Online resources are changing the education system
by Dawn Ballou, Editor, Pinedale Online!
February 12, 2015
The digital age has given people a freedom never before seen in history to allow them to educate themselves and go in directions of learning they choose to go. Anyone who wants to know anything on just about any subject can now find from bread-crumbs to volumes of information within seconds from internet-connected devices. People are turning more and more to social media, interactive chat, online news media, and blogs to stay informed. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), online high schools and universities, YouTube videos, Wikipedia and many more websites are growing as informational resources for people to educate themselves.
Google’s Project Loon global WI-FI balloon internet, and Media Development Investment Fund’s miniature satellite "cubesates" in space to create an "outernet," are already ongoing to give the power of free internet access to even the remotest and far-flung corners of the world by as soon as this summer. These systems are bypassing the stranglehold some governments want to control information access for their populations. Global internet access is giving power to the people to receive world news, hear a variety of viewpoints, and gain access to information and education. Instead of people having to go to a physical school to connect to teachers for access to learning and skill building, education is now becoming readily available where the people are, whether that be a remote village in Africa, an impoverished Latin American farm, or someone on a two-week backpacking trip in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming.
It is becoming more and more questionable that requiring taxpayer-funded brick and mortar schools to educate the public will be necessary in the future. Online schooling has more variety of subject choices, access to more teachers and mentors, can give real-time dynamic connection and feedback with a live teacher, and the freedom to spend as much time on a subject as a student wants. The rapid change in how people are educating themselves today unveils the realization that the whole debate over the merits of Common Core, or the future of governmental regulation attempts to force control of a one-size-fits-all common education curriculum across the population is quickly becoming a moot point.
As internet access feeds become available to the 60% of the world’s population who do not yet have it, the future looks exciting for access to education and learning, expansion of business opportunities, economic development, and global cultural exchange and communication. The internet has become this generation’s digital trans-continental railroad to bridge land and water barriers, bring cultures together, and create new opportunities and economic prosperity for future generations. With access to the internet, people can physically live and recreate in one place and at the same time work, get an education, and do commerce in another just about anywhere around the planet. Students no longer must leave their homes and families to become educated. By the same token, by using their heads and fingers, then using their feet, people can relocate from areas of oppression and escape hostility to get to more favorable places on the planet to have an opportunity to find peace and pursue their dreams.
The new frontiers of tomorrow might be outer space or under the oceans, under the lens of a microscope or in the suburban back yard, or on the computer in Mom and Dad’s basement. The opportunities for education, communication and exploring new ideas seem limitless and even brighter than ever before.
See the links below for more on this topic.
An astonishing glimpse of the high-tech future of universities - By Jonathan Jansen, rdm.com.za, Nov. 27, 2014
Project Loon - Google’s world-wide internet service via a high-altitude balloon network
YouTube University - Free educational videos from Universities
Weaving the world together - Mass migration in the internet age is changing the way that people do business - economist.com, Nov 19th 2011
Introducing The Outernet: Free, Worldwide Wi-Fi Access Beamed From Space - By Ryan W. Neal, International Business Times, Feb. 17, 2014
Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) - Wikipedia
Attention Small Government Conservatives: You Should All Be Homeschool Advocates - By Matt Walsh, theblaze.com, Feb.11, 2015
Michigan K-12 digital online courses