Saturday, December 22, 2007

And the Auto-Didacts Shall Inherit the Earth!

If you go to a rural school in an impoverished developing nation, not only will you see squalor standing in for what ought to be decent classrooms, but among the mud floors and flies swarming in under the eaves, you'll see a strong fervor for learning.

This is not the type of enthusiasm we often see in our classrooms. Students in 3rd World schools are desperate for learning. They see it as a liberating and empowering force, and one of the only things (beside good luck) that may help them elevate themselves. In such classrooms one also comes to see that the greatest deficiency, as the learners there see it, is content. For while there are highly motivated teachers and students aplenty, books, even dog-eared, out-of-date texts from decades past are highly prized because access to them is often SO limited. And of course, access to computers, including the One Laptop Per Child's XO super low cost laptops are WAY up at the top of learner wishlists.

Seeing this is to understand that IF the key to learning is simple access to knowledge/content - that is, for the multitudes who will know how to learn it once they can get their hands on it - we can infer that a new type of learner is about to inherit the Earth, the Auto Didact.

Throughout the web there abound 'how to's, tutorials, and self administered lessons of every type. From Professional Development for teachers via resources like
- The Teachers Podcast ( and
- TeacherTube ( ),
- Technology Skills from sources like Tech Tutorials (one of a great many on the web @ ),
- and Do It Yourself 'how to' in every conceivable field at resources like Expert Village( the knowledge is there for those who can take it and learn it on their own, can teach it to themselves.

As technology puts more and more such content, structed and presented for learners, in the hands of those untold Billions around the world ready to take it and run with it, we will see the emergence of a new dominant species, the Auto Didact!

Below is the link to a recent article that points to a novel new dimension of this rapidly developing phenomenon. An accredited university in Japan, which until now had conducted all classes exclsively online via computer screen, has now pushed the boundaries further to deliver a course entirely over CELL phones. This offers greater reach, greater ease and flexibility of access - that is, for those who have the make-up that will allow them to take advantage of it. Clearly it's not for everyone, or at this point, perhaps not for most. But as that sector of the popular who can do so takes advantage of it, the ground work for evolving dominance of those who teach themselves is being laid... THEY will inherit the world in the not too distant future!

"Next ed-tech frontier: Classes via cell phone"
From: eSchool News


No comments: