The video study above is number two on the Viral Video Charts today. And while this vision of students today is focused on a limited sample of younger university students, it raises some good questions for educators in all sectors to consider. I wonder, however, how different the video would be if you added in the wide array of adult students and part-time students that are swirling in education these days. The kinds of students in this profile account for less than 20 percent of the credit-bearing higher education students nationally. Would there be differences in the stories students would tell in large state schools, private liberal arts colleges, community colleges, and online universities? Would there be differences based on student diversity--e.g., ethnicity, age, work status, family income, access to technology?
My guess is that all too often even broader and more diverse student groups would experience an education system that feels like an industrial factory model, operating on an agrarian calendar, trying to meet the needs of the information age. However, I would also bet that they would tell stories of faculty and staff members who reach beyond their cumbersome systems to engage, challenge, and inspire students. Which brings us back to our earlier discussions about working to build a more modern and sustainable learning infrastructure; challenging ourselves to learn something new and engage our students using both tried and true methods, as well as some new and novel--as long as we know they improve learning; and then challenging students to take personal responsibility for their learning and develop visions worth working toward.