Technology in education has to be embraced even if it will mean chaos in the beginning

Aug 4, 2013
Tecnologia na educação: Abraçar mesmo com o caos inicial. Falência do sistema educacional e impacto dos MOOCs.
The academic world reacts to technology and changes. It's a fact that finds examples in history. Just think about how the academy rejected impressionist artists, to name just one among many. Digital tools are being demonized because they threaten the academic status quo, which is more than needing to be reset.
Regardless of what the feudal lords say, it is necessary to insist on technology, even though it brings new problems and risks. We have no way out other than this. The educational system as we know it is bankrupt. The problem is global, but in countries with moral flexibility, so to speak, in what concerns the observation of the law, like Brazil, the bankruptcy is more evident than anywhere else.
Contrary to the Brazilian image abroad, any decent teaching professional knows that the vast majority of Brazilian higher education courses provide little more than semi-illiterate graduates to the market, incapable not only in the disciplines they studied, but also absolutely alien to any advancement in their fields of work.
The diploma as we know it also has its days numbered. Its function of attesting to an individual's ability in a certain activity has been completely lost (especially in some disciplines, like journalism) because of the disparity between the few centers of excellence and the rest turned the document into a piece of paper that only has effective value depending on the institution that issued it (and sometimes, not even that).
A dormant demand for education has always existed. The cost of education has always been responsible for outlining which portion of the population would have access to it. The Internet had a definitive impact in unlocking this cost limit, placing large amounts of information in contact with an audience until then blindfolded. The MOOCs were only a formatting of this informational avalanche for the educational environment. They not only will not disappear but will, whether the defenders of traditional academia want it or not, replace most of the educational flows on the planet.
Since always, the portion of university professors who liked to teach undergraduate courses was small. Teaching undergraduates does not give the academic the status he wants to have from his peers. This intellectual vanity can also be helped, as universities, which certainly will not cease to exist, will be able to reinforce their research vocation, while digital teaching will gain space in undergraduate education in a large number of disciplines (those that do not require physical installations).
The MOOCs will make a difference and will destabilize the business model of education in developed and developing countries, but it is in the underdeveloped economies where they will have a gigantic impact. The vertiginous fall in the cost of web access and the development of smaller and cheaper processors will bring the possibility of study to at least 2 billion people (especially in Asia) who are off the pre-Internet cost curve.
In countries like Brazil, where the authorities' oversight of the quality of education is nonexistent, MOOCs will function as a "filter" where only colleges that bring real benefit have the condition to compete. All the problems that technology will bring - decrease in contact with the teacher, fraud, decrease in the ability to concentration, among others - must be accepted and faced for two reasons: first because it will be worth it; second, because it is a path without return. Academics and teachers would do better to embrace the idea and try to find solutions to the new problems than to keep whining about a "quality" that only exists in their heads for decades.

© Cassiano Gobbet 2023 - 2024