This is another post on my views on the EdTechTalk discussion (audio here and transcript here) recently between Stephen Downes and George Seimens about (among other things) views on objective and subjective knowledge and its impact on teaching (transfer of knowledge vs. connective learning). See this post for many more details and transcripts etc.
This discussion also asked the question: “What is the role/goal of education”? I agree that this is fundamentally important question, because we cannot hope to achieve this goal if we are not clear what the goal is. While I will not comment on what the role/goal of education is now, I would like to ‘remind’ people what the role of education was in the past – in the industrial age.
I have heard it said that the two goals of education in the industrial age were essentially:
- to get children away from their parents so that the parents could be productive factory workers, and
- to make the children ready to be effective factory workers.
This is particularly important because the current education system as we know it was actually instigated during the industrial age, supposedly to achieve the two goals outlined above. As we are still bound by this industrial age educational system, we should be aware of this, and aware of the goals it had in mind. We should seriously ask ourselves if they are the same goals that we have today, and if not, can the current educational system achieve our new goals?
The alternative is not a pretty picture. If we continue to use an education system designed to make human robots, what happens when these human robots become obsolete in favour of Chinese human robots and eventually, true blue robot robots?