While meandering the internet this morning, I stumbled upon this article showing Walter Cronkite in 1967 telling us what a kitchen would look like in 2001. He talks about how all the ingredients are automatically retrieved from storage, cooked in seconds and then pop out of the microwave. There are no dirty dishes to do since they are melted down to make new plates each time. I wonder what they would think considering home many people still love to make things from scratch. That while we have made amazing advances in frozen pizza technology, cooking is still part of everyday life.
This got me thinking about the current dreams of education with MOOC and online future. It was interesting to hear from one Udacity professor about his process and how different the interaction with students was online. I don’t think education can ever be really made to match this idealized single serving future. MOOCs will find there place, probably more in continuing ed than higher ed. But ultimately, learning is a messy business, for me delightfully so. Each student brings an individual history and requires a different approach. While we can make optimizations and make use of technology, a student will always need individual and effective feedback. Something not yet possible to automate.
I have the greatest respect for people trailblazing this field. There will be mistakes and issues like the Fundamentals of Online Learning course. But we have to remember that is just part of the process. I can’t wait to see the future of education, but I know it won’t be as automatic and antiseptic as some depict it will be.