Chapter 5: The Curse of the Familiar

Chapter 5 kicks off Part II of the book, where we discuss “As-Yet Intractable Dilemmas” in learning at scale. These are the obstacles that across all three genres, developers, educators and others constantly trip over. Addressing these challenges could help unlock greater potential from education technology.

What rings true or false for you about the curse of the familiar? What familiar technologies have fallen flat in your experience? What novel teaching approaches have been successful introduced through new technology? Why do schools remain such conservative institutions, and is that a strength or an obstacle to progress?

What do you make of the argument that community and pathways from the familiar to the novel are the key approaches to addressing the curse of the familiar?

Thinking about how the people wo didn’t like animations in MOOCs b/c they weren’t like the lecture of old. How many folks who might have responded differently were filtered out of the system already?

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I second that. I got annoyed with the dumbed down videos on Coursera/EdX very quickly but found the no-bells-and-whistles video recordings of Harvard/MIT/Stanford classes on YouTube extremely useful!

Just watched the video recording. Justin, you mentioned that there are some initiatives like Scratch and Desmos in university settings which are trying to genuinely reimagine education to fit 21st century learning. Could you list some, give a starting point or share any kind of collection of these initiatives? Thanks!

What I was trying to comment on was that from my perspective, many of the most interesting and important work in education technology is incubated in university settings where designers are somewhat insulated from market pressures, especially from VC-funded kind of emphasis on early user-base growth. We talked, for instance, in a previous week with Neil and Cristina Heffernan from ASSISTments at WPI. I don’t know if these count as genuinely reimagine 21st century education… its more that ambitious, ethical, projects with a deep respect for teachers and students in real schools seem more likely to emerge from universities… As Audrey and I said, the list of projects that we are really excited about it not super long :frowning: