MOOC – Week 2

So this week’s topic has included a lot of interesting videos about the future of technology. The possibilities really are endless, but some of the examples in the videos were mind boggling. Imagine a world where everything is made of a special glass that enables the user to touch and manipulate everything from the car dashboard, to the tabletop surface, to the windows and walls of a building. It’s crazy to think how the world would change with this sort of technology. What we focused on last week was how far we’ve come with technology and whether it’s creating a utopic or dystopic outlook, but now think how far it can go into the future and then what that would create. In all the videos, it seemed that technology would be increasingly important, to the point where people were hardly interacting directly and even where technology was seamlessly integrated into humans’ lives. The “Sight” video where humans wore special contact lenses with the technology to see all the screens and be connected to the internet via your pupils, is insane.

No matter what the future of technology looks like, I’m sure it’s bound to have an enormous impact on education. Going back to the discussion of whether technology determines human action or vice versa, I can see how technology does really control our lives and I think it’s because of it that we continue to develop newer and better technologies. There are many useful applications of all of this, but there also comes a point when the technology runs our lives. The videos from this week showed us that.

I liked the article this week that focused on what MOOCs can and are doing for education at this moment. Though they aren’t perfect solutions to the problems of educating people nor are they replacements of higher education institutions, they do at least expand the availability of knowledge to groups who previously wouldn’t have had access to it. In a way, I believe they will be a catalyst of change in the way that colleges are run and who is able to attend college. I had forgotten that this happened in the music industry only recently and I’m just hoping that it will produce the same effect for higher education. So, in this way, technology might actually be a liberator of sorts. Including the current MOOC and all of its discussions. I know there are some drawbacks to having such a large class and obviously it’s not a substitute learning environment, but one is still able to gain a lot from the experience–if only from bits and pieces. This course, however, is reliant on discussion whereas there are plenty of requisite courses in college in which pure lecturing and memorizing would be possible through an online medium. I think a useful solution would be that smaller, in person discussions could facilitate more of the learning that these MOOCs provide. I must say I wish I had people here (especially in my school) with whom I could engage, hash out ideas and grapple with these interesting topics.

A lot of comments about this course are all about how the newest technologies that become available will be too expensive for lower classes and will thus create more of a divide. This might be true, but right now the internet is actually making knowledge that was once elite available to all people. I could envision how in many ways the technologies of the future will level the class playing field. Participating in this online course has already gotten me excited about this possibility.

1 Comment

  1. Technology has some parallels with public health and herd immunity. Ie, unless a substantial portion of an entire society achieves a level of immunity, even those who have been vaccinated are at risk. The glass videos run up against a similar problem… unless there is massive adoption across economic strata, the economies of scale necessary to produce a glass classroom are impossible for all but the very very very top. It would be like avoiding the flu by like moving into a biohazard lab and being fully self sufficient until the flu risk had passed.


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