In his thought-provoking Edge piece "The Impending Demise of the University," Don Tapscott explores that future of learning and the function of universities in a networked society:
Meanwhile on campus, there is fundamental challenge to the foundational modus operandi of the University — the model of pedagogy. Specifically, there is a widening gap between the model of learning offered by many big universities and the natural way that young people who have grown up digital best learn.
The old-style lecture, with the professor standing at the podium in front of a large group of students, is still a fixture of university life on many campuses. It's a model that is teacher-focused, one-way, one-size-fits-all and the student is isolated in the learning process. Yet the students, who have grown up in an interactive digital world, learn differently. Schooled on Google and Wikipedia, they want to inquire, not rely on the professor for a detailed roadmap. They want an animated conversation, not a lecture. They want an interactive education, not a broadcast one that might have been perfectly fine for the Industrial Age, or even for boomers. These students are making new demands of universities, and if the universities try to ignore them, they will do so at their peril.
Knowing how to work with information becomes more important than mastering subject matter content:
But now that students can obviously find the information they're looking for in an instant online in the crania of others online, this old model doesn't make any sense. It's not only what you know that really counts when you graduate; it's how you navigate in the digital world, and what you do with the information you discover. This new style of learning, I believe, will suit them.
Universities should be places to learn, not to teach.
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