Last week I had a guest in my social-media war room. He is a . . . let’s say . . . a rather misunderstood figure. Most of us think of him as a brute who is emotional and impulsive. He’s been described as part Golem and part Frankenstein monster. I’m referring to none other than THE INCREDIBLE HULK.
HULK might come off as a bit thickheaded, but he has a deep and abiding love for education. For almost two hours, he and I discussed e-learning. Here’s the transcript of our conversation:
Why is HULK interested in e-learning?
WHY IS HULK INTERESTED IN AIR? ANSWER: CAUSE IT ALL AROUND HIM AND HE NEED TO BREATHE. SAME WITH THE E-LEARNING. ALL AROUND HULK, AND HULK NEED TO LEARN. HULK ALSO RECOGNIZE INHERENT VALUES OF E-LEARNING.
What do you mean, e-learning is all around you?
MANY PEOPLE THINK E-LEARNING IS JUST FORMAL E-LEARNING CLASSES, BUT ANY KNOWLEDGE GAINED DIGITALLY IS E-LEARNING, MOST OF WHICH WE LEARN IN INFORMAL SETTING. STUDY SAY 25 PERCENT OF TIME ONLINE ONE IS LEARNING INFORMALLY, LEARNING EITHER TECHNICAL SKILL OR CONTENT. AND GUESS WHAT KNOWLEDGE IS MORE IMPORTANT TO STUDENT, FORMAL LEARNING OR INFORMAL LEARNING?
RIGHT, YES. INFORMAL. CAUSE IT WHAT PEOPLE WANT TO LEARN. THEY GO TO IT, NOT IT BROUGHT TO THEM. WE KNOW THAT POWERFUL THING, BUT EDUCATORS OFTEN NOT TAP THE POTENTIAL BECAUSE FUNDS AND RESOURCES LIMITED. BUT NOW RESOURSES UNLIMITED. AND COST ALMOST ZILCH. YOU WANT TO LEARN CRAZY THING LIKE “TOPICS IN STRING THEORY,” STANFORD UNIVERSITY PUT RIGHT ONLINE, EVEN IN ITUNES STORE. YOU KNOW HOW MUCH STANFORD’S “TOPICS IN STRING THEORY” COURSE CONTENT COST YOU?
Stanford, I’m guessing rather expensive.
WRONG. IT FREE. ALL FREE. HOW AMAZING THAT? STANFORD AND M.I.T. PUT ALL INSTITUTION CONTENT ONLINE. HULK NOW KNOW THAT IN PARALLEL STRING UNIVERSE, EDUCATORS EMBRACE BLENDED LEARNING MODELS, AND ALL STUDENT LEARN AT THEIR OWN PACE AND AT THEIR OWN RATE. IT ALL STUDENT CENTERED. WE JUST HAPPEN LIVE IN MESSED UP CONTROL WORLD PROGRESSING AT HALF SPEED.
What are some of the advantages that you see in e-learning?
IT FIT TODAY LEARNER. KID WANT IMMERSION WITH RICH TEXT, MULTI MEDIA, INTERACTIVE CONTENT. KID NOT WANT TO POWER DOWN WHEN GET TO SCHOOL. WE START CALLING SCHOOL’S “AREA 51” OR “BERMUDA TRIANGLE” WITH THEIR WEIRD APPROACHES TO THINGS THAT RUN ON ELECTRICITY. MY FRIEND FRANKENSTEIN UNDERSTAND THEIR FEARS, THOUGH. HE NOT KEEN ON ELECTRICITY, LIGHTNING, FIRE. WIFI SCARE HIM MORE THAN VILLAGERS WITH PITCH FORKS.
You mean Frankenstein’s monster, right? Frankenstein was the scientist.
THAT JUST RUBBING IN REALLY. HULK NO SUPPORT NAME CALLING. IT NOT LIKE HE TECH DIRECTOR WHO FIREWALL WHOLE DANG INTERNET.
Sorry about that. Moving on . . . Many students from the Millennial Generation have gone on to become teachers. It must be frustrating for them to work in a system that doesn’t embrace e-learning.
HULK SEE THAT EVERY DAY. THIS POOR GENERATION OF MODERN TEACHERS LITERALLY BORN IN ONE TECHNOLOGY ERA, STUDIED IN A DIFFERENT TECHNOLOGY ERA, AND NOW TEACH IN LATEST ERA OF INSTANT, ON-DEMAND INTERNET TECHNOLOGY. ALL HAPPEN IN 25 YEARS. MAKE HULK BIG HEAD SPIN.
How do they relate to the Z Generation?
MODERN TEACHER VERY BRIGHT. THEY RELATE GOOD TO MODERN KID. THEY KNOW “LOL” NOT PRONOUNCED LIKE LETTERS “L.O.L.” OR NOT CHUNKED INTO WHOLE WORLD “LOL” LIKE BOOMERS SAY WHEN TRYING TO BE HIP. THEY NOT BORN IN INTERNET ERA, BUT THEY HAVE BRAINS THAT ARE REWIRED. THEY GET IT. “IT” BEING TODAY’S WIRED KIDS.
How do the modern teachers overcome the lack of technology in their own classrooms?
SADLY, MANY DOWNLOAD ENGAGING CONTENT OR DO SCREEN CAPTURES, THEN PLAY OFF THUMB DRIVE OR TURN WHOLE THING INTO PAPER SIMILAR TO GUTENBERG CIRCA 1440. HULK HAVE BIG PROBLEM WITH THAT. USUALLY AT LEAST ONE GENIUS KID IN CLASS KNOW HOW TO CIRCUMVENT FIREWALL, SO PROBLEM SOLVED. BEST DEATH STAR ALWAYS HAVE ACHILLES HEEL, AND SOME QUIET KID ALWAYS KNOW THE CHEAT.
Speaking of cheating, a lot of people are worried how to monitor cheating in e-learning.
HULK HERE THIS ALL DANG TIME. ARE SAME PEOPLE WORRIED ABOUT CHEATING WHEN THEY SEND HOMEWORK HOME? OR IF MOM AND DAD DO KID’S SCIENCE PROJECT? NO, COURSE NOT. MACHINES ACTUALLY HAVE GREAT BUILT IN SECURITY TO DETECT PLAGIARISM AND EVEN CHEATING ON MULTIPLE CHOICE TESTS. SO HULK NOT WORRIED.
ALSO “CHEATING” HAS COMPLETE NEW MEANING WITH TODAY’S KIDS. IF EDUCATORS DON’T KNOW THIS, THEY ARE DANGEROUSLY BEHIND THE TIMES.
Wait, there’s a new meaning for “cheating?” I may have missed that, too.
YES, TODAY’S CHEAT MEAN SUPER GENIUS OUTSIDE-OF-BOX THINKER. HULK ILLUSTRATE: NEW VIDEO GAME COME OUT THAT COMPANIES SPENT MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO DEVELOP. KIDS ALL OVER WORLD START WORKING ON DISCOVERING CHEATS, SHORTCUT TO GAME, OUTSMARTING THE DESIGNERS. KIDS CREATE BLOGS AND WIKIS TO MARK THE PROGRESS ON CRACKING CHEAT CODES AND ALLOW THOUSANDS OF OTHERS TO COLLABORATE.
That’s amazing. I had no idea. How long does it take them to crack the codes in these games?
OH, USUALLY 24 HOURS DO IT. THESE CHEATERS HAILED AS SUPER HEROES, BUT ALSO MISUNDERSTOOD, MUCH LIKE HULK. MAYBE WHY I LIKE THEM SO MUCH.
What about the social aspect? A lot of people are worried that if students are on the computer all day, they won’t learn how to socialize. How do you counter that?
ARE YOU SERIOUS? HULK HEAR THIS ALL DANG TIME. SOCIALIZATION BIGGEST RED HERRING IN E-LEARNING ARGUMENT. KIDS BORN SOCIAL. MOST TEACHERS SPEND ALL DAY TRYING TO GET KIDS NOT TO SOCIALIZE. HULK NEPHEW GO TO SCHOOL THAT GIVE EACH WEEK “MOUTHY KID AWARD.” SCHOOL NEVER HAD SAME WINNER TWICE IN SIXTY-EIGHT YEARS. SOCIALIZATION NOT A PROBLEM. IT LAST DITCH ARGUMENT. REMEMBER, KIDS OWN THE WORLD OF INSTANT MESSAGING AND BASICALLY INVENT ZANGA, MYSPACE, FACEBOOK.
What would you have schools do right away to make a digital impact?
THIS SO EASY HULK EVEN GET IT. TWO THINGS: LET KIDS BRING OWN TECHNOLOGY AND HAVE TEACHERS FLIP CLASSROOM. FILM ALL LECTURES AND LESSON. PUT ONLINE. THEY WILL BE CRUDDY AT FIRST, BUT WILL GET BETTER OVER TIME. THIS NATURAL PROGRESSION. SOON SCHOOL AND DISTRICT CAN USE BEST VIDEOS PRODUCED BY HUNDREDS OF TEACHERS. REUSE EACH YEAR. GET THOUSANDS OF VIEWS. ANY TIME. ANY WHERE. ANY PLACE. THERE ARE LITERALLY THOUSANDS OF SAL KHANS OUT THERE.
How does flipping the classroom help?
IT DOUBLE AMOUNT OF TEACHERS IN ROOM. YOU KNOW HAVE BOTH YOU AND YOU. YOU CAN NOW FACILITATE YOUR OWN LESSONS AND KIDS CAN WATCH AT HOME. WHAT COST SCHOOL? NOTHING. WHAT COST TEACHER? INITIAL TIME INVESTMENT, BUT PAY OFF BIG TIME 100 FOLD LATER.
What about the students not connected?
HOPE THAT BIG OBVIOUS POINT TO LEADERS EVERYWHERE. THOSE KIDS WITHOUT ACCESS ARE IN BIGGEST MOST SERIOUS NEED EVER. BIG GAP DEVELOPING BETWEEN WIRED AND UNWIRED KIDS. EDUCATORS NOT AWARE WHEN LET NO ONE USE TECHNOLOGY IN SCHOOL. THIS BIG FLAW AND FATAL OVERSIGHT. MUST CLOSE GAP. IT WILL AFFECT WHOLE LIFE OF STUDENT.
When do you think we will reach the tipping point where there’s no looking back as far as blended learning is concern?
SOME EXPERTS SAY 2012, BUT EXPERTS ALL WRONG. TIPPING POINT BACK IN 2009. HULK READ IN 2009 DEPARTMENT OF ED STUDY THAT SAY KID WHO TAKE ALL CLASSES ONLINE PERFORM AS GOOD OR BETTER THAN TRADITIONAL COUNTERPARTS. THAT WAS TIPPING POINT. BESIDES, MOORE’S LAW NOT JUST STEP ASIDE FOR EDUCATION. YOU FAMILIAR MOORE’S LAW?
Yes, I am. That’s basically where technology and its capacity doubles every 18 months.
SOON MACHINE WILL BE BETTER. TEACH KIDS MORE THAN JUST BOTTOM QUADRANT OF BLOOM’S, FREEING TEACHERS TO DO EVEN MORE HIGHER ORDER FUNCTIONS. FOCUS ON RELEVANCY AND RELATIONSHIPS.
Some people worry that e-learning ditches the teacher for a computer. How does Hulk feel about that?
HULK HERE THAT ALL DANG TIME. HULK SAY NOT TRUE. COMPUTER, TECHNOLOGY, E-LEARNING, BLENDED LEARNING ALL TRANSFORM TEACHER . . . TRANSCEND REALLY. TEACHER WILL SOON SPEND MORE TIME WORKING LIKE MASTER SOCRATIC FACILITATOR. LET MACHINE SPEND TIME AT LOWER END OF BLOOM’S WITH KNOWLEDGE AND STUFF LIKE THAT. TEACHER THEN WHERE TEACHER SUPPOSED TO BE, FACILITATING STUDENTS AT OTHER END OF BLOOM’S WITH CREATION AND SUCH. HULK CALL THIS BLOOM’S UPRISING AND INTERNET LEAD THIS REVOLUTION.