Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Special Blog Assignment

A World Where Grades Will Be Left Behind

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USA TODAY was celebrating its 30th anniversary and commemorating this event, some of the USA's greatest visionaries were interviewed for an article titled "A World Where Grades Will Be Left Behind". Mary Beth Marklein, the author of the article, asked these people to talk about the world of tomorrow as they see it.

She first interviewed Sebastian Thrun who is a "Google vice president and Stanford research professor best known for his role in building Google's driverless car." He is the founder of Udacity which is a free online educational company. Udacity offers courses like Programming Languages, Design of Computer Programs, and Artificial Intelligence.

The next visionary Marklein interviewed was Sal Kahn. He is best known for flipping classrooms. Flipping a classroom is where students learn the lesson at home and then do activities, homework, or further learning in the classroom.

The article mentions Kahn's thoughts on the future of education, or the way he would like education to look in 30 years. He mentions that grades are "the failure of the education system". I have heard that many people want to get rid of standardized tests, and I agree with that. Yet his thoughts on getting rid of all grades caught me off guard. Kahn said he would like a system to be on mastery of a concept or skill. The student would be able to take as much or as little time as needed to master the skill. I honestly do not know how I feel about this. All I think about is the simulation lab in nursing school. I wonder how mastery of a skill would be tested. Would it be tested?

Another thing that struck me was that Kahn is "aim(ing) to make an online college education as affordable as a cellphone bill," and Thrun has a free online college. I am with the rest of college students out there wanting cheaper tuition cost, but I am a realist to a point. I wonder how it is that there is enough money to pay teachers and other staff if the cost is as low as a cellphone bill or lower. I do not see this happening. I wish it would, so I would not have to save up for my children's education.

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