I am a long-time Futurist, and technologist. In my career, I have spanned the birth of personal computers, to the rise of Cloud Computing.
Another easy way we could fix education now.
Last week I talked about how we could improve global education. I did a couple of ideas, the primary one that I was driving the article around was the concept of a passion project for older high school students. A passion project is something you enjoy and want to dive deep and understand. However, there are a bunch of other ideas that I've had over the years. None of them are epically expensive, but all of them would greatly improve our ability to deliver educational services across the board. One of the things I want to emphasize and make sure comes clean in the last two articles about improving education is this is not a teacher issue. I know many teachers throughout the US and the world, I used to run an international teaching society, and at one time, we had more than 15,000 members globally. I've met teachers in every country in the world just about. And I can honestly say the problem isn't teachers. In fairness, I can also tell you that the problem isn't only technology.
We can do things with technology that will greatly improve the educational standing of the world around us. The first thing is a very simple and easy thing to do. The concept of global education is one that we have to get people to accept. Global education means that the education of students in Kenya, students in Moscow, or students in Los Alamos, New Mexico, US, should be the same. I am not calling for a single global process for education. Merely we need to be educating students along the same path in all parts of the world. One of the issues that will impact a fair and equitable education system throughout the world will be the digital divide. As of the writing of this article in April 2022, there are roughly 3 billion people who do not have access to the Internet today. I say roughly because I've seen that number published as 2 billion, 3 billion, and one groups said 5 billion. It depends on two factors: what you consider good and reliable Internet connections and the other is what you consider accessing that good and reliable connection. You may sit in the middle of a city with epically great Internet connectivity, but if you don't t have a device, it's moot.
Based on that, the idea I want to share today is one that I wrote way back in 2010. At that time, I wrote a book called The Syniverse. The concept was simple, to be able to synchronize your data to your device at any time. In that book was a section devoted to education I called the EDUVerse. I wrote the book long before YouTube was a huge success. But the concept in the book fits with YouTube and education. I have many friends who are teachers. My father was a teacher for many years, and of course, I was a teacher for a while. As a former teacher, I can tell you that there are days when teachers, like the rest of us, are not bringing their "A" game (A game is a sports term meaning your best possible game). That is problem 1. Problem two is that there are days students don't bring their "A" game. It happens to all of us, not being at our best. The third issue is the reality of schools. With 20 kids in a classroom, you see that your probability is that at least 2 are not 100% any one day.
School is an opening door; when I say school is an opening door, I go back to the international teaching society I founded, the Society of dead teachers. The logo and motto of that organization was Kindle, the flame of knowledge. Notice that our motto was a flame, not a tiny flickering candle of knowledge but a flame bursting into being. So based on all of this, I'd like to share my idea. First of all, as I said, people have good days and bad days, so you record yourself as a teacher on good days and bad days, and when you have a good day, and the kids get the lesson, and you nail it to the ground, post that video up on YouTube. Even the best lessons may miss one or two kids in that class. I can remember teaching one student who struggled with reading for most of the year. I understood where that student was because I struggled with reading in my early elementary years. I knew, and I kept going and didn't mark that student down for their poor reading skills. I knew once things ignited, they would take off. They did. They became a really good reader by the end of the year.
I remember when my student suddenly got reading. I nearly humped out of my skin for joy!!!!!
I remember well the reading lesson caught this child's attention. I wish I had recorded that, but it was in the days before Youtube! Ultimately, I would like Google to create YouTube Channels for education. The focus would be on grades K-12 and beyond. Group videos by subject areas, so for the early education grouping, it would be reading, initial writing or fundamental language skills, introduction to science and science methods, and core mathematics. If a child doesn't understand the teacher's lesson, they can sit at their home or sit in the library or sit in the parking lot of a laundromat with free Wi-Fi and watch other teachers explain the same concept. You see, education is about kindling the flame of knowledge, it's about creating a desire to learn, and learning is a lifelong quest.
The other side of the YouTube education system could be simply creating the same lessons in multiple languages. No rule says they have to all be English. They can be Spanish lessons; they can be German, Finnish, Russian, Chinese Mandarin, or any other of the many global languages that exist, including Navajo and the languages of the Inuits in Alaska. Presenting a topic to a child in a language they know. Of course, the other side is not just supporting children who move to a new country. Suddenly the teacher is speaking in a language they do not know. But, using the YouTube Education system, we can provide that child with the same lesson in the language they speak. Now we have the ability of someone learning a language to understand it easier by relearning a topic they know well. For example, you're in college and taking Spanish, and you want to improve your Spanish. You can watch core is simple mathematics lessons in Spanish. It is a topic you know, in a language you are learning! If it were done correctly and moderated properly, I think YouTube education could be a game-changer. They are creating a free educational system for everyone. We can replay lessons for students that didn't get it the first time. We can reinforce lessons that students weren't sure they understood. We can show the lesson taught by many different teachers. We can Kindle The Flame of Knowledge to many more children in that diversity!
I will end with this. The Kindle is the flame of knowledge a teacher has to ignite something within the child. The quest for knowledge. What we would build is more than a slight flicker of understanding. We would have a roaring flame that ignites within the child—opening the door to lifelong learning.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2022 DocAndersen