Thursday, 9 January 2014

'The degree is doomed'

I've been saying to Shark, Tiger and Squirrel for a while that - all things considered - I'm not expecting la famille Grit to come busting out from home education at age 16 with your conventional 10 A* GCSE exam set (x3).

Frankly, the rate I'm going, we'll be lucky if we manage one IGCSE grade between the lot of us. Not because my kid brains aint brite, but I am having awful difficulty finding a local exam centre.

Then half of me thinks, feck it, why don't we give up on the IGCSE exam route; I could direct the kids straight to A levels at college and see if we can by-pass the conventional curriculums. Let's continue picking through the subjects our way - fish; more fish; looking at rocks; reading; drawing horses; stitching orange peel together; talking about the world; walking in woods; music in the year 1445. Some good will come out of this eclectic set, no mistake.

Of course this strategy of going straight to A levels to some extent depends on how open-minded and forward thinking is our local college.

But I can reassure them. We can all watch the educational world changing right now as we live it.

For a start there are the online MOOCs, and if you are not taking one of these, you should. Know the educational landscape. Accreditation is a step away, requiring a remote admin structure to monitor a student; an additional step of submitted work; a procedure to confirm an identity; and your credit card.

Then study a range of MOOCs lasting three years or more, and potentially you have a degree, taken online, sourced from a dozen universities, all accredited: a portfolio higher education, chosen to match your existing expertise, professional experiences, amateur interests, practical skills.

So why follow that conventional slave route of 10 GCSEs, 4 A levels, and one very expensive degree culminating in 30,000 pounds of debt? It's a well-travelled road that makes less and less sense.

Which is why, as Shark, Squirrel and Tiger start to sign up for their 2014 MOOC programme, half of my brain is saying, this is so much more of an interesting, updated, individual-friendly way to study. These wonderfully open-ended courses require individual thinking and all of your study skills - the how-to-study approaches we use as ordinary out-of-schoolies - and why am I opening up an IGCSE text book with its implication that there is one way to do things and one right answer only?

Obviously I am not the only person scanning this future scenario. If you're interested in education, then go and have a gander at a blog in the Harvard Business Review.


Katie Pybus said...

"Schoolchildren are consistently told that exams are important and some of this conditioning permeates through to people who do not go to school; they assume that their path must, at some point, converge with people who do go to school, and that the time will come when they must stop the work they are doing, however rewarding it might be, and sit some exams so that they can get qualifications, go to University etc."

and then he goes on to say "These assumptions deserve to be questioned........."

One of my best and most inspiring home ed quotes all links and credits etc here

The work of Uncollege is worth a look too

Rachel M. said...

That's a lot of acronyms!