Why We Need a New EdTech Vocabulary

What is the opposite of scale?

June 24, 2014

This is a blog about technology.

But really, I don’t care about technology.

Technology is a tool.  We use technology to achieve the things that we really care about.

I’m not even sure if technology is a very good means.  

Technology is good for bringing things to scale, but authentic learning does not scale.  Rather, authentic learning requires the opposite of scale.  

I’ve been struggling with the words to put learning in the context of relationships.  To express the idea that the best learning happens when the educator knows the learner as an individual, and vice versa.  

The idea of “intimate learning” is the best I’ve been able to come up with, but I wish I had better language to express this concept.  Can you help?

We can think of plenty of examples where technology can aid in learning at scale.  MOOCs and adaptive learning platforms will certainly raise the floor on a large number of skills.  

But the real value will continue to come from learning opportunities that involve an educator working directly with a student.  

The more intimate the learning the more valuable it will be.  

Where can we leverage technology to aid intimate learning?

How do we develop a vocabulary around technology where it aids traditional, non-scaled (intimate?) learning?

Why do we seem to have such a big disconnect between educators that believe in the hands-on / relational approach and the larger ed tech community?


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