In the previous installment, I discussed a selection of hurdles faced by the education world in the viability, effectiveness and adoption of new technologies. Here at Rukuku, though, we’re optimists. To us, that doesn’t mean crossing our fingers and hoping everything turns out okay. Instead, we recognize that for every problem, there exists an array of intelligent, creative, and occasionally, downright awesome solutions. As it pertains to tech and learning, a few examples follow. Some are uncontroversial, others are mutually exclusive, and many are subject to lively, opinionated discussion based on one’s political or social viewpoint.
Policy solutions. In our political discourse, the primary rhetorical tools have recently become beating each other over the head with vapid talking points and just generally yelling at everything. That is quite unfortunate, because there is a serious, level-headed discussion to be had on the subject of technology and our (failing) education system. A sober discussion on the topic might go something like this. Those favoring robust federal involvement in our schools and universities may say that more funding is needed, technology should be introduced into resistant systems with incentives and pressure, the system should be made more efficient and equitable (perhaps through subsidies for disadvantaged students and locales), and accountability should be increased. Deficit hawks and decentralists might retort that the right solutions are to give localities and institutions more leeway, stop constraining them with one-size-fits-all federal standards, and diminish what they believe to be the entrenched, change-resistant behemoth of an educational bureaucracy that we have created over the last couple of decades.
Natural market processes and innovation. Whatever your views on policy happen to be, anyone who has taken an introductory Economics class probably knows that peaceful, lawful competition among innovative producers results in ever-improving products and services at ever-lower prices. If you are a child of the era when the personal computer was an exorbitantly expensive, fantastically slow, nauseatingly beige, boxy monstrosity, you know this very well. The computers of today are enormously better, faster, and more functional than their counterparts of ten or 15 years ago. Despite that, the average price of personal computer equipment fell an astounding ninety percent between 1998 and 2009. The introduction of the tech revolution into education will be no different. In the last post, we placed special emphasis on socioeconomic factors causing disparities in the quality of learning. To be sure, this problem exists, and is serious. But in the face of the unrelenting innovation machine, it’s also temporary. Technologies are very rapidly becoming more accessible and more equitable for people of all backgrounds. If the demand exists (and it sure does), the innovators will always respond. To end with a small but shameless plug: Rukuku strives to be among those innovators.
There are so many reasons to look forward to solving the educational problems of the modern age.
Source for stats.