Where is education going?
Being a teacher in today’s world is completely different from being a teacher before computers existed. One of the questions that people ask me the most is if I am scared that this job will disappear at one point because students will be able to find all the answers they need through the Internet. My answer to that question is no, I’m not scared at all. Why? Because I think my job, as a teacher, is to adapt my teaching methods to the students that are in front of me. If the students are interested in the Internet, I’ll be on the internet. If they want to have private lessons on Skype, I’ll give them. I think we can always find a way to get knowledge going from teachers to students. Keeping that in mind, the tool I wanted to talk about this week might be one step forward in the right direction.
The tool is called OpenStudy.
It basically allows students to go and ask teachers and other students from around the world questions about their school problems. The website divides the subjects into different categories. The students only need to log in the website and look for answers! They can either ask their own questions or go through the already-existing ones. As a future teacher, I went to the “English” section and I was able to answer some questions.
What is nice about it is that as a teacher, I could see what other teachers ask around the world about a specific topic. I could get ideas through the questions that were asked to the students.
Another thing I could do is that I could choose a question on the website that was already asked and tell my students to go and try to answer it. They could keep a little diary with the questions they answered about English. As Alexia Tsotsis mentioned on her blog, OpenStudy’s mission is basically to become the biggest group study of the world. No matter where you are and what you are studying, there is a possibility that somewhere out there, someone can answer your question. Now this is what I call cooperative learning!
When I first went on the website, it seemed that its general image was a little overcrowded and that maybe students would have difficulty to find THE answer/question that they are looking for and that if too many people participated, it would be hard to get all questions answered. However, according to this article, around 250 000 students visit the platform each month and the majority of questions are answered within five minutes.
Since it’s sometimes hard to motivate students to do well at school when they have about a thousand reasons to do something else than studying, OpenStudy created Catapult, a program according to which students can be sponsored by a member of their family. Together, they can set objectives and an amount of money given if their goal is achieved.
With ideas like this, I hope you now understand why I can’t be scared that teaching and education will disappear at one point. Of course, I’m convinced that its format will totally change, but I’m ready to change with it!