Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Special Assignment

USA Today's article by Mary Beth Marklein

In USA Today's article, A World where grades will be left behind the writer is interviewing Sebastian Thrun. Thrun is talking about Udacity, an education company that he founded. The ways he explains the classrooms is that there is no grades, no one is late, failure isn't an option, and it's like a virtual playground. Thrun strongly feels that our education industry needs an overhaul and through technology this could be possible. The writer ask " How, exactly, will education look in 30 years?" His response," technology is enabling educators -- not to mention Silicon Valley entrepreneurs -- to personalize education and scale it up." Thrun feels that education should respond to you. He talks about making online classes free or affordable, like a cell phone bill.

I agree with some of the points that Sebastian Thrun makes on technology; that it enables educators and the idea of making learning fun. However, I have to ask myself the question whether this idea is even possible? I think that free college or college as affordable as a cell phone bill is ultimately impossible. How would you pay the teachers and who would teach for free? Another one of my concerns is, if you have no grades how do you comply to the standards set by the states. Along with complying with the state mandated standards, where is the accountability? Grades teach responsibility, you as a student are responsible for studying the material. Why would you take that aspect out of teaching. Thrun calls grades "the failure of the education system." I totally disagree with that statement, without grades you are teaching students nothing more than; life has absolutely no consequences. So, if I do not study and learn the required material, it doesn't matter because I will not be graded. Where is my ambition to learn? There is none, that is a scary thought! That brings me back to another statement that he made " failure isn't an option." Failure isn't an option because there is no system of grading, of course failure wouldn't be an option. I am 100% for the union of technology and education. In the next 30 years, we will have so much technology available to us and as educators our main goal will be to prepare our students for jobs and for the real world. If we integrate the technology we have available now and what we will have in the future into our classrooms it will not only make learning easier but it will make our jobs, as teachers, easier too. I do feel that if you make learning fun that it will be well received and some of the ideas that Thrun mentioned are wonderful however, some are just farfetched.
Sebastian Thurn

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