In this post I am going to look at autodidacticism as this is something which greatly expands on the context and history of self teaching and it is very much applicable in the digital age of how we inform and educate ourselves. Therefore much can be gained from researching autodidacticism as it has direct links to my study.
I am going to discuss autodidacticism based on my findings from the above page. Although much of Wikipedia is questionable, I think that in certain instances, and this is one of them, Wikipedia can undoubtedly suffice for the task at hand. Furthermore my study advocates the use and awareness of encouraging platforms like Wikipedia because they are able to provide information by convenience like no other can. Therefore at a time like this when I’m using Wiki’s to gain an overview of a topic and a basic understanding which will help in what proceeds, this is a justified and wise choice. Yes, if i wished to explore this concept further and develop greater knowledge on the matter I would expand my sources and triangulate my material. This however is not always the best choice to make and understanding this is pivotal within my study.
So, autodidacticism is the act of self directed learning about a subject where the person has received little to no formal education. This was a term which was developed centuries ago where education was not as common and therefore self teaching was more of a choice to many individuals. Many notable contributions by have been made to society by autodidacticists through their own venture to enhance their knowledge.
Within education autodidacticism can be a frame for encouraging students to take their own initiative to direct their learning. However, this is something which students of higher education find themselves practicing, mostly at university where students have more independence to control their learning experience. Students at school however partake in a curriculum which is aimed at a wide group. lessons and content are taught as one and the way students work is. The teaching is congealed as a singular method which does not encourage autonomy but rather dictates the learning. The article below expands on this point extremely well and provides a great discussion on why the classroom education is outdated and does not fully utilise the possibilities that digital media encompasses.
Vivek Wadhwa identifies the change in education by claiming that “Today, the blackboard has become a whiteboard; chalk has become a magic marker; the slates that students used have been replaced by notebooks; and classes have sometimes gotten smaller. ” (Wadhwa 2015).
However, little else has changed and education does not embrace digital technology as it should. Wadhwa recognises that some schools provide students with laptops and tablets with teachers using technology to direct their teaching. The issue is that they are implementing digital devices, but their teaching methods are the same – dictating learning.
This does not encourage innovation. It encourages passive and repressed activity. The current model of education better reflects the needs of a requirement of factory workers that have to perform set tasks within set teams and meet set targets. Wadhwa furthers this argument by arguing that “If we want to train a group of people to obey orders and not think for themselves, then we should continue with traditional education” (Wadhwa 2015). Current teaching encourages its students to follow a set of guidelines which restrict their creativity, innovation, communication and problem solving skills.
Despite this, a revolution in education is possible. A transformation of the way teaching is delivered where we see the computer replace the role of the teacher with the latter guiding them through as students take responsibility for their own learning. Technology, specifically the Internet can transfer more knowledge than a human can. Wadhwa says that if a student prefers reading and lecture based teaching, a digital teacher could deliver material through ebooks and videos. If the student does not perform best to traditional academic methods, they can learn through games, puzzles and holographic simulations. The teacher should teach their students core values such as integrity, teamwork, respect and commitment whilst the students themselves take ownership of their education through the Internet and technological software and applications.
Wadhwa makes the following points which re very useful in developing on what has been said above.
- Giving students some control of their learning is the key to engagement. Whilst that sounds simple, in fact it requires a moonshot, because schools of education train teachers to always maintain control. They are worried that they will be evaluated on “loss of control” in their classes and they do not want to take a risk.
- Mastery of learning is also important. Children need an opportunity to redo assignments until they learn the material. Some people take longer than others to learn, but that does not mean that they are inferior or cannot learn. Grades can be an inhibiting factor: students who get a bad grade don’t want to do the assignment again; they get discouraged. But if they just get the corrections, with instructions to revise (the same instructions everyone else gets), they will do the work. They all want to succeed.
- This methodology can be used in all subject areas. If students were given as little as 10 percent of the time to work on a project of their choosing, they would be more excited about learning the subject matter. Wojcicki says that 50 percent of the time should be dedicated to blended learning.
I think Wadhwa puts forward a very bold argument here by essentially saying that the current education system is redundant. Whilst some of the points that are made are very valid, they are extremely opinionated with little material to back uo the claim. That being said there is a strong identification of the fact that technology is being implemented rather than used as the primary method of students’ education and this is a problem. Again this is opinionated, however I am inclined to agree with this and I think this article is spot on in its general argument. The structure of the way education is delivered should be more tuned to a laissez faire system which enables the students choice. It is this choice that will prevail and create individuals who posses far superior skills.
As I have previously discussed in my research, the way the education curriculum incorporates the Internet in its learning is extremely important. Susan Greenfield has recently published a lot of new material which focuses on our mental plasticity and claims that our brains restructure and acclimatise to their change in environmnet. We are experiencing a big change in our transition between mediums which sees us explore a new mode of thinking and working. However education does not wholly embrace this concept and the structure of early teaching is falling behind the surge of technology.
Wadhwa puts forth very intriguing points which argue that education requires a complete overhaul where the Internet is implemented at the heart of student education. This is a very bold statement to make but rightly or wrongly the discussion Wadhwa puts forth is extremely important to consider. It is very current and relevant to the problems I have previously discussed and this concept of online learning and the way education is delivered is at the very forefront of my study.
Wadhwa, V. (2015) ‘Here’s How We Can Reinvent the Classroom for the Digital Age’.
SingularityHUB. [online] Available at: http://singularityhub.com/2015/04/09/heres-how-we-can-reinvent-the-classroom-for-the-digital-age/ [Accessed on 30/06/15]
Wikipedia. (2015) ‘Autodidacticism’. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autodidacticism [Accessed on 30/06/15]