MIT Media Lab, Point the Way Toward Decentralized, Networked Learning | Mediashift | PBS | :: The 4th Era :: |

by Aran Levasseur




"In education, digital technology and 21st century learning have become quite fashionable. Schools that have the resources to integrate digital tools are eager to do so. But digital tools are only the beginning. They are intimations of greater changes to come. It will be the novel and creative ways that people interact using technology that will generate the innovation all sectors of our society are looking for. If flattening hierarchies and decentralizing control are previews of coming attractions, then what does that mean for education?


"Let’s start with the classroom. Flattening hierarchies and decentralizing control would increase autonomy and augment network interaction. A flattened hierarchy would transform the teacher from an omnipotent silo of knowledge to more of a designer, coach and guide. This would enable greater autonomy for students to pursue what intrinsically motivates them within an environment shaped by design thinking and under the guidance of a teacher. Greater network interaction would emphasize collaboration versus individual achievement. With an Internet connection via a smartphone, tablet or laptop, a learning network would be rooted in the local environment but limited only by one’s imagination. Integral to this structural shift is the collapse of departmental walls and cultivation of multidisciplinary thinking. This is not your father’s or mother’s school. But it is the kind of learning your can find at two of the world’s premier universities: MIT and Stanford."