One of the beautiful things about data is that it gets less expensive with time. This vital commodity for the “digital revolution” is more and more readily available.
We at The Future 500 believe absolutely in the idea that innovation, constant innovation, is a key element to the 21st Century. Those who embrace the chaos of innovation and the the order of disorder will succeed, some beyond their wildest dreams. Those who do not will be left behind. This goes for countries, companies, and individuals. Create and think, or don’t. But the second option is not going to be a pleasant one.
The current model for college is terribly outdated. Though I look with fondness on my time in school and see value in being on-campus, online education seems to make much more sense for many people than the system I went through. Given the cost of education now this seems especially so.
Enter the MOOC or the “Massive open online course.” Is this the solution many students and parents have been looking for?
To some degree it appears- yes.
(From The Technology Review)
The excitement over MOOCs comes at a time of growing dissatisfaction with the state of college education. The average price tag for a bachelor’s degree has shot up to more than $100,000. Spending four years on campus often leaves young people or their parents weighed down with big debts, a burden not only on their personal finances but on the overall economy. And many people worry that even as the cost of higher education has risen, its quality has fallen. Dropout rates are often high, particularly at public colleges, and many graduates display little evidence that college improved their critical-thinking skills. Close to 60 percent of Americans believe that the country’s colleges and universities are failing to provide students with “good value for the money they and their families spend,” according to a 2011 survey by the Pew Research Center. Proponents of MOOCs say the efficiency and flexibility of online instruction will offer a timely remedy.
From the edge of the Rift Valley in East Africa comes an amazing experiment. The One Laptop Per Child Organization simply dropped off boxes of tablet computers at a couple of remote villages and observed what happened. The villages were illiterate and were not (according to the article) exposed to the printed word.
Without instruction the children of the villages customized their tablets and filled them with applications. In a few months they had even hacked their way through the operating system and enabled the disabled camera.
The next step is to do the experiment again in a more “scientific” way to prove that the experience these youngsters had, and some had even begun to read, is valid objectively.
Human potential is an incredible thing. A tablet in the hands of a child unhampered by creative restrictions imposed from the outside must be an amazing thing to see.
Early observations are encouraging, said Nicholas Negroponte, OLPC’s founder, at MIT Technology Review’s EmTech conference last week.
The devices involved are Motorola Xoom tablets—used together with a solar charging system, which OLPC workers had taught adults in the village to use. Once a week, an OLPC worker visits the villages and swaps out memory cards so that researchers can study how the machines were actually used.
After several months, the kids in both villages were still heavily engaged in using and recharging the machines, and had been observed reciting the “alphabet song,” and even spelling words. One boy, exposed to literacy games with animal pictures, opened up a paint program and wrote the word “Lion.”
If you want to use the free online course software offered by Coursera (or any other similar entity) and you happen to live within the borders of Minnesota, you are out of luck. Just one more reason to head south I suppose.
We are not even talking about the pursuit of a degree or certificate or some other credential. This is learning for the sake of learning. And now you are breaking the law in Minnesota if you do it.
“The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the state has decided to crack down on free education, notifying California-based startup Coursera that it is not allowed to offer its online courses to the state’s residents. Coursera, founded by Stanford computer science professors Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng, partners with top-tier universities around the world to offer certain classes online for free to anyone who wants to take them. You know, unless they happen to be from Minnesota.”
The ad is beautifully done and was sent to me by someone at the organization from what I can surmise.
It speaks nicely to the wave of cyber protests which have swept the world. I have watched these protests from the front row (online, as many of you have also) and the video captures the spirit.
The video promotes a website, from what I can figure out having just looked at it, which allows one to access university level learning materials for free (as far as I can see.) We are long time proponents of this kind of education and we are excited to see this site.
I once worked as a political director for a small non-profit called Openworld which is very interested in the issues presented below. High quality education, any time, anywhere in the world. Now that is revolutionary.
Good luck guys. We’ll keep an eye on your progress.