We Live in a World Where We Can Educate Everyone

I think online education has the opportunity to completely blow this thing inside out where everybody has access to really great education. 

The universities were essential because in the old days, the cost of distribution and the cost of convening was so high that you had to pick the smartest kids around and you would invest a lot of money to education them because there just wasn’t that much education to go around.   


With the Internet, you can give access to information to everybody at no cost, and you can actually convene people online on these online education forums and things like that.  So suddenly, we’ve gone from a world of scarcity where you could only education a certain number of people every year to a world where you should be able to educate everyone.  

And so I think one of the key things that we need to do is take these business models that we’ve created and these institutions that we’ve created that are designed around the fundamental notion of scarcity and for instance, things like admissions quotas and things like that - I think online education has the opportunity to completely blow this thing inside out where everybody has access to really great education.  And then some of the people move on to get different types of interaction.   

Obviously there’s some limitations to how many people can fit in a physical room and things like that, but I think that online education is the – is really the beginning of a fundamental shift from sort of the mindset of scarcities and one of abundance.  And so I think it’s’ – there’s a lot that needs to be developed and we’re still in the very early days.  And I think we’re till focused too much on the delivery of instruction rather than delivery of construction and the delivery of education instead of the delivery of learning.  I think it’s much more important to teach people how to think than it is to teach people facts.  And we’re still very much focused on testing people for whether they’ve learned a fact, than whether they’ve learned a skill or a pattern. 

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

4 reasons Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for universal basic income

In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.

(Photo by J. Wilds/Keystone/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
  • The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
  • Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
Keep reading Show less

Dead – yes, dead – tardigrade found beneath Antarctica

A completely unexpected discovery beneath the ice.

(Goldstein Lab/Wkikpedia/Tigerspaws/Big Think)
Surprising Science
  • Scientists find remains of a tardigrade and crustaceans in a deep, frozen Antarctic lake.
  • The creatures' origin is unknown, and further study is ongoing.
  • Biology speaks up about Antarctica's history.
Keep reading Show less

Why I wear my life on my skin

For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.

Videos
  • In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
  • This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
  • Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
Keep reading Show less