education's digital future

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Last August, OET helped to facilitate the first ever "Connected Educator Month," generating 90,000 hours of free online professional development and over a million Twitter impressions. Now read this illuminating report, "Learning With Connected and Inspired Educators," which analyzes what works in the new frontier of online PD.

I have heard some talk lately about how technology will disaggregate higher education. The vision is that the likes of Khan Academy and Coursera will allow students to pick and choose courses and learning experiences to construct their own higher education — thus, it is asked, “Why do we need colleges, universities and dedicated faculties?” The Valhalla of limitless choice and student-driven learning presages an education built “piece-wise”: A little of this and a little of that pulled from a vast smorgasbord of providers at little or no cost to the student.

Online education arguably came of age in the last year, with the explosion of massive open online courses driving the public's (and politicians') interest in digitally delivered courses and contributing to the perception that they represent not only higher education's future, but its present.

Faculty members, by and large, still aren't buying -- and they are particularly skeptical about the value of MOOCs, Inside Higher Ed's new Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology suggests.

Sitting on a stool and staring intently at a laptop screen, Jim Huang plucked out the melody of Happy Birthday and the rock song Circuital on a guitar – an instrument he was playing for the first time during a recent visit to The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, Calif.

The seventh grader was following the instructions of Strummify under the watchful eye of Danny Cochran, a student in Stanford's Learning, Design and Technology (LDT) master's program at Stanford Graduate School of Education (GSE).

One of the dirty secrets about MOOCs — massive open online courses — is that they are not very effective, at least if you measure effectiveness in terms of completion rates.

If as few as 20 percent of students finishing an online course is considered a wild success and 10 percent and lower is standard, then it would appear that MOOCs are still more of a hobby than a viable alternative to traditional classroom education.