Breaking News From the Future: Technology Puts an End to Illiteracy
This is my tenth year of teaching and I cannot believe how much technology has changed during these years. It has gone from almost none, (2 Desktops in my first classroom) to almost all (1:1 iPads in my current classroom) and everywhere in between along the way.)
Will education as we know it change because of technology?
Of course it will! It already has. Thanks to technology, students have access to a variety of tools that enable them to access the curriculum and demonstrate their knowledge and understanding. This we already know, but how can technology truly revolutionize education? I believe that with the free-flow of information and MOOCs that education has the potential (and in some cases already is) becoming widely available to all, not just those who can afford it and are in a geographical location where they can legally and safely obtain it).
- People living at and below the poverty line will have access to a primary, secondary and higher-education.
- People living in conflict areas could have access to education (depending on the infrastructure with regards to Internet access)
- Women and girls who are denied an education because of their gender can safely access education.
Technology has the power to revolutionize education as we know it.
Shai Reshef is already doing this. He has established the University of the People. The world’s first fully accredited low-cost, on-line university. His idea is simple.
UoPeople is able to offer tuition-free education because of its use of volunteers, Open Educational Resources, open-source Technology and peer-to-peer learning. More than 5,000 professionals have volunteered for the university, filling key UoPeople leadership positions including University President, Provost, Academic Deans, Course Developers, Academic Advisers and Course Instructors.
Thanks to technology, we have the power to make illiteracy something of the past. This map shows our planet’s current literacy rates. You can view an interactive version of this map here. My biggest take-away from this map. Low-income countries have the highest rates of illiteracy. It’s not a surprise to me that this is the case, but it is something I want to help fix.
How will technology change how I teach in the next 5-20 years. My hope is to be a part of this movement that Shai Reshef has started. I hope to be able to contribute back to society by utilizing technology in a way that helps everyone who wants an education to be able to get one. Ways in which I can do this:
- Volunteering my time with organizations that provide free or low-cost MOOCs, like the University of the People.
- Design free web-based apps that help deliver education to the masses.
- Educate my students about ways they can make a difference in the lives of others.
- Linking my class with classes that do not have the same access to resources that we do and share our learning and experiences together.