Education Opinion

Invitation to Massive: Worst Case Scenarios for Large-Scale Learning

By Justin Reich — October 31, 2014 2 min read
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Next Wednesday, November 5, I’ll be opening my Harvard Graduate School of Education class, T509-Massive: The Future of Learning at Scale, up to the world, and you are invited to join us.

The theme for the week is Worst Case Scenarios, and we’ll be exploring all the possibilities for MOOCs, intelligent tutors, and interest-based learning communities to lead to dystopic future for education. (There isn’t a politics behind making this particular class open; it was just a week that worked well in the syllabus.) The purpose of the class is to carve out an explicit place in the syllabus to raise questions about technologies that many of us find quite promising. Some folks in the session may use the opportunity to develop arguments in opposition to new technologies. Others may take what they learn to refine and improve their approaches to large-scale learning technologies. Others may develop rebuttals to criticisms as they continue their work as technology evangelists. All of these outcomes are fine by me.

We’ll be holding the class using Unhangouts from the MIT Media Lab, a tool that allows people to organize into small discussion groups using Google Hangout. You can learn more about the event, including a complete agenda, at //unhangout.media.mit.edu/event/massive. To log into the event, you will need to have a Google+ account.

We’ll begin at 4pm in the “Lobby,” a space that allows a plenary meeting. We’ll kick off the meeting with dramatic renderings of worst case scenarios and then an overview by Tressie McMillan Cottom. We’ll then break into small discussion groups (Google Hangouts) to discuss different dimensions of worst case scenarios, either by sector (K-12, developing world, urban, etc.) or by issue (consumerism, pedagogy, inequality, etc.) We will then reconvene to briefly share out our discussions. At the end, we’ll have a “meta-pedagogy” discussion with members of the Unhangout team, to discuss how the event went and the nature of the technology.

There are some pre-readings and viewings for the week, and anyone is welcome to post a dramatic rendition of a dystopian future to the #t509massive hashtag. Assignments can be found at our Unhangout Event page.

Feel free to post questions and comments about the event here or on Twitter at the #t509massive hashtag.

For regular updates, follow me on Twitter at @bjfr and for my papers, presentations and so forth, visit EdTechResearcher.

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