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21st Century Learning = Mentorship (My TED Talk)

Mon, Aug 20, 2012

21st Century Learning, Mentorship

A few weeks ago I was meeting with a Professor from an Indian Technical College.  He’s here in Ontario learning about our model for Innovation Centres, to take back some of the practices that are driving our technology developments forward.

He told me about an initiative that they are currently undertaking to revolutionize the education model at his school.  He explained to me that the traditional 20th Century education model consists of 80% lecturing and 20% student-professor interaction.  They are looking to flip that on its head and create a new model where professors spend 20% of their time lecturing and 80% mentoring.  Very interesting and it got me thinking.

This is a HUGE move it the right direction for the new dynamics that grads face transitioning from post-secondary education.  The limitation it fails to address though is that it still presumes that the answers can be provided by a single expert.

In Malcom Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point” he describes three personality types that play the central role in social epidemics:  Connectors, Mavens and Salesman. 20th Century Educators have primarily been Mavens–21st Century Educators will need to be a hybrid of Mavens and Connectors.  As we continue to specialize and take a more individual approach to learning—it will be others who have been down those unique paths, who are in the best position to educate the next generation.  The faculty will be a hub to a much broader network of specialists who volunteer to provide their expertise to students following in their footsteps.

I was at a workshop last year, where one of the exercises was to define what your TED Talk would be.  I didn’t have a concise answer at the time, but all the good vibes I get around this topic, suggest to me I may be getting close:-)

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