Melt Down in Higher Education is underway

In a post today by Seth Godin, titled The coming melt-down in higher education (as seen by a marketer), there is a list of 5 items about why higher education is in a melt-down like the rest of the economy.

His 5 points are all issues I’ve discussed over the past year.

Another huge issue that Seth could have mentioned is the mindset of higher education is limited to ‘now’.

Our children will not be signed up for land-based universities when they go to college. Their classrooms will be virtual, their classmates will be diverse, their assignments will reach all corners of the world and their teachers will be students themselves.

The universities and colleges that dare to step out of the box and focus on what babies born in 2005 and on will need will be the ones that survive.

The holy ‘degree‘ will be something that our children get because they want it on their walls because it looks nice, not because it does anything to enrich their lives.

The babies born today seem to know how to use a speed dial on the cell phone, turn on the tv and the stereo, place buds in their ears and select items on IPads. They click cameras, play with keyboards and smile into webcams.

These babies will not be satisfied sitting in a classroom looking at Powerpoints or reading static books.

Thanks Seth!

Brain Freeze

It seems to happen more and more often these days… my brain freezes up and I forget what I was going to do. In my attempt to change the sheets on my bed, I had to replace the lightbulb (so I could see the bed).  I left the room to find a light bulb and about an hour later, I walked into my room to find the bed unmade and the lightbulb waiting to be replaced.  Where had  I gone that past hour?

Where do you go? Perhaps it’s the multi-tasking that I’m doing.  My mind is full of things to do and there is no time for just changing sheets.  My mind is about changing sheets, listening to music or planning dinner and reviewing my day, preparing for tomorrow and on and on.

So much wonderful technology in my life — and — it’s hard to unplug. I have a radio, mp3 player, tv, pc, laptop, skype, digital camera, Flip camera, cell phone … and those are within 15 steps of me. 

I am blessed to have these tools and I am also blessed when the power goes out… and I can give my brain time to thaw.

Introducing Skype into the classroom

With the use of Skype, a free video program … a student can attend a class from the comfort of his car, her living room, their conference room, in an airport, hospital, fire station, breakroom or whereever an internet connection can be found.

In fact, using this free technology, the student becomes the teacher and can take control of the learning environment, add relevant information, links to existing data, photos, videos and much more.

Skype makes virutal learning come alive. Simple and free. 

Invite an author into the classroom using Skype.

Take a field trip to an art museum in another country, using Skype.

Turn on Skype and teach a language to students in another country.

Teach a foreign language locally and then take Skype to that country so the students can see and hear the language in action.

Invite several classrooms to attend at the same time — make it a global environment!

Life Long Learning

Sometimes, an education will lead to learning, just for the love of learning. The fact that we can take online classes from Ivy League Universities and colleges is simply amazing. The robust online courses include notes, tests, quizzes, links to books, videos, podcasts, book titles, assignments and all the requirements that paying students are assigned. The difference is you take classes because you want to learn – not because you want a degree.

Life long learning will add a uniqueness and quality to your life that is hard to describe. The act of seeking out new topics, speakers, ideas, books, people, authors, museums and libraries will bring a fullness and excitement like nothing else.

Life long learning leads to more questions, more invitations, more knowledge and as the answers come… more questions. It’s a wonderful cycle that keeps the brain cells popping, growing and jumping for joy!

Check out:
Federal Resources for Educational Excellence
Forum Network