Monday, November 5, 2012

Special Blog Assignment

A World Where Grades Will Be Left Behind

Sebastian Thrun

USA Today was celebrating its 30th anniversary, and in doing so they interviewed some of the visionaries of USA to get their perspectives on the future. In this specific article, USA interviewed professor Sebastian Thrun, Google VP and owner of Udacity. Udacity is an education company in California that is in attempt to transform education as we know it today. For more information on Udacity, visit the website at

In this article, A World Where Grades Will Be Left Behind, Sebastian discusses how this future way of learning is going to be completely free and available for everyone to have access to it. He brings up the ideas of "flipping" the classroom and online classes with more than 160,000 students per class.

As a side note, Flipping the Classroom is a situation in which teachers, in nontraditional style classrooms, literally flip their classrooms. The students are suppose to watch videos at home that teach the lessons to them. They come to class the next day with any questions they may have concerning what they watched and learned. The homework is done at school, so they can get assistance as needed. It is a brilliant idea and I would love to incorporate this into my future classroom. For any questions, statistics or more information on the subject visit the Flipped Learning Network website. I found it to be very useful for myself.

 Sebastian Thrun
The ideas of this situation sounds all dreamy and Utopian, but just doesn't seem completely possible without the idea of "flipping" the world, not just the classroom. America would have to do a complete 180 to get this accomplished. There are many people to whom would be excited to get this concept on the map, I just don't think there are enough of those kinds of people willing to put forth the effort, energy, time and vitality towards an endeavor of this sort.

The concept that stands out most to me is the fact that it is "supposedly" free. With technology, comes innovation; with innovation, comes expenses. If people are willing to invest their time and money, they are going to expect some sort of payment in return. Which circles me back to the same question, "Where is the money going to come from?". I hate to be the pessimist that brings money into a great situation, but I just don't see that many good Samaritans to whom would be willing to volunteer their time and efforts into this project and expect nothing in return. Money has to come from somewhere; especially when you add all of the software, video cameras, editing programs, computers, maintenance on things that get broken and need updates, and all types of other high-tech equipment that cost a pretty good sum of money.

Another idea of this educational revolution that seems far-fetched to me is the thought that the entire United States can keep up with it. Technology is easily frowned upon in certain parts of the country; take the South, for example. They, or more-so, we, just cannot keep up with the Jones'. We all know that. We lag behind everyone else in their advances. People here are old-fashioned and it would take an act of congress to get something of this sort accomplished. Most people down here see innovation as something negative until years later, when they reap the benefits of it. It may be able to take place, but it is going to have to be much further in the future if they plan on spreading this nation-wide.

I think that this program has a lot of great efforts; I just do not see it progressing unless some major changes take place. Kudos to Sebastian Thrun and his coworkers at Udactiy. They are on the right road to educational innovations; I just, personally, think that it needs some revision to deem this whole concept possible.

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