How Would You Answer These 9 Reimagine Education Questions?

Your turn.

December 8, 2015

Congratulations. You are at a conference. You’ve been asked to do a 15 minute video interview. You have been given the questions before the interview. How would you answer?

This is not theoretical. 

I about an hour I will be trying to answer the following questions (on camera) at the Reimagine Education 2015 Conference.

Below are the questions that I was provided - as well as how I think I will answer them.

This would be better if I had written my answers in time to incorporate your ideas.

How would you answer these questions?

Question 1:  Please introduce yourself including your current and previous roles?

Hi. I’m Josh Kim. I work at the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL) with a team of educators on digital learning initiatives. In a past life I was a full-time faculty member (non tenure-track alas), teaching residential and online classes (I’m a sociologist by training). I’ve also helped to start and run 3 different online programs at 3 different organizations.

Question 2:  What recent advancement has in your opinion reimagined/revolutionized education, and why?

If there is one thing that the educational research clearly and consistently demonstrates, it is that the most successful long-term results for students occur when they are able to develop close relationships with their faculty.

Education is a relational activity.  The challenge is that many people are trying to bring education to scale.  The reasons for this push to scale are based on either saving or making money.

If we want to reimagine and revolutionize education we should accept that the most powerful personalized and adaptive learning platform ever invented is an experienced and well-supported educator.

Question 3:  What is the biggest challenge facing the education sector?

Our biggest challenge is finding the will and the resources to empower our educators.

Supporting our educators means many different things.

It means giving our faculty the security, autonomy, and compensation that these highly skilled and mission driven professionals deserve.

It also means surrounding our educators with collaborators and partners, such as librarians and instructional designers, to take advantage of new methods and new technologies to enable these faculty to reach their teaching and learning goals.

Today, we can take advantage of opportunities in new teaching methods such as blended and online learning.  We should remember, however, that these efforts should start with the goals and needs of the educator teaching the class.  That any technologies or resources that we do bring to these new teaching methods should be in the service of this relational model of learning.

Question 4: Is there an innovation/idea/movement/methodology that excites you in terms of the future of education?

Yes. A liberal arts education.

A liberal arts education is based on the idea that the most important part of an education is learning how to learn.

In our liberal arts schools we explicitly focus on developing skills in communication and collaboration.  Integrity, self-reliance, and independence of thought are all essential elements to a liberal arts education.  A comfort with risk taking, and the ability to make a positive impact on our community’s and the world.

These will be the skills that will be essential in the cognitive economy of the 21st century.

Question 5:  The world is changing fast with new careers being created every day. Most students will change jobs multiple times throughout their careers. What advice do you have for the current and next generation ? what should students do to remain competitive in an increasingly complex global economy?

Same answer as the previous question. Get a liberal arts education.

I worry that both the market and our culture is pushing students away from a liberal arts education.

There is too much of a focus on the income of a first job, and not enough focus on lifetime economic and social outcomes.

When we take a long view, liberal arts graduates excel at every measure of economic and personal success.

I also worry that a quality liberal arts degree is increasingly out of reach for all but the most talented and privileged in our society.

We need to do whatever we can to increase access to a liberal arts education.

Question 6:  What does education mean to you?

My education has given me everything.  Through my education I found both my passion (innovation in higher education), and the skills and networks to contribute to hopefully making a difference in what I care about most.

I also met my wife in grad school.  We should not discount the assortative mating role that postsecondary and graduate education can play.

Question 7:  What motivates/drives you?

Our older daughter will start college next year. Our younger daughter the year after that.

Doing whatever I can so that my kids have a relational based education experience is an incredible motivator.

Technology can, and should, have a role to play in a liberal arts relational based learning model. The challenge is to figure out how to leverage technology appropriately to meet our larger educational goals.

Question 8:  If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

Speed reading with retention.

Question 9:  What is your motto?

Learning is a relationship.



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