Giving people access to didactic lectures by a handful of elite professors at a handful of elite institutions is not the most important educational technology in the last 200 years. Not even close. Sure, it’s good. It’s fantastic that I can have access to the lectures and resources of some of the biggest and most famous institutions. Awesome.
But the most important ed tech in two centuries? Bull. Shit.
Villemard, 1910 À l’ École
I’d say the personal computer is the biggest ed tech innovation. Followed by the internet. Followed by software and tools that let students create. And explore. And collaborate. And share. Waaaaaay down the list… MOOCs1.
Parrotting the “MOOCs are the most awesome education innovation since, like, EVER!” line is harmful. It implies that nothing important has changed in centuries. It glosses over the last 40 years or so of truly radical and transformative innovation (although I’ll be the first to say that ed tech isn’t always – or even often – implemented in a radical way). And ignores some pretty significant chapters in the history of education.
So. Yeah. Hurray for MOOCs. But also hurray for all of the other incredible advances that have been developed over the last several decades in order to enable MOOCs and other initiatives doomed to be co-opted by corporate branding efforts and their need to rewrite history to make them THE MOST IMPORTANT INNOVATIONS SINCE, LIKE, EVER!
- Massively Open Online Courses. Started out with folks like Stephen Downes, George Siemens, Dave Cormier etc… before getting sucked into the hype factory and becoming Buzzword of the Year for 2012 as EdX, Coursera, etc… hop on the bandwagon [↩]