How technology is changing education

The debate about how technology is changing education is gaining strength.

I just spent a few weeks in NYC and now I am back to Milan. NYC was a part-time vacation, let's call it this way. It was mostly about education, so I had some discussions about it too.

Education, like religion, politics, friendship and love, is one of those topics that anyone has a strong opinion about. Not only that, but opinions are very hard to change even in the face of overwhelming evidence. Just as an example, before the fall of the Berlin wall, the political discussion about the merits of communism against capitalism was an endless ideological discussion. Both camps would argue strongly about why one system was better than the other, ignoring the evidence or discarding it as pure noise in the data. It took many years, after the fall of the Berlin wall, for one part of the political spectrum to reconsider their view of communism; the other side of the political spectrum claimed victory without making the necessary changes to their ideology, actually making it even more ideological, paving the way for the crisis we are going through right now.

Going back to education, again everyone has strong opinions about it, and it is next to impossible to have a rational discussion about the subject. It seems to me that, in the end, we will witness a fall of the existing education system much like the fall of the Berlin wall, and only then will it be clear that a new system is in place.

Right now we are seeing the first sprouts of the new system, coming in the form of computer devices, Internet resources, new distribution models, new learning formats and environments. Kids exposed to the new education system, will have a hard time adapting to the existing old school system; there are just too many ways of learning and socializing which are more fun and interesting. Also, parents will have a very hard time choosing what is right for their kids, when presented with so many choices. The risk of sticking with the traditional approach is as big as the risk of doing too many new things.

As an example of how fast things are changing, here are some links about all kinds of education from kids to higher education; the common thread is that education is changing and we do not know where it is going: