A conversation with Graham Glass about the future of education

This week’s podcast is a conversation with Graham Glass, a software veteran who’s self-funding the development of edu 2.0, a web-based educational support system. It seems like a big change from Graham’s previous projects: ObjectSpace Voyager, The Mind Electric’s Glue and Gaia, webMethods Fabric. But not really, says Graham. It’s always been about the reuse of components, whether they’re software objects or learning objects.

Graham and I share a passion for project-based learning, and in the podcast he refers to an EdVisions video on that subject which you can find here. I also (again) referenced the extraordinary talk by John Willinsky which I discussed and linked to here.

I know that technologists always say that the latest inventions are going to revolutionize education, and I know that mostly hasn’t been true. Still, I can’t help but think that we’re on verge of a dramatic overhaul of education, and that systems like the one Graham is building will play a key role in enabling that to happen.

10 Comments

  1. Jon, I’m afraid that technology is pretty much irrelevant to true education.

    What’s needed is rather radical: to throw away the past 100 years of public education dumbing-down and work with students on an individual, tutorial basis, each at his own speed, dealing with the most interesting subjects (which aren’t math and science). Technology still can play a small part here with the more cut-and-dried subjects (math/science), but the most important issues of life can’t be dealt with technically, viz., What is Man and What is he doing on earth? For that you really need to start with Aristotle and work forward.

    For one of (or perhaps) the most powerful critiques of modern education see John Taylor Gatto, NY State Teacher of the Year, 1990, “The Underground History of American Education”. (You can find it at http://www.johntaylorgatto.com .) Dynamite.

  2. Hi Chris,

    In the interview, we spend quite a bit of time talking about our mutual liking for project-based learning, which is what you mention in your own post. I think that computers can play an important role in facilitating project-based learning on a large scale. The podcast provides some details on this matter.

    Cheers,
    Graham

  3. Jon,

    I’m glad to see you’re keeping the podcasts. Do you have a feed with enclosures for them?
    (I wouldn’t want to miss one)

    Thanks,
    Jason

  4. The problem with education and technology is as much about problems with educators as anything else. Oh sure there has been a lot of crappy “educational” software but the real problem is that teachers don’t know how to use what they do have. All too many don’t even want to learn either.

  5. Very interesting podcast. I am still listening, but I think the approach Graham is taking is wonderful. Using technologies to support project-based learning is a very powerful model. This is true across all levels of education. As you discuss assessment and evaluation are critical to the process.

    Jon, I would like to invite you to a web service that I have been working on. Email me if you are interested in checking it out.

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