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Rafael Andreu and Josep Maria Rosanas, Professors at IESE, University of Navarra

Impart knowledge or Education?

Thu, 11 Apr 2013 09:18:00 +0000 Published in La Vanguardia

The free transfer on the Internet of course contents from universities such as Harvard, MIT or Stanford has opened up the discussion. New technologies, it is said, facilitate both design and access to such content, bringing what one "reads, sees and interacts" closer to the true meaning of the content. And without the dictatorship of timetables or the "whims" of a professor.

The Education is much more than a simple transmission of knowledge, as Woodie Flowers, professor at MIT, says. Educating implies at least two things: teaching how to think, and achieving development and the acquisition of values that produce people of value, not just professionals. This contrasts with the opinion of others who argue that new technologies will radically change the model educational . In our internship of vocational educators, we are closer to Flowers. Educating is not easy. New technologies can help, but they are far from revolutionizing what we mean by Education.

Flowers is an understatement when he says that quality Education must deal with value acquisition. How is very important. Putting the student on status to be able to discover those values by his own conviction and helping him in his development staff , not simply lecturing him on their desirability for him and for society, is critical. Nuance and the role of emotions are crucial. Understanding counter-arguments to what one is proposing is fundamental to the soundness of knowledge. This is teaching how to think. And it is difficult and risky, because the process must be free to be effective, and if the student does not discover them or discovers them badly, the result can be disastrous. It is impossible for an automatic transmission module of knowledge to have the necessary sensitivity for these purposes and to apply it properly.

Some teachers don't have it either, some will say. We need good educators, capable of leading such a process. And we will not achieve this by being undemanding with their training (Education!), by abdicating on new technologies as certain tendencies suggest. We will need to better recognize their work if it is good. And respect them more. A very important part of the country's future depends on it. It does not seem a bad time to seriously consider it.