School Daze: Alternative Approaches to Education

Phil and Stephen discuss massive disruptions taking place in education.

What students know that experts don’t: School is all about signaling, not skill-building

Is it possible that students are on to something? There is a massive gap between school and work, between learning and earning. While the labor market rewards good grades and fancy degrees, most of the subjects schools require simply aren’t relevant on the job. Literacy and numeracy are vital, but few of us use history, poetry, higher mathematics or foreign languages after graduation. The main reason firms reward education is because it certifies (or “signals”) brains, work ethic and conformity.

A new study shows that students learn way more effectively from print textbooks than screens

Across the studies, the texts differed in length, and we collected varying data (e.g., reading time). Nonetheless, some key findings emerged that shed new light on the differences between reading printed and digital content.

After 100 Years of the Same Teaching Model It’s Time to Throw Out the Playbook

It’s time to change the direction of the arrow by for once and for all turning it around and allowing it to originate from the student. Imagine a classroom where students are the ones driving the learning and are empowered to pursue things that matter to them. In the infographic above we see multiple modalities being employed by these students as students are accessing human and digital resources to drive their own learning. In a 21st century learning model, learning extends beyond the classroom walls, and students are exchanging, discussing, questioning, reflecting and making connections anywhere, anytime. Most importantly, students are inspired and empowered to act, rather than sit back and have the knowledge brought to them.

DARPA Is Planning to Hack the Human Brain to Let Us “Upload” Skills

In March 2016, DARPA — the U.S. military’s “mad science” branch — announced their Targeted Neuroplasticity Training (TNT) program. The TNT program aims to explore various safe neurostimulation methods for activating synaptic plasticity, which is the brain’s ability to alter the connecting points between neurons — a requirement for learning. DARPA hopes that building up that ability by subjecting the nervous system to a kind of workout regimen will enable the brain to learn more quickly.

In the future, university education will be a coffeeshop

We’re faced with an education bubble. Tuition and other costs associated with a college education have been outpacing inflation for decades. It’s a trend that simply cannot continue. It has continued, so far, because the demand for education has proven to be somewhat inelastic. If you want a good job (the thinking went) there really wasn’t much of a choice. You went and you paid whatever price they put in front of you.

Also, see Stephen’s related blog on home-schooling at The Speculist.

Or listen on SoundCloud.

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Eternity Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) | Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License | http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0