How to Improve Education with Video
As we’ve seen, video is amazingly versatile. It’s used in entertainment, business, marketing, training, and many other areas. It’s even used with cell phones and body cameras to document incidents ‘on the street’ that document one’s innocence or guilt. However this blog will focus on video’s role in the future of education.
As we can probably agree, education is the most important ingredient that determines whether or not we will be successful in life. The great news is that the increased use of video to disseminate education is democratizing the acquisition of knowledge, allowing increased numbers of people to obtain more and more education in a cost effective way. This is primarily due to the fact that video allows learning materials to be accessible to many more students than the traditional teacher in the classroom approach.
Don’t worry. Teachers won’t become obsolete. Someone needs to turn on the computers! Just kidding. Teachers are necessary because students will inevitably have questions and will need to be guided along the process of learning. But once students are trained to access video and computer programs, they will be empowered and enabled to learn on their own in the classroom or even in the comfort of their home.
That brings up another benefit of video learning. Students will no longer need to gather at a centralized location to obtain an education. Satellites will be able to transmit the data into their homes, adobes, huts or wherever they live, even in the most remote parts of the world.
Of course there is a downside to isolated learning. The socialization that occurs among students is particularly important to their development But if they wouldn’t have been able to attend a centralized school anyway, no one is taking away any in-person opportunities, since they wouldn’t have been there in the first place.
Students are still able to practice their interpersonal skills in their village or neighborhood. And if there is a centralized learning center or school they can attend, all the better. But at least they will have an opportunity to gain knowledge and have a chance to succeed in this world.
As with any innovation, there are pluses and minuses to this approach to learning. One of the pluses and negatives of students learning from video played through their computer or cell phones is that everyone will obtain the same information. One benefit of sameness is the increased potential for the information to be taught correctly, as opposed to what a teacher’s interpretation might be.
For instance, I helped tutor foreign students attending Second Language classes who thought that they knew English pretty well, because they had attended English classes in their native country for years. However some students quickly became aware that their teacher(s) in their home countries were teaching them incorrectly. So they had to unlearn the incorrect education they received and learn things the correct way. So the benefit of standardization is that there ‘should be’ a consensus about the curriculum and people presumably get the correct information.
However, there are disadvantages and dangers of standardized learning. As they say, history belongs to those who write it. In other words, what if things are left out of the history videos due to the bias of the producers of the content? And what if there becomes one standard interpretation of history that is taught throughout the country, or world for that matter?!
The answer to those questions is that the same danger exists now, only with books and other materials. The good news is that since these videos will be broadcast and available to be seen by others, including critics of the content, there could be greater checks and balances regarding the material that is taught.
The bottom line with the concern about an Orwellian world coming to pass is that we have that danger now with books, with everyone being ‘brainwashed’ to learn certain things in certain ways. However, video will open up the process and make the content known to more and more people who will scrutinize and critique the content. And this is probably a very good thing!