I am not an educator and this is not an academic paper that is supported by research and statistics. If you are looking for something in that nature I advise that you stop reading. This is a blog post and my own personal rant and worries about the future of education and student success. I am looking for answers, feedback, people to push back on my ideas, and most importantly I want to learn from your knowledge and experiences. I want you to share your golden nuggets of knowledge and your own experiences as an educator, student, or parent.
This blog is written as a sarcastic piece that is based on my own experiences
I am a recent college graduate who has experienced some early trials of video education. I co-started the Student Success Academy, which this year is working with Richard Milburn Academy to provide 300+ students their personal virtual success consultant. I am the #1 Amazon Bestseller of Accelerate Your Success: How to Create A Future and Standout When College is Not Enough.
I also did 50+ events this year that focused on motivating high school students and training them how to succeed in the real world. I love helping people and I am obsessed with figuring out what makes people successful and how we can increase students’ chances of success in the real world. My experiences and work with students has influenced me to think untraditionally about education. I am a huge supporter an investing into education and going to college. College is a perfect place to find yourself, obtain resources, and take a leap of faith before growing up. But I also thinks it is a place that if you are financially unaware and clueless about your future can be ineffective and costly decision.
Video education is HOT right now
Recently, the traditional way of teaching our students has been tested (about time). Innovative educators and entrepreneurs have seen a positive effect in recording lectures and assigning them as homework for students so that the classroom can be turned into a place for students can get help and support while doing problems. This is awesome and I am I believe organization like Khan Academy, and EdX will make a huge impact and help people learn subjects that they made have not had access to otherwise. Do I think it is what young people actually need? No. I think there is much more we can do.
Here are my 5 critiques and how I think we can do more…
1.) Watching Video Lectures Can Be Boring
I think it is funny that we get a group of our smartest and most intelligent educators in a room and the big idea they come up with is to record their lectures and put them on the internet for everyone to see. I appreciate the resource but we as educators must have big egos to assume that the cure of learning and educating is recording ourselves teaching. I get that the big buzz about doing this is not that it is the most effective way to teach but that it’s F-R-E-E FREE! We can give people all across the world with an internet connection the opportunity to learn something from people who know what they are talking about.
I think the big hype behind this is that people think that these videos will give people access to an elite education. If you are considering how much it cost to go to Harvard or MIT than yes these videos are elite. But if we are talking about the effectiveness of the video than I think there are a lot of higher quality and more dynamic videos already out there.
Online education and do it yourself videos have been a part of the internet for many years. We have been able to learn accounting, finance, computer programming, science, etc. on the web for a long time now. A Harvard professor with degrees may not have conducted the videos but some of these people are doers and people who taught themselves and usually more interesting than a professor.
I would much rather watch video about Marketing from Gary Vaynerchuk or Video Editing from Hank Green than from my professor I had in college. The biggest problem is that they are people who are better and more dynamics at teaching and presenting than our professors. They may not be as knowledgeable but more interesting ot watch on video.
Even though I am please with their mission and decision, I think if EdX really wanted to make an impact they would commit to hiring Tony Robbins to teach all of their professors how to be dynamic, relatable, and entertaining to listen too., which leads to by second critique.
2.) Attention Span
The second thing is that we need to consider the attention span of today’s young adults. We have to be able to entertain students before they are truly committed to learning and listening. We have to win them over and make it enjoyable so that they want to be there. According to TubeMogul’s analytics they say that most online video viewers watch mere seconds, rather than minutes, of a video.
The biggest problem in my opinion is that we do not invest enough in training our professors and teachers to be engaging. We need to teach students more and more like an action movie. The first couple minutes of the film is action-pack and grabs the audience so that they want to invest their time watching the story unfold. Action movies take audiences through an emotional roller-coaster that includes: love, suspense, drama, car races, explosions, comebacks, and overcoming hardships.
My biggest bash on recording lectures is that it will be more painful for our students to do this than doing homework and just teaching themselves. Video education is a great resources or addition but if we expect our students to learn simply by watching a video in the comfort of their own home with even more distractions than if they were in the classroom than I think we are giving my generation and peers to much credit.
“A teacher came up to me and said that their kids prefer to learn the lesson through video instead of in class and I said, yea because they can mute you.”
3.) No Two Way Communication
I am most excited about in education is the ability to build virtual classrooms to increase interaction. There are awesome resources out there like Vokle and Wirecast that can help teachers build virtual classrooms and integrate social media. My experience in public speaking and teaching is that students like to learn when it is hands on and they can participate in their learning process. Video education is a start but the average person is already poor at listening, especially if they cannot engage in the conversation themselves.
4.) No Personalization
The next big opportunity in education is personalization. A company who is leading in this change and doing right is Knewton. I love reading their updates and following their next move. We have the ability to personalize growth and education for all students. I believe entrepreneurs and educators need to stop focusing on how to scale and mass-produce and instead focus on how we can increase personalization. If we increase personalization we increase the experience. We increase the experience we increase the number of people who will support our mission and become involved.
Anyone can learn from anyone and virtual learning will allow administrators to create customize programs for all students depending on their level of basic skills and personal interest. The whole one size fits all tracks to education needs to be demolished and burned to the ground. We all succeed because of our specialized knowledge.
General and basic skills allow us to communicate with one another but we learn most of that at a young age. Ninety-seven percent of people who know a second language learned it before they were eight years old. We can keep our elementary schools and middle schools institutionalize so that we can help students get the basic skills of survival like speaking, writing, and thinking for themselves. But when students go to the next grade the more personal and customize their education needs to be.
The world spins by having people who can create value and solve problems that take specialized knowledge. The fact that we all know that Columbus came to America on the Mayflower does not help us create a job for ourselves. General knowledge allows us to communicate and interact with one another so I think there can be a strong integration of general learning and customization in institutions.
5.) Lack of Accountability
What I learned about myself and from other young people is that we can’t give ourselves the benefit of the doubt. The younger your students the more support and hands on assistance they need to succeed. I think education and the average person lacks a strong accountability system that makes sure they get done what they need to. If you look at all top businesses, athletes, and performers they all have their personal assistant, coach, or consultant that is solely focused on their success. They have systems that track their progress and help them increase their productivity. Now I ask you…why do we not have the same resources for students? I know we have counselors but on average we one counselor will serve ~400 students. The other issue is that most counselors actually have never received experience in the workforce. They have no experience in working in corporate America or entrepreneurship. A personal consultant or assistant can help all students become unstuck and confident about their future.
At the Student Success Academy, we work with high schools to provide affordable success consulting for their students. Our success consultants connect with their high school student once a week over Skype. In each session they focus on helping the high school student in either college career or life. We ask students the tough questions about life and get them to build vision and direction, which all successful have. We get them to answer questions like”
- What is success to you?
– Where will you want to be in 5 years?
– What character traits do you want to develop in your life?
We also help them with scholarship, applying to college, building a local network and meeting the right people who can help them make their aspirations come alive. We focus on helping our students succeed and find sustainable lifestyles that allow them to feel significant and meaningful in their work and daily life.
The Wrap Up
Online videos will make a huge impact. We won’t know what kind of impact until more teachers, classrooms, and institutes implement. Education has made more of a positive change in the last couple years than they have in the last 25. It is an exciting time to be a part of education and more advancement to technology will continue to appear. We can use technology to make learning more effective. But what we need to do is start considering how we can make people successful in the real world.
We have to admit that there is a difference between educated and successful. At the Student Success Academy we are focused on creating sustainable lifestyle for all students that will help them live a happy and more fulfilling lifestyle. I know this blog started to focus on video education and I kind of got off track. After writing this blog’s first draft. I realized that a lot the problems I brought up cannot be solved by video.
I guess the end of my critique on video education is that there is more we can do and that once we see more schools and kids using video the more we can adapt and improve. Teachers need to improve on engagement and being more dynamic especially if they want their students to learn by video.
I also think we need to focus on personalization and accountability treat mental growth the same way we do physical growth. The people who have a higher chance of losing weight and staying healthy are those who have a personal trainer that created a personal plan specifically for their goals. Video education is like having the weights and cardio machines available for use. Some people will use them and stay disciplined but most will never use it or challenge themselves to get better. Nearly 40 percent of Americans are classified as overweight (physical growth).
The average person reads less than one book a year (mental growth) and I do not think that will change much simply because of free video lectures. We need to fuel people interest in growth and progress. We can do this by offering our students consultants and accountability. I think the biggest problem, which I could not find any recent stats on is how many people feel successful. We need to stop making tools that will increase the data that allows you to renew your grant and start teaching people to become successful and sustainable in the real world. Your students are not machines and do not come with directions. You can’t give them a personality test or a career exploration test and not monitor their actions and experiences. Video is a good start but there is so much we can do to help students reach their full potential.
Thank you for reading my post. I would love to read and hear your thoughts. If you already have written a post or article on this is issue. Please post the link in the comment box. The only way we can get better at the Student Success Academy is learning about your goals, ideas, concerns, and vision. Together we can make a difference.