See my previous post to make sense of this. I’ve just had a Shiraz with the Sony MD Ray Maguire. He’s actually got a lot of what modern education is about and, if not, is prepared to listen. What happened on stage was something a fair number of people in the public had picked up on but not something he had intended at all.
Ray actually shares a lot of the values I hold for teaching and learning. He was able to listen, taken on board and moderate what I was suggesting learning was about: collaboration, students creating products/content which they share and which they rip, remix and learn from. He sees his tools as helping that process along, and I think they already do – big time.
But what came across from his contributions to the industry panel and what he has just chatted through with us are chalk and cheese, 360 degrees different (oops, sorry, wrong company).
He did infer that knowledge transmission is a central part of education, something perhaps his company could help provide. He also sees Sony doing this in a fun way – the Sony entertainment business is all about fun. It did take some explaining, though, to push home the idea that content and filling learners with knowledge ‘stuff’ is not the lion’s share of learning. This is where he met us in the middle and shared our passions for collaboration, students creating products/content which they share and which they rip, remix and learn from.
He did reinforce the idea that teachers, one day, might be made obsolete by machines which are faster, better, more in tune with learners’ needs than teachers of today might be. This because of the exponential speed, memory and RAM capabilities of modern computer tech, again, something with which I have reconciled.
But, for me, this is still pie in the sky. It’s the reason I don’t work for Sony. It’s the reason I still see my place as helping teachers understand technologies in a frustratingly retrospective fashion, because machines will never be able to replace teachers or, more importantly, parents.
To get all Darwin on you, I do believe in the survival of the fittest, but in this race I also believe in the survival of humility, humanity and emotion. I just don’t believe – through ignorance of what is possible, no doubt – that relative handfuls of programmers will convince the masses that an emotional, humility-filled human computer will replace the love for learning and passion of cause of a human being, the teacher.
Then again, no-one would have placed their money on two nerds from Harvard taking over the internet…
btw - graphic from the latest xBox 360 (Microsoft) game.