Thursday, June 28, 2012

Time and space for learning

In our analytical mind we tend to separate, dissect, and categorize phenomena that is complex and transcends simple definitions, as important things are. One of those is learning, so many books have been written about it and have tried to, and to so some extent have accomplished, describe the steps and conditions in which learning take place. For me learning about the realm of hard sciences, within which the basic understanding of how the "world" works is so fundamental that represents the only way to find the elements necessary to move forward in what appears to be an incoming pedagogical revolution. Specially in higher education. This applies directly to the interaction between the teacher and the pupil. In the old tradition instruction takes place synchronously in what we call the classroom. Today with cyberspace being part of our reality synchronicity evolves into a new meaning. And asynchronous teaching starts to make not only sense in the economic world but in the pedagogical arena. One example of this is Khan Academy which has received support from Microsoft's Bill Gates and it is creating a new paradigm in transmission of information. So the challenge for higher ed is how to create an environment where information is assimilated at the same time (as it has been the objective so far) develop in the student the ability and skill to solve problems by critically thinking about the circumstances and relationships related to the issue. Not only for the short term, of course, but more important for the long term in the understanding that the solution will affect society as a whole. 

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