Monday, February 7, 2011

The dilemma PLEs might solve

In summary, PLENK2010 got finished, and my participation fizzled quite a bit in the last few weeks. It was an interesting course, where i discovered a connection that i had been looking for for more than a few years, as illustrated (quite coarsely manner) in this 2004 post.

The dilemma of education, to me, was centered on two needs that it should be managing:

  1. Education must be universal: everyone has a right, and a responsibility to get educated.
  2. Education should provide the opportunities for each individual to discover his personal strengths, talents, and deliver to means to connect those to the needs of society. 
The first aspect covers aspects of education that all humans beings need to perform and deliver the services societies, and humanity at large needs. The second one is not really a concern in the 'modern' educational systems we have created. We've emphasized the first aspect and "standardized" so much that "customization" or "personalization" is completely out of the question, and usually scoffed at: This is not how and why the educational systems were created: they were made so lots of people could learn how to jump through exactly the same hoops.

However, the experience of most individuals that survive formal education -and of many educators- is quite dissonant from the unisized, uniformed experience that we've been trying to deliver. As societies grow more diverse (because of migration to name but a factor), standardization works less and less. The promise then lies in personalization, individualization, or customization of education. 

The question then has become for me: How can massive, centralized educational systems deliver that customizable experience?

My answer as of this time of the century: PLEs might well be the quick fix that solves the dilemma. On the longer term, as the systems 'feel' the feedback they get from students exposed to the ideas and practice of the PLEs, they might just evolve in an almost timely fashion, and adapt around them. 

Montessori, another key?

This being said, i've recently been more in touch with the Montessori theory of education, which is deemed to be inherently personalized. Could that be another key to solving the dilemma? How come Montessori has not amounted to becoming a standard massive educational systems? If you have an opinion, please drop it in the comments.

What i'm doing about it

Since i am considering PLEs as part of the answer to the dilemma, i enrolled at the PLEK12 (PLEs for k-12 education) online course. If it's intriguing to you too, jump right in! (it's free).

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