From Place to Service

The shift from print-based learning to digital learning is a big deal, but more fundamental is the shift from institution-centric education to student-centered learning.
Rich Halverson spoke about Rethinking Education at SREB last month.  Below is a list adapted from Rich’s book about the10 shifts that change everything (a summary ended up in Getting Smart, now on Amazon).

Factor From To To
Responsibility Parents State Individuals/parents
Expectations Social reproduction Success for all Individual choice
Aspirations Practical sills Disciplinary knowledge Learning how to learn
Content Books Textbook Learning objects
Pedagogy Apprenticeship Didacticism Interaction
Assessment Observation Testing Embedded assessment
Grouping Mixed-age Age cohorts Individual progress
Location Home School Anywhere
Culture Adult culture Peer culture Mixed-age culture
Relationships Personal bonds Authority figures Social networks

(Adapted from Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology, Collins & Halverson)
The 10 shifts describe, at a high level, the emerging user experience.  But it’s also interesting to think  about the implications for delivery.  Last week at the Policy Innovators in Education conference I described it as the shift from school as place to learning as a service.
Rick Hess (who was on the same PIE-Net panel) calls it unbundling the schoolhouse. Six months ago I wrote about the 10 dimensions of school as a service and I think it still does a reasonable job of describing the emerging SaaS architecture.
For most students, learning rooted in a place will remain important.  In addition to a connection to a social fabric, a place called school offers integration and application opportunities, connection to community services, and extracurricular activities.  Good schools add a valuable intangible asset—a culture of potential and achievement.
As learning becomes a collection of blended services (some online, some onsite), we will need to invent new ways of creating culture and coherence–for learners of all ages.
Also see:  Smart World

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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