than when it is

  • present.

  • Now that we know how best to make educational videos, and any experience can be simulated

  • in the video setting, YouTube must be the platform that will revolutionize education.

  • I mean the number of educational videos on YouTube is increasing every day. So why do

  • we need teachers? Well, if you think that the fundamental job of a teacher is to transmit

  • information from their head to their students’, then youre right, they are obsolete. I

  • mean, you probably imagine a classroom where this teacher is spewing out facts at a pace

  • which is appropriate for one student, too fast for half, and too slow for the rest.

  • Luckily the fundamental role of a teachers is not to deliver information. It is to guide

  • the social process of learning. The job of a teacher is to inspire, to challenge, to

  • excite their students to want to learn. Yes, they also do explain and demonstrate and show

  • things, but fundamentally that is beside the point. The most important thing a teacher

  • does is make every student feel like they are important, to make them feel accountable

  • for doing the work of learning.

  • All of this is not to say technology has had no impact on education. Students and teachers

  • work and communicate via computers. And videos are used both inside and outside of classrooms.

  • But all of this is best characterized as an evolution, not a revolution. The foundation

  • of education is still based on the social interaction between teachers and students.

  • For as transformative as each new technology seems to be, like motion pictures or computer

  • or smartboards, what really matters is what happens inside the learner’s head. And making

  • a learner think seems best achieved in a social environment with other learners and a caring

  • teacher.

This will revolutionize education. No prediction has been made as often or as incorrectly as

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B1 中級

教育に革命を起こす (This Will Revolutionize Education)

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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