Educators confront online challenge

Tertiary institutions will need to transform their teaching methods to survive, US speaker tells Kiwi summit

Teaching methods will need to change if educational institutions expect to keep charging thousands for learning that is available free on the internet, an expert in online education told New Zealand's tertiary leaders yesterday.

American Salman Khan was a keynote speaker at a summit Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce has convened at Auckland Museum this week to discuss what developments in online education will mean for learners, and for the bricks-and-mortar institutions that have so far taught them.

Mr Khan has been named by Time magazine as one of the most influential people in the world and has attracted financial backing from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Google.

He told the audience via Skype that the rise of online learning would not displace universities but would lead to a change in approach.

"In my mind, the ones that will thrive are the ones that can articulate what is special about what happens when the human beings get together.

"And right now, for better or for worse, at some of the top universities in the world ... you are in a room with 200 or 300 people and someone is lecturing. I think institutions that continue to do that in 10 years are going to be in trouble.

"The ones that instead take those students and bring them into an equally large-sized room and they create simulations or projects or team things for them to work on, I think they are going to do very well."

So-called "flipped classrooms" — using videos to pre-teach ideas before class, then using lessons for collaborative work and individual tutoring — are starting to be used at some New Zealand schools.

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