Tag Archives: MIT

What Price Education?

The answer to the above question usually comes up as somewhere between “too much” and “way too much.” It’s kind of strange that, today, when we are both in possession of more knowledge than ever in the history of the planet and it is becoming more and more accessible each hour of the day, that, at the same time, the cost seems to keep going up along with our unwillingness to pay, both seem to be trending upward every day.

And yet, maybe education costs nothing at all except for time? Trends in recent technology have given us the Khan Academy, which has burgeoned into an international sensation. And now YouTube is on-board with EDU – YouTube, making college-level lectures accessible from the top academicians in the world and also free. In addition, MIT has announced that it will be trialling a purely “automated” course online, accessible from anywhere in the world, and will actually give credit for this. In an age of ever-increasing student population, demand for the best education, and limited physical classroom place, this opens up even more possibilities.

But how do you value all this? More importantly, how do those people involved in educating the future leaders, scientists, poets, engineers, etc… of the world, get paid for what they do, when lots of what they do can now be found for free?

Maybe the kids can all just educate themselves? (As these street kids in India, somehow managed to do.)

I don’t think so. I believe the true purpose of good teaching is now clearer than ever before. We can’t just stuff kids heads full of facts anymore, push them through tests and grade levels, and then toss them out into the “real” world where they have a piece of paper that will assure them, at the very least, a job at a factory, fast-food outlet, retail company, or in an office somewhere.

Why not? Because those jobs are disappearing. Fast. Really fast. The robots are coming. (They’re flying, zooming, clicking and clacking into our lives, and even folding shirts.) Those basic jobs are going away forever.

There is really only one choice for us, not just as Americans, but as humans, to survive and thrive. And that’s to teach our kids to innovate, create, engineer, design, explore, shape, tool, express, write, sing, dance, act, even play, their way into the future. The future holds a multitude of jobs for scientists, engineers, craftspeople, writers, designers, architects, chefs, gardeners, and teachers, but not a whole lot of positions will be open for line jobs on the factory floor folding shirts.

How we teach our children to survive and thrive in the world to come will be largely dependent on our teachers. That skill is certainly worth paying however much it is worth. Because it’s priceless.

Thanks for stopping by,

Heather McC