This post is a bPortfolio reflection for chapter two of How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns.
The second chapter How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns was especially educational. The Learning with Technology course is the first and only course I’ve taken in the area of education. Therefore, this chapter provided a wealth of information about America’s education system. I learned about the birth of American education, influenced by Thomas Jefferson and Noah Webster (l. 1028), and a cursory of the No Child Left Behind Act (l. 1176). One of the most interesting aspects of the chapter is Christensen’s arguments and evidence for four different “jobs” the education system has been tasked with over the years. First, teaching and preserving the US democracy (l. 1025), second providing an individual curricula for each student (l. 1044), third educating to keep America relevant with a strong work force (l. 1108), and finally eliminating poverty (l. 1175). Christensen highlights each of these goals with comparisons to organizations with disruptive innovations. This chapter provides a great overview of the historical purpose of education, the way schools adapt to new pressures the constant change in what constitutes success (l. 1015-1016), and the impact of computer-based learning as the disruptive innovation to better the education system (l. 1218-1227).
As someone new to the world of education, the summary in the previous paragraph sets the stage to for my reflection. Though America’s education system began with small roots and with immediate opposition because of taxes (l. 1038), it has grown into a necessary monster: A monster that requires significant per student funding (l. 1102-1103) and where success is measured by standardized tests (l. 1176-1178). It is a necessary monster because it has four crucial jobs to continue to do (l. 1181-1182). These jobs seem important to education, but I wonder if the schools should be doing them alone? Furthermore, should schools be focusing on all of them to begin with? Is there another organization that might be better-equipped or more agile to take on eliminating poverty, for example? Trimming back trees allow them to grow better, especially if there are dead branches that might infect other parts of the tree. Can we trim back certain areas of the education system to allow for better growth in other areas?
I am on the edge of my chair waiting to hear how computer-based learning can be the necessary disruptive innovation to the educational system. In my current role I always strive to find the cheapest best tool or service to recommend to students to enhance a project or provide necessary support for a presentation. College students are busy juggling and need effective supporting tools to gain focus. These tools should allow student to spend a majority time applying their learning, not learning how to use the interface or struggling to important video footage. If something needs an extensive manual, maybe it isn’t intuitive enough and needs to be reborn from the ground up. When I recommend tools to students I want them to be easy to use and help the student, not frustrate them and slow down their topic of research and/or application. This might mean using a variety of tools to do different tasks and not relying on one tool to do everything.
I was frustrated with the Kindle experience this week. I decided to read on the iPad instead of the computer. I was slowed down by how tedious it is to highlight text on the iPad. With a paper book I grab a highlighter and highlight, a very simple process. However, the iPad requires you to press on the glass and hold your finger still. Then when the prompt appears drag your finger to the end. Then click “highlight” in the contextual box. Any deviation from this set workflow cancels the highlight process, forcing one to start over again. It was ironic thinking about easy and simple tools for college students to enhance their learning process, in response to the chapter, as highlighting on the iPad was slowing down my reading. Technology should strive to get out of the way of the experience, whatever it is. My advice to Apple and Amazon is to create a better experience more akin to highlighting paper. I should be able to run my finger over once and it should highlight. It seems that while the iPad excels in many areas, it is still an infant in proving a great reading experience where one needs to annotate.
Christensen, Clayton., Michael Horn., & Curtis Johnson. (2010). Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns. (2nd ed.). n.p. McGraw-Hill. Kindle Edition.