Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Five Years From Now: Bill Gates

Bill Gates recently spoke at the Techonomy Conference in Lake Tahoe, California, and during a Q & A time, provided some interesting insights into how education is delivered. He predicted future trends in answer to a question about "whether he thought that online education could potentially supersede in-person education".

Bill Gates: In Five Years the Best Education Will Come From the Web (from TechCrunch, August 6, 2010)

"Five years from now on the web for free you’ll be able to find the best lectures in the world... It will be better than any single university."

He believes that no matter how you came about your knowledge, you should get credit for it. Whether it’s an MIT degree or if you got everything you know from lectures on the web, there needs to be a way to highlight that.

But college needs to be less “place-based,” according to Gates. Well, except for the parties, he joked.

But his overall point is that it’s just too expensive and too hard to get these upper-level educations. And soon place-based college educations will be five times less important than they are today.

He also says this about homeschooling:
You have to look at different phases, where K to 12 is partly about babysitting the kids so the parents can do other things. Yes, having the kids go to a common place for K through 12, I don't predict some radical change in that. Homeschooling is about three or four percent and it keeps getting better. In fact, they are on the cutting edge of using some of these tools and giving feedback for those...

Open Culture already has a list of what's already available online, for free, from "top" universities. Their "collection includes over 250 free courses in the liberal arts and sciences".