What people consider AdvancedConcepts
are rarely taught up front to most students, or at all for that matter, due to the awe that people unfamiliar with them hold them in. The problem with leaving them till later is that advanced concepts are usually paradigmatic. So they have to be taught at the same time, or even before, much simpler concepts to avoid encouraging misconceptions and misunderstanding.
For example, witness what happened in QuantumPhysics
when the educationocracy decided to forego teaching the fact that all matter is made up of non-linear waves to schoolchildren and undergrads alike, the travesty that is billiard-ball thinking in the 21st century!
Education is largely conceived as the inculcation of irrelevant skills and arbitrary facts. Its actual value is measured in the advanced concepts which students learn. The simple concepts don't count obviously. Most education systems teach few, if any, advanced concepts.
Sources that teach advanced concepts:
On the democratization of learning
- Il était une fois ... le corps humain. (Once upon a time, there was ... the human body.) A French animated series that taught advanced concepts in human biology.
- The Private Life of Plants (the whole series of series) teaches advanced concepts in natural history.
Regarding educational TV; it seems to me that the Internet is a bigger "threat" than TV. Producing worthwhile TV content is expensive--even today. Last I checked, there was nothing on my cablesystem providing televised lessons in Smalltalk--perhaps The Software Channel just hasn't come to my area. :(
The internet as it is today doesn't have the collaborative or organizing capability to displace mainstream education. It doesn't even have it as a potential. So not only is it a terrible cliche that the Internet will replace the classroom but it's false to boot. It would take something that's at least as much of an advance over wikis as wikis are over gopher. I'm working on it.
[So are hundreds if not thousands of other researchers (who actually have something to show for their efforts). Modern distance learning tools are actually quite advanced--though they don't replace the physical classroom yet. (They're certainly far better than a non-interactive, non-collaborative, one-way, and linear medium such as television.) -- not sure this is from JT]
I'd argue that the technology already exists: it's called the public library (complete with interlibrary loan and the research desk). Unfortunately, very few people use it to its full potential. Almost anything you get in college, you can get in the library (the exception might be some hardcore math and science textbooks, as libraries often don't have enough of them to get a decent understanding. But interlibrary loan helps a lot here). When you add in Amazon.com and CiteSeer
, you can get a full university education without ever stepping foot in a university (academically, at least. The university experience has other non-academic benefits). But very few people are willing to take that much initiative. -- jt
And that is why my contribution to remaking education will surpass all those other researchers combined. Because I understand what it's all about. The books. -- rk
Will you do this before or after you finish BlueAbyss
I'd take that question far more seriously if it didn't come from an elitist anti-intellectual who likely feels threatened by the democratization of learning.
You forgot the smiley. At any rate, the democratization of learning is, to me, a good thing. The biggest obstacles to it (in my view) are, a) various vested interests who find it financially attractive to hold the keys to the kingdom themselves (the academic publishing industry comes to mind--CiteSeer
is one of the best things to happen to academia in the last twenty years), and b) many
people have no interest in learning anything beyond what is necessary to get a suitable job that pays the bills. If you want to learn, there are many ways to do it. Being in PortlandOregon
, I have Powells nearby, which helps a lot (though the amount of money I spend there annoys my wife, I think). But the pipe dream that some have of an entire population full of intellectuals is unlikely to come to pass. (Not claiming that you share that particular vision).
[Goldhaber has some interesting things to say about the future of learning. I also interpret the shift from books to the net to mean a shift from knowledge to understanding. http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue9_6/goldhaber/index.html