I have listened to what Bill Gates has talked about over the years since he retired from Microsoft. Honestly I don’t agree with much of what he says but since he has billions of dollars, he can affect things even if he’s wrong. He and his foundation has been tackling improving education for a number of years. He tends to look at the factory model of schooling as something that needs improving with technology, not something that needs scrapping like I do. Where I do find him most interesting though is when he talks about the developing world. These are places without an established infrastructure of public schools so it is sort of a blank slate.
So here is what he has said lately. H/T TheVerge
In his foundation’s 2015 annual letter, Bill Gates describes a future in which world-class education is only a few taps away, for anyone in the world. “Before a child even starts primary school, she will be able to use her mom’s smartphone to learn her numbers and letters, giving her a big head start,” he speculates. “Software will be able to see when she’s having trouble with the material and adjust for her pace. She will collaborate with teachers and other students in a much richer way.” Career paths, Gates speculates, will be built into this new education system — students will be able to lift themselves out of poverty by figuring out the requirements for their chosen field and fulfilling them with online classes. And software will connect students to distant teachers and each other.
I agree with what he says here. I was a bit thrown off by his “primary school” comments but I think he is referring to online schools rather than an actual classroom with age grouped classes.
So why won’t this work in the US? We may very well enter a phase where there will be more innovative minds in the “third world” than there are in the first world because their learning will be tailored to making the best of each person. We will see.
Here’s the video that goes along with the article.