The Future of Education - ReRolled Solves Problems

Conefed

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Looking back, one the things that irks me about school was the rigid enforcement of waiting in line and waiting your turn, when none of that shit applies to RL.
 

Kuro

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Looking back, one the things that irks me about school was the rigid enforcement of waiting in line and waiting your turn, when none of that shit applies to RL.
So you're that dick at the copying machine!
 

Void

We're America, bitch!
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I'm not going to pretend to know the answer for fixing education, other than agreeing that I think the single most important step is getting parents to give a fuck. But I like the message behind that "grit" video, and beyond that I'd like to say that we need to be teaching people common sense. Not just what you typically think of as common sense either (although that's vitally important I feel), but stuff that I encounter every single day at work. I'm the only person here even remotely "tech" oriented, but 90% of what I do to fix problems is stupid shit that almost anyone could have figured out if they just stopped to think for a minute. Even if it isn't tech-related, the number of people that ask for help FIRST, before attempting to find a solution, is about 20 to 1.

I'm not even talking rocket surgery here. I'm talking simple things that any person with half a brain could figure out, but they are either too lazy to even try or too afraid to make a mistake. Of course, they pick the worst times to actually follow my advice though, like clicking that popup that says it will clean all 57 viruses it found in 4 seconds for you, easy peasy! When they know a full scan takes much, much longer. But again, that's a bad example. I'm talking about things like, "Hey, the printer isn't working." Well, did you read the fucking front of it that said it needs you to select the paper output? No, of course not, because it was easier to call me from my desk to come read it for you.

I'm not giving good examples, but I'm sure a lot of you know exactly what I mean. If they would just spend 5 minutes trying to figure something out for themselves, they probably would. Or they'd at least learn a little something along the way, and maybe eventually they'd improve their reasoning and problem solving skills. That's what I want taught more than anything, self-motivation, common sense, trying before you look for someone else to do it for you. Tons of other things need to be taught too, but that's one in particular that I think our (American) society lacks.
 

Erronius

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Fuck MOOCs. I hate it when there is a class that I can't take EXCEPT for online.
 

Heylel

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As someone that's been getting heavily involved in MOOCs, I can say that until the techniques and technology get better, they're only going to be able to supplement in-classroom learning, not replace it. And even then, I don't think there's ever going to be a true replacement to the in-person, student-teacher relationship.
It's as much a paradigmatic shift that's necessary as a technological one. The senior educators need to realize that all they're really doing is building a shinier version of the same mail order and VHS tape courses people have been taking for decades. They're failing to capture what is powerful about campus culture and how it supports education. Until the previous generation finally accepts that social media and online communities aren't going away, and learn to embrace the technology rather than trying to piece it out into regimented, walled-off bits, they'll never succeed.
 

Falstaff

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It's as much a paradigmatic shift that's necessary as a technological one. The senior educators need to realize that all they're really doing is building a shinier version of the same mail order and VHS tape courses people have been taking for decades. They're failing to capture what is powerful about campus culture and how it supports education. Until the previous generation finally accepts that social media and online communities aren't going away, and learn to embrace the technology rather than trying to piece it out into regimented, walled-off bits, they'll never succeed.
I am taking Organizational Analysis on Coursera right now through Stanford University. They are really trying to encourage a lot of student interaction by doing weekly Google hangouts, required forum participation as part of your grade, and you can even write papers and peer review others in order to get a Certificate with Super High Distinction or something. I am not writing the papers but the forum has been pretty active even if 90% of the people who take Coursera courses are foreigners. The professor also responds to the most up-voted questions via video instead of only posting on the forum.
 

Pancreas

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Saying that "Education is a multi-faceted problem" is an understatement to say the least. You essentially have the perfect world problems and real world factors. The perfect world problems exist regardless of what system you adopt or where you try to implement it. This generally revolves around curriculum design and student retention/involvement and assessment. The real world factors come in the forms of budgetary concerns, home environments, political issues such as federal mandates and employee unions and also the current overall economic health of the populations who are sending their kids to school.

That's a lot of stuff.

So lets just focus on a few of them at first

Classroom Environment and Curriculum
Problems:Current classrooms suck. Everyone is grouped together by age as the determining factor for proficiency level. I think everyone can agree that while age may bring with it life experience, it has nothing to do with actual ability. Why we assume that every 7 year old is identical in their abilities is a mystery. Also, the teaching is done from a teacher to student direction. The students themselves are not seen as the instructional resources they can be, and are instead merely vessels that should be filled with knowledge.

Taking a Look BackTaking a look into the classrooms of extremely rural schools, or classrooms from 3-4 generations ago we see a much more fluid environment. The classrooms were comprised of single rooms that housed all students for a small local region. The ability level of the students were incredibly varied and usually included children from pre-school age all the way up to middle or early high school age. There was typically a single teacher who needed to split their time with each student. So instead of rigid grades, many schools simply focused on proficiency levels as a grouping mechanism. Students were assessed on their current abilities and one might excel in arithmetic but lag behind in reading or writing. Students that were above other students in proficiency were tasked with tutoring the younger or struggling students to help alleviate the burden on the single teacher. This helps two students at once, because not only is a struggling student getting some one on one time, the other student is cementing their mastery of the topic.

SolutionsSo how could we implement such a system today? Well we basically eliminate grades. We have school centers and students would be grouped by proficiency levels, not ages. Progress through a subject would hinge on regular assessments, probably in the form of personal learning projects. Once a student completes a project designed to show mastery of certain skills within a topic, they are given the appropriate Grade/ Rank/ Level associated with that. These projects would be standardized in terms of what skills the student must show proficiency in for each level. The Topics may be flexible and might either come in the form of several pre selected topics for early learners and lower proficiency levels, or as the student becomes more advanced the topics could be self chosen. The teachers primary job would be to asses and assist in the completion of these projects, with the majority of the in class lecturing and instruction being done by other students.

An approximately equal amount of time would be given to several core subjects. Each student would have to show graduation level proficiency in each of these areas. These core subjects are Math, Reading Comprehension, Writing: Creative and Technical/ Correspondence or Business Communication, Science (each major branch should be covered by a unit with the option for the student to go into more advanced studies within a specific field), Personal Finance, Personal health and Fitness, and Civic and Political studies. These are the bare minimum areas of proficiency I think all citizens should have in order to be contributing members to a society.

The Students would also be required to choose several additional subjects to fill in their schedules for the day. Not all additional topics might be available to all students. If an optional class was constantly being chosen by a large portion of the student population the school administration would be encouraged to expand it's availability.

Students would attend regular classes, but they also would be required to assist teaching the material they have shown mastery of in lower level classes or during study times. This would be a requirement for graduation, to either show so many hours of tutoring/ assistant teaching or maybe even just community service type projects put on by the school if not enough students are available to be helped.

A student could burn through material at a rather alarming rate and move right on to very advanced subjects, regardless of age. Or they might struggle in one topic and find they need to devote more time to it. The point is, whether a student takes 7 years to graduate from what we would consider 12th grade or 14 years, by the end, they will both have shown the same level of proficiency.

This all might seem impossible to implement given how children behave these days. I agree, most of these little bastards are too far gone to be thrust into such a system. But if a child is raised in this curriculum from day one, they will come to expect and understand it.

Beyond Public School
A real emphasis needs to be placed on life outside and after school. The whole purpose of school should be to better prepare students for life after school. To this end, a student should be encouraged to begin thinking about what kind of life or profession they would like to move towards from an early age. Finding a topic that interests the child and using that as a common topic for their assessment projects would be a natural way to get the kids to start thinking about what they might be able to do. Also, the school should provide a structure for students to develop community service/ outreach projects, that any students are free to sign up for and get tutoring/outreach credit for.

These projects could be anything from addressing environmental concerns, to social issues, to simple public education style events. How can the students teach the community what they have learned in a way that is also fun and engaging. These group projects would involve large portions of the student body of each school and would be important for several reasons. First it will help the students develop skills that allow them to tackle more complex issues and problems that they will take with them wherever they go. Second It will encourage social awareness in the kids and Third it will also provide valuable socializing time for students of similar age groups that might not have such an opportunity given lack of traditional age based class groupings.

Finally, a realization that college is not for everyone needs to be adopted. College can be an amazing tool, but only if the person attending has a clear purpose for attending. Someone getting lost in the haze of their undergraduate years is a really expensive waste of time and resources. People don't need to go to school to be lecherous, drug addled, drunken bums. They can do that for almost nothing.

There are plenty of rewarding trades and honest jobs that people might actually find very fulfilling and rewarding, provided the stigma surrounding them is lifted. Students nearing the completion of the public school cycle should have as much opportunity as can be afforded to job shadow and intern with companies looking to hire right out of high school. Or they can start incorporating college courses into their studies and start earning credits now, that cost nothing. This already happens to a limited degree, but it should really be the norm.

Honestly, the first two years of almost any undergrad program is filled with shit courses, that seem almost remedial. I honestly believe that most 4 year degrees could become 2 year programs overnight, if High Schools actually required their students to be proficient in the subjects they are being taught and universities didn't pad their programs with a bunch of feel good bullshit classes. The fact that a lot of universities are trying to make their undergraduate programs into 5 year snooze fests is just a disgusting cash grab.

Also... before a student thinks about schools, I think they need to be forced to write a sort of super basic business proposal (with instructions on how to go about it) before they can start seeking out federal loans. They essentially need to asses the market and look at how they are going to survive life after they graduate, given the level of debt they intend on accruing. If they pick a major that takes 5-6 years before they really hit their stride in term of income, they need to explain how they are going to manage that burden. They have loan counseling right now but it's total bullshit. You spend 5 minutes speed reading a webpage about what to do in case you are going to default and then they pile on the money. If the student can't get through writing a simple proposal or showing they have an even basic concept of the responsibility these loans represent, they probably need to rethink what their next step should be.

As a final note... the potential young kids have to become really amazing people is just staggering. There are definitely slow kids and fast kids, but honestly, most children, if exposed at a very very early age to an environment that is conducive to exploring and learning, will absolute amaze people with the talent they can develop. That this most crucial of time periods is almost entirely lost to parental ignorance and social pollution is a true crime. Most prodigies are products of their environment because there were people present who could recognize the genius immediately and didn't let it go to waste. Children can become the force for change that can solve the insurmountable problems we face, but only if we invest heavily in them. Wait too long or half ass it and well... you get what you pay for.
 

Erronius

Elder shitposter of R'lyeh
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Looking back, one the things that irks me about school was the rigid enforcement of waiting in line and waiting your turn, when none of that shit applies to RL.
True story:

When I went to Houston for 2 weeks of training with my defense contract company at KBR's "mall" facility (Greenspoint was it?) there were several hundred Bosnians I think it was going through at the same time. They served some meals there on the site so we'd all have to get in line to get processed through. Curiously enough the only people that seemed to know WTF a line was or how cutting in line was seen as a no-no were the Americans - everyone else shoved, jostled, cut and basically acted as if the first rule of the lunch-line was that there WAS no rules. This went on for a while until fights broke out and then it all had to be broken up and they're yelling at these Bosnians to get into line. Which didn't go all that well because I don't think they knew what the concept was - they'd make a few tiny sidesteps like they were going to try getting into line but the entire time they were watching each other like hawks and as soon as someone else said 'fuck it' and charged ahead, then it all went to shit again.

My company didn't have a large group so we just started getting into line 15m or so early before the Bosnian zerg got there.
 

McCheese

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It's pretty common knowledge that most people outside of North America and (some parts of) Western Europe are pretty much animals in regards to anything requiring organization. Ever try driving in a foreign country? I'm pretty sure no one knows what lane lines are for.
 

Izo

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'It's common knowledge that all Americans are obese. Ever watched tv? I'm pretty sure none of them know how a vegetable looks.'
See a problem with your reasoning, McCheese?Here you go.
 

Izo

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Bro I don't interpret, I just report
Comon, Err - You chose what to report. You're not objective in any sense here. What does a narrowly selected ethnic group have to do with education in general? What possible purpose did your post serve? Enlighten us, bro
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McCheese

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Izo confirmed dirty Bosnian line cutter.

There are definitely slow kids and fast kids, but honestly, most children, if exposed at a very very early age to an environment that is conducive to exploring and learning, will absolute amaze people with the talent they can develop.
Pancreas' whole post was excellent, but for me this is the most important thing to keep in mind.

I credit my educational success and thirst for learning (like was mentioned in the original OP) to the fact that my parents encouraged me to start learning stuff at an extremely early age. They read books to me, bought me books to look at by myself, and made me watch educational TV like Sesame Street. At the same time, they made sure that Ienjoyedall this educational stuff. My dad was really big into computers and he had all sorts of awesome kids games that I'd spend hours playing, like "Buzzy on the Farm".

I think if most parents did that for their kids then schools wouldn't have nearly as many issues with behavior, motivation, etc.
 

Izo

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It's a shame no one taught you how to properly use the quote function, McCheese. You're making me use the search function for Pancreas' post. Fuck you
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I agree that parents have the primary responsibility for their kids. It stands to reason that it's infinitely easier to achieve success if you have a society that supports the parents in this endeavor. Welfare, healthcare, etc.
 

McCheese

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It's a shame no one taught you how to properly use the quote function, McCheese.
It's not my fault, bro. I'm a product of the American educational system.
 

Erronius

Elder shitposter of R'lyeh
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Comon, Err - You chose what to report. You're not objective in any sense here. What does a narrowly selected ethnic group have to do with education in general? What possible purpose did your post serve? Enlighten us, bro
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If I had another anecdote about lines I'd give it to you.
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