Open Minds: The Future of Education with Carmen Boulter Video
The Future of Education with Carmen Boulter

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Open Minds: The Future of Education with Carmen Boulter (May 2013)

Season 2, Episode 20
Available worldwide

With ever increasing costs and decreasing quality of education, more and more people find themselves inadequately prepared to be independently successful with a college degree. A brighter future lies ahead as new educational platforms, using computer technology, are emerging. Professor of educational research, Dr. Carmen Boulter shares her insights into where education is headed, and the importance of social action and online learning in this interview with Regina Meredith originally webcast May 28, 2013.

Dr. Carmen Boulter is a Professor at the University of Calgary in Canada. She teaches in the Graduate Division of Educational Research in the Faculty of Education. Carmen"s research examines ESL/EFL teachers’ use of multimedia in the classroom in universities around the world. She has developed several styles of ESL/EFL instructional websites for students and a series of online video tutorials to train ESL/EFL teachers to make their own multimedia curriculum.

Regina Meredith


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Clover, posted on June 28, 2013

Dear Regina,
This was an excellent video, and I love all of your interviews.
Carmen is very intelligent, and I love to hear her speaking about education in this format, where she can speak her mind freely, in regards to online learning. She is very positive about this format.

My experience teaching in a private art school, teaching of many things web design. Our students do create useful websites, and often make money on their projects in animation and web while still in my class, as I teach them how to take these steps. I work both in person and online has been incredibly eye opening about the mental conditions of the students. There seems to be a digital divide because the ones that sign up for online, are actually very good at writing. The ones not so good, would not dare sign up for the online course. So the ones that need one on one attention must be a specific type of learner, possibly not loving reading and writing as much. I find that students online are so incredibly attentive in that their writing and abilities meet my expectations for a college level writing and professionalism. My experience at the same school but enrolled in person courses, actually have incredibly difficult times listening, and being attentive to what I am telling them verbally. They all seem to suffer from attention issues. I have to repeat quite a bit. I ended up having to teach the class in an online format so I could request that they review my videos when they don't remember my live lecture.

The things I do not like, and I think we should consider is this: When teaching online, there is a sense that you can not lecture on things that spark questioning the way things are currently done. What I'd like to say here, is that when I went to several state schools, my instructors instilled a sense of questioning what the currently accepted in the name of research and deconstructing old models and methods. But when I'd like to do this online, the curriculum is already written, and I would be fired, because every word is reread by my employers. Every post, every link and every topic has to be on point.

I agree with what Carmen is saying about asking questions. When we shake the foundation and mold students are in through high school, we all are better for it. But in online learning, I am not sure that this will instill that. I believe asking questions is the only way to learn. I'd love some suggestions on how to spark my students to think for them selves online, when the curriculum is written, and every topic or assignment is written, and every word or content item is scrutinized.

Also, another problem with college, is that those with disabilities are spoon fed, not told that in the real world, jobs do not always help those with disabilities. I think it is cruel to set it up in this way, when businesses are not being accountable to the disability discrimination laws. I do teach my students how to work around the disabilities and how to find ways around it, but one can not have any effect on those hiring. It seems like a survival of the human species that is at play here. I think that the hunters and gathers gene folks have much to offer, and sometimes online learning is difficult for them, but sometimes it's great for them because they can be asynchronous.

Many of my students (50 percent at least) are from the military, so they often are the ones that need the most encouraging to think for themselves.

I wanted to teach so I can help give students the same experience I had, which truly instilled a questioning mind set, a better citizen of the Earth, and helped me understand media literacy. I'd love to help my students get there, but especially online, I don't feel safe doing this.

In regards to the school assessing or labeling what the student is or isn't, I can tell you from personal experience is very damaging. Unless everyone is equally treated and praised for their own gifts and not expected to do something they are not gifted at, the labeling is quite scary. Even those with ADHD, when you subscribe to the hunter's gene theory, will be marked for life on their records, if we continue to let the discrimination continue. The ones that have difficulty paying attention are the ones I try to encourage to find their way. I know they are not paying attention because their heart is not into the topic. I believe it is cruel to force students to take classes they are not interested, or have a gift for just in order to graduate. An example of this would be the students I have that can't use their eyes very well, and are required to take a web scripting class. I think it is difficult for me to understand how they are required to take this course, and strain their eyes, as well as ask them to pay for the class, in order to get a degree, ask the teacher to give them more time to complete the work, and then offer them a degree. The degree is a signifier to the employer that the student can complete the work. I would not dare fail a disabled student, but I want to tell them something that would help them in the future.

I was homeschooled, and have been diagnosed with ADHD, and could not really keep teaching my classes with out the help of medication, and I do love making interactive videos for my students, and creating my own content for them. It's not the medication that is the real issue, it's that our society here difficult to thrive in, and keep up with out tools. It's the reason many people who don't have the right genes do fail at keeping up. Any respected adult would have a difficult time not using a tool that helps one focus and keep up the pace of our Western society. If one does not, then keeping a job, or having a husband would be even more difficult if not impossible for some people. Not all drugs make someone a zombie. I still play music, and create art, and think for my self as I did in the past, I just have the ability to keep up or complete on a level playing field. I would love to find a new way, with out taking medication, but I feel like we are creating a divide here that still marginalizes the healthy and the drugged as two dichotomies, when this two party system of have and have nots is really a hidden discrimination.

Let me give you an example, those that may be on medication, say diabetes should not be scorned for taking their medication, or even for the condition. I'd love to really get to the bottom of this and help these people by not judging them. After all, this is what marginalizes them and removes them from this group of free thinkers. It would be very difficult for someone who already is on all the medications to be accepted in this paradigm if they are being judged. I would love to reach out to larger groups with this type of content, but with out them feeling bad for the condition that the entire society as a whole has created. Many are not victims, but what I am trying to say here is we all can take ownership for what has happened to people in a situation where medication seems like a reasonable idea. The person who chooses to take the insulin or the stimulant, should not feel unwelcome here. I'd say this goes for the learners that don't do well online, as well as the whole Republican versus Democrat issue. We are all one, we all can help each other to be our best with out the judgement, which creates more negative feelings for the individual.

Asking the question, what have we all contributed in our daily lives that have created this situation. I am so grateful Carmen is opening up a new school that has a new approach that empowers the students! Best wishes with it!

Thank you!

bdelfosse, posted on June 23, 2013

Yay Regina for always bringing the best guests and bringing out the best from them. It is always a pleasure to hear Dr. Boulter speak. Good sense, straight shootin' and extensive knowledge about why the education system is so far off the mark, plus eminently sensible, entirely doable solutions. What more could we ask for? Hmmmm. A Ministry of Education that gets it too!! All in good time.

Bluenose_Dawn, posted on May 29, 2013

Thank you for this interesting interview! I look forward to checking out Interactive-U.

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