All educational ideas are out there?

January 9, 2010 at 10:42 am Leave a comment

“Just about every single educational idea is out there,” said Cohen, whose expertise is in artificial intelligence and education informatics. “We want to make it easy to develop and to share that information.”

Development of the unit packages, the team believes, will lead to a “virtual map of knowledge,” suggested computer science graduate student Tasneem Kaochar. This map is a component of the team’s vision for the International Internet Classroom.

via U Arizona Team Seeks To Construct International Internet Classroom — Campus Technology.

Do you believe that, that every single educational idea is out there already?  And that it’s possible to map the space of educational ideas?

Education is such an amazingly complex space.  It’s much larger than the space of all ideas that might be taught.  For each content area or skill that might be taught, there are many contexts, metaphors, or analogies that might be used to present the ideas, e.g., in the same way that CS1 concepts might be taught with media, robotics, engineering problems, video games, or other topics. Then, each of these might be presented at different paces with different levels of detail for different prior experiences, different sets of prior knowledge (as Mayer talks about), and different abilities (think about physically or mentally disabled students). Then there are sequence options: Top-down, bottom-up, learner-driven, socially-driven, etc. Of course, there are cross-disciplinary combinations, like writing across the curriculum, reading across the curriculum, and (one day soon I hope) computing across the curriculum.  There are inevitable conflicts and tensions among all of these variables, so not all can be combined and recombined equally, which leads to interesting complexity.

If skills and concepts to be taught are like the integers, educational ideas are closer to the reals.

It’s a great idea to try to inventory, index, and support search across all the available educational ideas on the Internet. I believe that there’s many, many more educational ideas to develop yet. We won’t be done with educational ideas as long as there are unique individuals to teach.

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