With the advent of the internet, there’s been a lot of changes in the past 25 years: digital textbooks, learning management systems and a lot of new technologies have come along. But in so many cases, the initial efforts were people thinking, “let’s figure out how to do the same thing using different technology, so we can be a bit more efficient at what we’re doing.” Now, the mega trend that we’re advocating for is for people to say: “No, we need to rethink what we’re doing, and what’s possible now.”
Instead of doing the same lecture using a digital textbook, we need to ask: How do we get students working in groups, interacting, and becoming an active part of the class? Active learning is another category, and that’s not just reading, listening to a lecture and doing homework. It’s doing more projects and getting the students actively collaborating, instead of just listening and taking tests.
On one hand, there is a lot of change, and you see a lot of exciting things happening that weren’t happening when we were in school. On the other hand, people are saying that education hasn’t changed in 500 years. Part of what we have in education is a lot of pilot projects, where somebody will create a new approach, which is sometimes wonderful, or sometimes it’s a failure. But the big problem we have in education is that we don’t learn from that and spread the ideas that do work.