The internet is has revolutionized our world in the past five years in amazing ways. The speed at which we can find information has improved remarkably. Every industry is about to undergo a makeover of epic proportions in the future as the internet shows its disruptive force. The entertainment industry is a clear example of how powerful this force truly is. The linear TV is dead. YouTube has taken over as the main source of entertainment for most young people. Tyler Oakley, who is one of the main YouTube celebrities, champions the phrase “team internet”. This phrase has the connotation that group of people who are producing content themselves without the entrenched powerful cable companies are all on the same team. This is a powerful movement. I am describing the movement in order to try to paint a picture of the future of how the education system will be disrupted in the next ten years.
In the past we have seen sci-fi movies in which students simply going to school and have some sort of futuristic computer be attached to their heads and give them all the knowledge that they need for the day in a few minutes. This is certainly not what I am proposing will happen, but radical change certainly will occur. If you look at the basic template for education, not much has really changed over the past twenty years. Computers are being introduced in the form of smart boards for the teachers and iPads or laptops for the students. This is a good thing, but it isn’t really much of a change in my opinion. Teachers are basically doing the same exact lesson plans on a screen instead of a chalk board. Students are still learning the same things and are basically just typing what they would have been writing in a notebook 20 years ago. This saves the students backs from heavy textbooks, but not much else. Students are learning the same curriculum. The changes that are being made to the way we live our day-to-day lives have not yet infiltrated the classrooms, but they soon will.
There are a few problems with the education system as we see it today. I am going to propose how the internet will solve these issues. The fact is that politicians have been looking at this issue for years and have not solved anything; this is not surprising as most politicians create more problems than they solve. Luckily, we live in a fantastic time period where the internet will be disrupting the education system for the better. The three main problems with the system today are all intertwined. The first is what we are teaching our kids is outdated and a waste of their time. The second is the way we are teaching our kids the material is not taking advantage of the technology that we have available. The third problem is that education costs way too much. I don’t have to provide you with the statistics, you already likely have felt it in your pocket-book. The price increases that education is experiencing is one of the fastest of all the industries in the American economy.
Before I describe what will be happening in the future. I will give you a quick bit of my opinion on how I would improve the situation. I personally have a big problem with the idea that we are still teaching our kids to memorize facts. Memorization should be banned from the lexicon of teaching as it is a waste of time since students will likely forget things that they are told to memorize anyway and just look it up later. The principle of memorization implies that you are living in a vacuum where no information is available. In fact, an unlimited amount of information is around us at the touch of a finger tip. Students are wasting time memorizing information. Students instead need to be challenged to think differently and come up with original thoughts on their own and try to explore them. For some reason we wait until college to actually challenge students to have their own opinions on topics and explore them. If we stopped wasting time having students memorize facts we can go straight to encouraging them to start to think for themselves starting in primary school. Tying this idea back to Tyler Oakley, even though his videos are mainly humorous and lighthearted, he still is an original content creator. Original content and ideas will be the future gold mine. Information is everywhere, therefore spitting it back out the same way it was learned will not be acceptable in the future economy. This idea to make students think creatively will be a difficult endeavor to take, but I believe it will help our children compete in this new highly competitive global economy.
The fact of the matter is that information has become basically free to anyone that has an internet connection, so I find it bizarre that we still pay colleges such large sums of money. The textbook companies are even worse offenders as they charge students hundreds of dollars for information that they likely could find online anyway. The internet will be changing this in the future; this is how the student loan bubble will finally end. The great thing about the internet is that you no longer need to learn from a teacher that learned something in a book, you can simply Google a video of the person who has the highest knowledge on the subject and listen to him/her. Of course this is very crude and one cannot simply go to Google University to learn. This is where the Khan Academy comes in. The Khan Academy is a free online source that provides video content and lesson plans to students to help them learn about a wide variety of topics ranging from math to economics.
This is the interesting situation that the education system finds itself in. You can probably learn all of the information you need online, yet students are paying exorbitant amounts of money in tuition. The situation does not make sense. The price of tuition will be reaching a tipping point soon where this realization will come into play and students will stop going to college en masse. This will eventually force the colleges hand at which point they will start to change their teaching methods.
This article was meant to put out some interesting thoughts to how the education system will undergo a paradigm shift in the next ten years. It has often been said that you can get an education in library without paying any tuition at all. This principle has some veracity to it, but of course the information in books isn’t very accessible in the practical sense of getting the information you need in a reasonable amount of time. Now this principle holds water, as the internet has unlocked the information needed to learn basically anything in a short amount of time.
If you have one take away from this article, it should be to go to the Khan Academy website and learn something new! Thanks for reading!