One of the amazing things, to me, is the evolution of education through the use of the Internet. It has dramatically changed the way we connect. This connection happens in a variety of ways but I would like to specifically talk about how we connect globally and how that connection can have an impact on education.
20 years ago our ability to teach over a distance was limited at best. To reach a majority of students in remote, under-serviced areas it took a commitment to travel and often relocate ones life. This required a high level of commitment on the part of any willing teacher. Now through the use of technology we can create interactions that we can take to many of these places without having to leave our lives. Through this same medium we can also create real time learning experiences. I truly believe that we are coming to a point in time when we can take the best teachers and content experts and put their knowledge on the Internet and truly educate anyone anywhere.
There are a number of people working to expand this very concept. One major example is The Khan Academy who’s very mission statement is this:
“Our mission is to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.” https://www.khanacademy.org/about
I was listening to TedTalks over the weekend and came across a talk by Daphne Koller, one of the people responsible for Coursera. If you are not familiar with Coursera , they are a provider of MOOC’s. She discusses, among other things, the vision of offering educational experiences to improve ones life through the Internet without the limitations of physical proximity. She also highlights parts of the world where this type of offering is being used to the advantage of students. http://www.ted.com/talks/daphne_koller_what_we_re_learning_from_online_education?language=en
I truly believe if we do this right and have enough interest we can revolutionize how we educate the world. There are people on this planet who desperately want an education. They will line up in droves just for the opportunity so many of us take for granted. We have the ability to lift people up through the use of technology in education and make a real difference on a global scale.