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The role of teachers in Education 3.0

Note: This article is a part of the Designing Education 3.0 series at Education Futures.

The debate continues: What is the role of a teacher? The sage on the stage or a guide on the side? In a recent Tegenlicht episode, Frank Furedi argued for a return to “classical,” power-based, download-style (banking) pedagogies. I countered that we need something different. Here’s my take:

Download-style education fails when we try to provide students with knowledge and skills that will enable them to lead in a future that is very different from what exists today –and, in a future that defies human imagination. Teaching facts or knowledge that was relevant in the past may not be acceptable today or in the near future. Moreover, if teachers are as unprepared for the future as students, why not learn invent it together?

Teaching in Education 3.0 requires a new form of co-constructivism that provides meaningful extensions to Dewey, Vygotsky and Freire, while building the future. Specifically, teaching in Education 3.0 necessitates a Leapfrog approach with:

  • Adults who are eager to imagine, create and innovate with kids
  • Kids and adults who want to learn more about each other
  • Kids and adults who partner to collaborate in teaching to and learning from each other
  • Kids who work at creative tasks that mirror the innovation workforce
  • An understanding that kids need to contribute to all economic levels, and with better distribution of effort than in the past

This will all require new forms of educational professionalism, tapping well beyond traditional teachers, and blending together with the communities that schools serve. The future that kids and adults co-create can provide the emerging knowledge/innovation economy a boost, greatly enhancing human capital and potentials. How would you teach, learn, and create in Education 3.0?

Integrating Open Source models into education

In Spring 2004, Laurie Taylor and Brendan Riley published an article in Computers and Composition on introducing the Open Source model into education to transform the nature of academic research and pedagogy. In regard to research, the authors argue that adoption of the model among authors would shift the ownership of academia’s intellectual property from publishers to academic authors. Today, the number of published works are limited by the high cost of publishing them. Adoption of an Open Source model, will expand primary publishing to electronic media and allow market demands and acclaim for each work to determine the extent of distribution. Faced with a future where continuous new knowledge production will be critical to ensure the success of individuals and organizations, integration of an Open Source-based model into academia could help ensure that knowledge production among academic professionals increases and is made available.

Adoption of an Open Source-based philosophy in the classroom that is centered on collaborative production, review, and continuous revision could support an exchange system worthy of sustaining continuous new knowledge production. In a potential classroom model, students will collaborate on a project where the continuous input knowledge contributes to the structure of the finished product. Taylor and Riley believe that by connecting with a greater community for review and evaluation of the project further enhances students project planning, design and communication skills.

Related: Other thoughts on the topic from SUNY Cortland’s English Department