October 30, 2011 in All, Education, Robert Wells, USA

The Changing Nature of Education

Robert WellsThe term flipping is one that I've picked up whilst being in LA. Everyone is talking about the need to flip various things over. There appears to be a consensus of people here that believe things are changing so rapidly that our basic beliefs about how things should be done are being turned on their heads.

This is true in relation to the training of artists, many of whom are undergoing re-training with arts organizations in order for them to develop socially-inclusive art practices. It is also true with regards to the setting of education. People here are discussing the need to place learning within the fabric of the community, rather than in walled-off school buildings.

One of the most interesting examples of flipping is in relation to what takes place in the classroom. Following the post on my blog about ArtistWorks, I've had conversations with several people about the Khan Academy. As Salman Khan described in his TED Talk earlier this year, online learning resources can really change the nature of learning inside and outside of school.

Traditionally, students learn about a subject or develop a skill during lessons, and homework is then set as a means of re-enforcing the learning. Schools in Los Altos have been using the Khan Academy to enable students to do the initial learning privately, and using lesson time to re-enforce the learning, thus flipping the normal approach.

All this talk of flipping appears in line with the general sense I'm getting of the US at the moment. The public Occupy Wall St protests are visceral expressions of it. The conversations I've been having are perhaps the ways in which things will actually start to change.

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