Thursday, November 07, 2013

Open Ed 13: Audrey Waters

"Audrey Watters is a journalist, a high school dropout, and a PhD dropout – though she did complete a Master’s degree in Folklore. As a freelancer writing about educational technology, her stories have appeared on NPR/KQED’s MindShift blog, in O’Reilly Radar, on Inside Higher Ed, in The School Library Journal, on ReadWriteWeb, and in the Edutopia blog."

The Education Apocalypse
 She said she was intimidated by following Gardner Campbell but felt that the bar was set lower by one of yesterday's presenters who never mentioned open education.

She opened with a quote from Yeats' "The Second Coming."
One of the dominate narratives of the education narrative is that we are in the End Times. She also quotes REM. She then discussed a televangelist's predictions of Judgement Day. It was a successful marketing campaign but not a good prediction.

She compared Kurzweil's vision of uploading our brains into computers with these visions and then referred to it as the "Rapture of the Nerds." (The Singularity=Rapture).

The End Times mythology permeates the discussions of education.

The founder of the Udacily predicts that there will only be 10 universites in the future.

The notion of "Disruptive Innovation" is also an apocalyptic myth. It is a truth, a sacred story that is unassailably true. "The Innovators Dilemma" is a sacred text. Everything gets labeled a disruptive innovation. Unexamined millenialism. The tech industry is a self-annointed disrupter.
The death of print, the web, the university, etc. We here this narrative in religious stories - there is the predictions of doom, end times, the destruction, then the heaven on earth.

The year 2000 had the apolcalypic myth of t Y2K bug. The year 2000 was a big year for End Times thining. If we believe that the world is about to end, how do we plan for education? Google's engineer believes in an apocalyptic vision of the Singularity. Others believe in Disruptive innovation.

Eschatology in computer error messages.

Harvard Business School's Clayton Christiansen discusses the "Church of New Finanace" - the high priests are the Business Professors like him. He gives an apocalyptic vision - education is doomed in public universities, private universities will be the salvation. It is inevitable - brick and mortar schools will be gone. He gives particular dates. It is about how to change business practices not how to change learning.

This is a move towards for-profit schools.

Why are we accepting these stories on faith? Why are we listening to these stories of education doom and salvation in the hands of tech and business instead of people?

[I think we believe gospels of Harvard Business School because we are a culture that values prestigious credentials rather than critical thinking.]
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