"I envision a future, where all of us will have access to teaching assistants like Jill Watson, anytime, anywhere, for any task. I envision a future, in which education will be accessible to all. But teaching and learning will also be personal and fun." Ashok Goel
Jill Watson mentioned in the media.
In a near future state, we can get to a 1:1 student and teacher ratio. Something that is powered by a combination of the following:
I think, 1:1 student and teacher ratio is 7 to 10 years out.
In the interim, MOOCs can help. MOOCs have come a long way since the early days of OpenCourseware (MIT). Today you get quality content from virtually all the leading platforms. From Udacity to Coursera, Khan Academy to Udemy.
However, the engagement and completion rate for MOOCs has been an issue. And I think that these ratios would be much higher if there was:
Technology in the classroom will always have my vote. I have always been a big believer in making use of employing just the right amount of tech in the classrooms. In the past, some of these thoughts have taken the shape and form of actual blog-posts. link, link, link and link.
In the words of Thomas Friedman 'It should not be about time spent (in the classroom) but more about stuff learned". Listening to a teacher for hours on end, droning on about any given topic is a very inefficient mechanism for imparting education. Something that I have blogged about.
Now there has been a lot of good innovation, specifically when it comes to the medium. The medium relating to how education is imparted, focusing on the emergence of MOOCs. But when it comes to delivering the 'concepts', the synthesis of what information is supposed to represent. That problem has been addressed in bits and pieces, as we can only innovative so much within a medium that is confined to text/audio/video.
Here, virtual reality is a game changing product. It will give students of all types the ability to pickup and absorb the knowledge in a much richer format. For example: reading something vs actually performing the task has a completely different impact on your cognitive cycles. The chances that you will forget something that you read are pretty high. In retrospect, your brain forms neural pathways and registers how you go about acquiring any new skills. This is precisely the reason why it is next to impossible to forget a skill, like riding a bike.
Also, there are so many other benefits when it comes to leveraging VR for education. No limitations when it comes to physical space, unlimited chances for trial and error without any harmful effects in the physical world, the ability for collaborating with others from any given part of the world e.t.c. Also, since all the interactions are occurring in the digital world, these interactions and the sum total of the outcomes can be measured and aggregated in greater details. This will be particularly beneficial, when it comes to the issue of jobs, skills training and eventually in getting rid of the job/skills mismatch.
Today I decided to Google the term 'Oculus for education' and when you click on the video section on Google, then this is one of the first videos that comes up (below).
This makes me really happy. This can transform education as we know it, entire societies and the world. But why limit it to just the education industry. Virtual reality can transform the world.
What a great invention! Great work by Palmer Luckey (in particular) and the folks at Oculus Rift.
Great product by Microsoft. In fact, back when I was employed at BlackBerry. I had shared the exact same idea with them.
The goal for Microsoft is to:
David Bowie is not happy. And neither am I. Education needs to be more interactive. Technology can make it happen.
Originally published on March 7, 2013
If it was up to me to re-invent the classroom of the future. Then:
Seems like the audience were more receptive to a blog-post/idea such as the one highlighted above.
Update September 2013
I just noticed this on Stanford University's Facebook page. Stanford's campus in Bangalore, India. hmm
Update September 15, 2014
Teachers:I've had some time to think about the pivotal role that teachers play. I think, if anything the world needs more teachers. That being said, I think that the role that a teacher would play. That role needs to get diversified and take different forms. I think that the fundamental role of a teacher should be to:
a) Encourage learning
b) Answer questions when a student gets stuck.
This can be accomplished by virtue of curating content that is readily available (online) and in different formats. So the students then have the ability to absorb the content as they deem fit.