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I wrote a paper titled “Soka Education and Digital Education Technologies: Massively Open Online Courses,” for the 2013 Soka Education Student Research Project conference. The following section is the conclusion.
Soka education’s philosophical framework for teaching and learning is appropriate for the emerging to the newly emerging educational technology field. This papers goal was to help draw attention to a field that is quickly emerging with good intentions. The growth and social cause makes it attractive to both educators, entrepreneurs, and investors. Having such a great impact on the students, it must be carefully traversed. In references to evidence oriented progress, Makiguchi states:
“We must strictly avoid following ideologies of uncertain origin that cannot be substantiated by actual proof-even if they may be the most time-honored tradition-and thereby sacrificing the precious lives of others and ourselves.”
The education technologies too must be scrutinized to insure they are being implemented for the correct reasons. While MOOCs and other tools may benefit schools in reducing costs and increasing profits, the fundamental question should revolve around how they improve a students learning opportunity.
The digital technologies emerging in the education space are seeking to improve student-centered learning opportunities, but the educational technology space is not new. In the past five years, investors funding emerging private educational technology enterprises has quadrupled. These investments are spurring ventures such as MOOCs, but are still building profit-seeking entities. As a result, the driving forces behind Soka education are invaluable for reflecting on the purpose of education technology companies. Traditionally disruptive technology companies must be extremely careful in their disruption of existing educational markets. While emerging digital technologies can undoubtedly offer value to improving student experiences, many systems are already healthy.
The MOOC field is targeted at student-centeredness in a way that is inline with Soka Education. Just as the MOOCs themselves are not innately good or bad, their application must be continually considered. Companies like Udacity and Coursera are already holding classes that are eligible for actual college credit in American universities. The MOOCs are will help colleges reduce the cost of classes, expand course selection for students, and continue growing the discussion on the application of digital technology to education. The digital tools redefine “student-centeredness” by allow students to personalize their learning experiences in ways less prone to budget and institutional capacity.
Future research should further analyze the following points from the perspective of Soka education: MOOC course rights, digital resource copyright clearance, hybrid teaching pedagogies, the usage of other multimedia tools for student learning, and the efficacy of video based learning materials. These topics could each be the basis for extensive research to further the field of student-centered education using digital technologies.