The death of the lecture


Image representing Bill Gates as depicted in C...

Image via CrunchBase


I have just been watching the Richard Dimbleby Lecture on BBC1 which this year was given by Bill Gates on the subject of defeating Polio.


I found his talk interesting, informative and, at times, inspiring. If I was asked to give a summary of what I had heard I could talk about the fact that Polio has largely been eradicated from our world but is stubbornly hanging on in three countries, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.


I could add to this some information about the way that developments in technology have led to greater awareness of where children live and that this has helped to get greater levels of inoculation in areas where our information in the past was at best sketchy and which led to continuing outbreaks of the disease.


It was a good talk by someone who has obviously made a lot of effort to learn about this subject in some depth. I wondered though,as I watched the lecture whether this format of spreading information and supporting learning has reached the end of the road.


In the same 40 minutes or so that the lecture was being delivered to a passive and noncontributory audience I could have used the Nexus 7 tablet that I am presently writing this post on to have researched the subject. I could have accessed videos from various sources, looked for important articles, seen blog posts on the issues and even spent some useful time on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation website!


I have seen a number of video lectures recently from American Universities, where the lecturer is facing rows of students who have laptops or tablets as they are lecturing. There have been instances of talks where the lecturer has referred in the course of the lecture to Tweets about the lecture that are being made by the students in front of them.


This interactive approach to lecturing seems a much better situation than the traditional approach that I witnessed in the Bill Gates lecture. It does though raise the question as to the validity of the lecture in our digital 21st Century world. I feel that its time has passed and that the Richard Dimbleby lecture should be replaced by something like the Richard Dimbleby Online World Forum. It wouldn’t make good television but it would make good sense!




About malbell

I am a retired Teaching and Learning Consultant. Previously I was a Primary school headteacher and deputy headteacher. I enjoy reading, doing MOOCs and learning new things.
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