The future of education is bright!

I'm not a guru on education [yet], but was recently inspired by a couple of things that are now coming nicely together... and are doing noteworthy work to bring technology to kids, especially where good education is lacking. But I know at least that my wife and I have been cautious in introducing too much tech too early to our kids, as we fear that the positive impact of tech could be overshadowed by an imbalance, if the kids don't develop other skills (e.g. those acquired through sports and play).

Both NoPC and One Laptop Per Child need good content, and I know many companies build great content for this purpose.

But today I followed a TED videocast about the work Salman Khan does in creating educational videos. There were a few interesting things that his organisation has done and found. For example, their data shows that the "slower" kids quickly catch up and become indistinguishable from the "faster" kids: Don't let the pace of learning be a measure of "smarts".

The bit of the TED video that interested me most, was this: Some schools are flipping the education system. The homework becomes something like "Go watch video X". (Benefits include doing this when the kid is less distracted, at the preferred pace with as many repeats as wanted. And without the one-size-fits-all limitation.) And the school period is no longer a 1:many presentation with bored kids with zipped mouthes, but a hands-on old-style-homework workshop of activity, working through the problems collaboratively, noisily and productively, maximising the knowledge of the teacher and smarter kids.

To me, this is inspirational: I love thinking about technology to deliver what it does best, giving my children more face time to *interact* with teachers. And this dovetails well with this Conrad Wolfram's TED presentations (by basically letting machines to the calculations, and teaching kids to ask the right question (formula?) and validating it better).

We are at the mere tip of the iceberg of what tech can do for us in terms of education!


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