Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Future of Education

I was very lucky to attend an event where Bill Gates and George Lucas discussed the future of education. Two smartest people at our time agreed that Internet plays a critical role in the future. Gates talked about he just took the best geography lecture through the web and he was impressed with the depth and quality. He also mentioned the MIT openware project that all MIT course materials are made available to everyone in the world for free. Lucas suggested doing project-based learning at school; to have students work on a real-world problem such as building a house or shooting a rocket to mars instead of just teaching abstract academic subjects. He argued that better learning is driven by the need to solve problems. Since all the knowledge is on the web, it is more important for a teacher to keep student motivated than to convey knowledge.

A few years ago, I was debating whether to send my kids to private school. The long commute to school has bothered me very much, so I eventually decided against it. But I was also aware that public school education may not always challenge my children enough. To address the issue, I searched and found many resources on the Internet to enrich their learning. As they get older, they are able to do it on their own. They have learned well and I am pleased with the money and time saved by not going to private schools. :)

Thanks to technologies, the cost of education has gone down and the trend continues. Schools are no longer the main source of knowledge. Parents have a lot of cost-effective ways to help their children's learning. I believe that children growing up with Internet will be more creative and have stronger problem-solving skills. The future of education is great.

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