How Will Unis Change?

by Dr Davis on February 8, 2012

Harvard’s President Emeritus has some thoughts on that topic.

1. Education will be more about how to process and use information and less about imparting it. This is a consequence of both the proliferation of knowledge — and how much of it any student can truly absorb — and changes in technology. Before the printing press, scholars might have had to memorize “The Canterbury Tales” to have continuing access to them. This seems a bit ludicrous to us today. But in a world where the entire Library of Congress will soon be accessible on a mobile device with search procedures that are vastly better than any card catalog, factual mastery will become less and less important.

Point 2 is on collaboration.
Point 3 covers technology.
Point 4 discusses why active learning is on the rise.
Point 5 is on globalization.
Point 6 is on analysis of data.

Note that there is nothing here on reading, writing, or memorizing. Do we still need these things? Yes. Our students need to be able to read to access that information from the Library of Congress. Our students need to be able to write to collaborate permanently. Our students need to perhaps not memorize, but to understand concepts and be able to apply them, which sometimes requires memorization.

Overall I would say that the author is correct.

And I would also say that my university is on track for teaching our students all of these things.

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