Future of Education
We shouldn’t have to keep doing this constantly for generations. It reminds me of a factory assembly line. Kids being pushed through in batches, built up for a job and then off to work. But it’s what our governments do to our children. They put them through school to learn jobs to keep up the economy. Once you finish high school, you may be one of the lucky ones to get a scholarship, or have wealthy parents to pay for the extortionate university fees. Some even join the military to get educational benefits, like myself, to help towards getting a degree.
Let’s start with the University degree. How useful is it now? Are employers looking at them as much as they used to? It seems not. Most employers are now looking at specific skills, qualifications and certifications. In my line of work, a degree may as well be a $50k debt. Don’t get me wrong, I learned quite a bit and have been given loads of opportunities and inspirations. Without it I wouldn’t be who I am. But, I wouldn’t have got my job without the qualifications and experience. There are many courses available to get you trained in specific areas they may help towards a decent job. Now imagine these courses are free. And from top universities. Want to study at MIT? Stanford? How about Duke University? Harvard? All for free! There recently has been a rise in non-profit online learning through various websites. They offer the courses for free and at the end you get some type of certificate or achievement. Speaking of achievements, The Khan Academy is one of those websites that has revolutionised education. Sal Khan of Khan Academy has said, “I started [Khan Academy] as a hobby, and I would get all these letters from people, and ‘wow this really helped me’ or ‘this really helped my children,’ or ‘this helped me go to back to college,’ or ‘this helped me pass Algebra or stay in high school,’ and I was getting all this psychic reward, emotional reward from all these letters, and so when it became clear that this was a real thing, and it could be a real entity of some kind, there was a lot temptation of some kind.” I consider Sal Khan to be one of the most influential entrepreneurs in my life. When you sign up to Khan Academy, you can learn a huge variety of topics from History, to Finance, to Science to Mathematics. The style of learning is through videos and a ‘Knowledge Map’ where you can attain achievement badges and can attain mastery in maths. It’s this style that has led to this revolution. You can learn at your own pace. There’s always a milestone to reach and you can learn the most advanced calculus when you never thought you could. We are being inspired to learn again.
I have even brought it upon myself to challenge Rosetta Stone. Rosetta Stone is a language learning program that offers online and home software based learning of dozens of languages. They teach through visual submersion and practice. The only downfall is that it’s expensive. Too expensive!! You can sign up for a 6 months subscription for a language for the price of £199. WTF?! You can buy a whole set of Spanish Levels 1-5 for £379. And on top of that, you have to pay for a subscription to use the iPhone app! So ridiculous. So I’ve decided to learn with Codecademy and get a couple of people to help develop a language learning program based on Sal Khan’s style of learning. It may be ambitious, but learning a language should be free and fun. Who wants to help me! 🙂
So what does education in the future look like? With more and more employers only interested in experience and qualifications, a university degree may not be worth it anymore. And more top universities are providing free lessons (although accreditation is a slight problem at the moment). In children’s classrooms, the teacher will act more of a coach and milestone maker and students will be able to learn on their own pace through programs such as Khan Academy and the teacher will be able to see where each student is and if any student is falling behind or not. No more holding kids back because no one helped them to understand something. No more boring and mundane lectures. And no more falling asleep. Teachers will engage with their students and encourage them to think. Think for themselves. Think creatively. I don’t see kids being put through in batches by age anymore but rather by achievement badges and level of understanding. Every student will have an equal opportunity.
For more on the free courses, have a look at the links below: