An issue which sees heated arguments and intense polarization, is the issue of allowing mobile phones (and in general digital devices) to school. I explore some of the arguments for and against. Would love to hear your researched opinion!
It has taken a Black Swan moment to push governments, institutions, teachers, parents and students to consider online teaching and learning as a serious tool for traditional education. In this moment, our approach to edTech from a policy perspective has been exposed.
The last time we thought of Time in education was in the late 19th century, it seems. The online medium will cause us to rethink this conception of Time for many reasons.
A fundamental principle of teaching online is to establish our own online learning networks - consisting not only of our peers and experts across the world, but also of our students.
Think about it. The only way you know how to teach is in person, broadcasting your thoughts and knowledge, engaging in full view so to speak. Let me take that away from you, for a moment.
So this is what we have been told, right, that online learning is really taking your existing practices online - board teaching, presentations and shares, chat and forums. But that's not the truth.
Most teachers would approach the online medium very functionally i.e. a way to transfer ways of physical teaching, online. In this mode, we would be interested in how the medium can allow us to do things we normally do in the classroom. Tasks include: How can I take attendance?How can I write or present on... Continue Reading →
The COVID outbreak has created a fundamental shift in the way the traditional education system regards edTech. Here are the major shifts: Traditional Educational Institutions and all brick and mortar training organizations have had to ensure business continuity.Teachers have had no option but to bite the bullet and upskill themselves to take their classrooms onlineParents... Continue Reading →
The WhatIfs explored in this book cut across various dimensions of the traditional system. How do we structure time better to allow reflection, personalize learning, and pay personal attention? How do we structure groups so that they are porous or permeable and open to ideas, and interactions, emergent and collaborative, reflective of the abilities and... Continue Reading →
What flexibility do we need to provide our teachers and students so that learning effectiveness is improved? Is time an important factor? How can it be better leveraged? Can schedules be personalized per student or for smaller groups? Is Block Scheduling an option? Can children be guided on building their own personal and personalized learning... Continue Reading →
What impact does this grouping have on students and teachers? How do we determine grouping? Is it consciously designed and controlled by us? What does this grouping do to students and their parents? Are these group boundaries very hard? Are group boundaries porous? How do groups interact with each other? How do groups evolve over... Continue Reading →
When we can have differentiated career and interest options for children, why can't there be enough types of career profiles and options created for teachers? What if teachers and professionals could take on additional roles like the school Chief Technology Officer or Data Scientist or Head of Game based Learning and Assessments? What if teachers... Continue Reading →
Baxi has assembled a set of wonderful and seriously educative narratives through 12 reflective scenarios which are a response to simple looking but very difficult challenges to the education system itself. I am sure every concerned 'teacher' must be thinking of these questions. WhatIfEDU explores ideas, research, development, experiments and efforts to make the whole... Continue Reading →
WhatifEDU is a refreshing and timely work that stimulates the reader to rethink the present system of education. As we prepare for the 4th Industrial Age powered by computers that can learn, this is urgent. Many of the vestiges of a system designed for the previous Industrial Age have to be given up in our... Continue Reading →
A brilliant and thought provoking book that manages to start a conversation about the Holy Grail - our education system. Baxi raises pertinent questions regarding the traditional approaches and makes a strong case for providing an ecosystem that is evolving and relevant and that embraces diversity and creativity and acknowledges individual strengths and perspectives. With... Continue Reading →
WhatIfEDU is an excellent compilation of all the discussions, dialogues and tweets initiated and moderated by Baxi over the last couple of years. The "what if" questions are very relevant and so is the commentary, analysis and insight! Hopefully this book series is just a beginning of a discussion about the core education issues and... Continue Reading →
A superb compilation of simple, yet powerful thoughts and ideas to change the face of education. A must have tool kit for all Educators. Baxi’s powerful “out of the box” narrative provokes and provides educators with simple to implement strategies at their institutions. WhatIfEDU infuses a new lease of life into our rather stale state... Continue Reading →
Baxi has made an in-depth assessment of the global education landscape and effectively presented the diversity of innovation in this sector. WhatIfEDU makes us realize what has been missed and the opportunities that await us in the future. The lucid synthesis of the vast amount of data and best practices globally are eye opening and... Continue Reading →
Happy children make happy students. Laughter breaks the monotony and endears students to their teacher. What if teachers deliberately engaged in lighter moments of mirth in class?
The whole education system revolves around a hierarchical system of recognition - from teachers to students and certifying bodies to teachers and education boards to schools. What if we instead gave students the choice to certify teachers, for teachers to certify the certifiers, and for schools to certify the education boards, and perhaps the boards to certify government policies?
We know that no two students are alike. What if students were helped to identify their goals and given support to discover their next steps in reaching that goal?
In a rote learning environment, students end up virtually learning to the test, bounded by certain kinds of questions and 'approved' or closely scoped answers. Instead, what if part of the student's evaluation consisted on evaluating the quality of questions that she would come up with?
A hugely successful strategy for the early MOOCs was the practice of connecting diverse practitioners and experts on the subject, to the personal network of their 'students'
Teachers perhaps need to be an equal part performer who enact and 'live' the subject in their interactions with students.
A lot of teachers may benefit from professional coaching on specifically their language and communication skills.
What if teachers were to actively participate in the world of games? Perhaps they would be able to profile their students better, assess their learning needs from their actions and performance on these games, engage with them better in the language they understand and weave instruction around the game contexts?
Today's classrooms largely resemble a factory mode workroom with rows of desks and chairs (and rotation of children through the year across rows, seats and partners), and the teacher at the head of the room, between the instrument of written communication, the blackboard, and the rest of the class.
A school leader has to have many specialized skills in order to administer and lead a school.
The decisions around progression from year to year are made around marks or grades. Where people don't like marks, they move to a grading system - but it is really between those two - we need some system to sort the wheat from the chaff, to rank and select for the next level, and marks/grades look like the logical way.
Today we expect our student teachers to be exposed to the same systems, pedagogical practices and theoretical focus that we expect our students to follow. The system generates people trained to think in the ways of the system - that does wonders for an effort to replicate at scale, but doesn't create transformation patterns.
When we can have differentiated career and interest options for children, why can't there be enough types of career profiles and options created for teachers?
Today the student has no choice in determining which teacher she can relate to and learn from the best. What if students were allowed to gravitate towards, not the "best" as we determine them, but the ones that they comprehend best? Can schools provide that choice, even if it is limited?
So what if schools did not teach, but instead managed a network of smaller centres that were largely autonomously led by expert teachers and counselors?
What if we helped students identify and analyze their learning patterns, behaviour and showed them the impact changes can make to their performance?
In the absence of any formal mechanism, it is up to individual teachers to explore how their students are, and are performing - their attitudes, skills and knowledge.
Traditional classes or grade levels are divided into sections. Subject teachers are allocated to each section. Each section operates in isolation to the other.
What if we made teaching and learning process yield more data? This data would cover not just scholastic and co-scholastic information, but participation in class, techniques employed, student profiles, activities and other data of classroom transactions and student behaviour?
What if students could learn at the university, but the degree could be awarded by learned gurus, selected institutions or bodies or even employers and associations?
Many models of cooperative structures in education and other fields exist successfully.
Today, teaching in a college does not need the candidate to be certified in "teaching",
Tuition post-school hours has been looked down upon by the education system
What if homework was a starting point for achieving mastery through a series of learning and assessment encounters initiated by the student and facilitated by the teacher?
What would happen if children no longer had to follow an explicit curriculum?
What could be other forms of evidence that could help employers select the right employee for the job? Could we apply alternate criteria to all fields?
What if teachers were to create a guild to decide for themselves entry, performance objectives, progression and exit criteria for teachers, instead of it being decided by academic elites, bureaucrats and policy makers?
What if the were no mandated assessments by an education board?
What if students apprenticeship was implemented at scale and a significant fraction of total learning hours (say 10%)?
What if teachers spent 1 period a working day on sharing notes on classroom experiences, teaching strategies, learning edTech, special improvement projects, curriculum and professional development in small or large groups?
Does the education system exhibit increasing returns - the rich get richer, those that have get (more)?
4. What if students (and their parents & community) created their own curriculum instead of having no say in its construction & delivery? How would they know?
What if there were no boundaries around subjects and we had only topics or themes? What if the syllabus was not divided into Chapters and Topics?
What if the school was not divided into classes and classes were not divided into sections?
What if the timetable was personalized to the needs of the class?