January 03, 2012

Lecturing and Education

Technology is changing the education industry. NPR's recent story about removing the lecture from the classroom is a perfect example. Here's the introduction to the article:

The lecture is one of the oldest forms of education there is. "Before printing someone would read the books to everybody who would copy them down," says Joe Redish, a physics professor at the University of Maryland. But lecturing has never been an effective teaching technique and now that information is everywhere, some say it's a waste of time. Indeed, physicists have the data to prove it.

Read or listen to the whole thing. It's worthwhile.

It reminds me of Salman Khan's TED talk. Khan started the Khan Academy, which is a video-based learning system that's been growing rapidly for years now. The video, like all TED talks, is relatively short:

Khan believes that we have homework completely backwards. Essentially, students learn more effectively if their lectures are videos watched at home and their 'homework' is done in the classroom where they have other students and teachers to talk to when they need help.

Anyone in the education industry should be thinking very hard about the role of lecture material in the classroom and the other ways that technology affects learning.