Future of Learning Top Reads for week of Nov 5 2018

Photo by  Ron Smith  on  Unsplash

Photo by Ron Smith on Unsplash

“Penn to offer Ivy League's first online bachelor's degree,” by James Patterson, on EducationDive

“The University of Pennsylvania will become the first Ivy League college to offer an online bachelor's degree with the launch of an interdisciplinary program next fall aimed at working adults and other nontraditional learners.”

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

About 20 years ago, MIT started putting much of its curriculum online through OpenCourseWare. About 10 years ago, EdX, Coursera, and Udacity were born. About 5 years ago, Global Online Academy, One Schoolhouse, and the Jesuit School Virtual Network emerged.

For the longest time, people talked about the lack of fidelity in those experiences, and the lack of true brand power in credentials from MOOCs (massive open online courses).

But quietly, in the last five years, elite schools like MIT, Harvard, Georgia Tech, Stanford, and others have been introducing online graduate degree or certificate programs.

And then Global Online Academy and One Schoolhouse partnered with recognized independent schools for credentials that make a real difference in college admissions.

Now Penn is staking claim to the first undergraduate Ivy League degree.

As William Gibson said, the future is already here; it’s just not evenly distributed.


“Six Reasons Not To Get Excited About The New SAT Scores,” by Peter Greene, on Forbes

“Both this year and last, we’ve been told that the free Khan Academy tutorials have boosted SAT scored tremendously. The point is supposed to be that getting coached to a good SAT score is no longer a privilege of the rich, but is available for free to anyone (with an internet connection). The boosters are so excited about the Free To Everyone point that they seem to miss the other part of what they’re saying—the SAT measures how well the student has been coached to take the SAT. We could talk about the ways that the test favors students from a particular socio-economic background, but in many ways that’s part of the same point—the SAT measures SAT-taking skills.”

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

Standardized tests are for three things:

  • ranking students

  • sorting students

  • making money for the makers of the tests and test prep companies

Standardized tests do the first two things pretty poorly (the only thing with which they strongly correlate is socioeconomic status).

They do the third thing quite well.

And that should tell you everything you need to know about standardized tests.

In the future, learning will not be about ranking and sorting students, but about maximizing each learner’s potential.


Paul Turnbull, President of Mid-Pacific Institute in Hawaii, recently posted this on LinkedIn:

“Mid-Pacific dual certificate student in Dance and Technology (our high school version of double major) creates VR dance experience using one of our motion capture suits. She is 17, crushing the girls-in-STEM stereotype, dances at a conservatory level, and knows how to choreograph for XYZ axes and 6-degrees of freedom in VR. Her finished project will show her dancing on NYC streets and subway stations.”

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

Here is the video he references.

Please watch it.

If you’re an educator, you’ll appreciate why this is a powerful example of learning that will prepare kids for the future, not the past.


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Christian Talbot