“Education is our civil religion; if we fail at that, we fail at everything.” Powerful words on the second day of the WCET Leadership Summit, spoken by Kaye Howe of the National Science Digital Library, who happens to be sitting next to me right now, unaware of my plans to immortalize her words in the blogosphere.
With the threat of “failing at everything” looming over our heads, the time has come to reconsider how we think about education. Some argue that strict standards and pre-set curricula are key, but I take a different standpoint: throw them all out. Standards limit innovation. Today’s rapidly changing technological landscape gives students and educators tools that make traditional textbooks seem woefully inadequate. I would urge legislators to trust in the abilities of our teachers, not to rein them in with a laundry list of outcomes that take up the vast majority of the year.
The institutions represented at the WCET Leadership Summit have embraced a remarkable variety of educational models. They understand that the educational world as we know it is on the cusp of a revolution, and are determined not to be left behind, and in many cases are leading the charge toward this new learning ecosystem.
CourseSmart is sponsoring this summit, a gathering of 90 remarkably high-caliber members of the higher education community. I have been furiously taking notes in each of the sessions, drinking in all of the conversations about digital learning content creation, publication, maintenance and adoption. WCET has a wonderful job of hosting an incredibly smart, opinionated, even feisty group of people, and I look forward to seeing what real solutions come out of it.
- Nani Jansen, CourseSmart Events Coordinator