I hope so.
Consider the fact that primary schools, high schools, colleges and universities were established when information production and dissemination was very expensive, while at the same time gathering teachers and students together in one location was comparatively inexpensive.
The economics (in the bare-bones sense of the termâ€”whatâ€™s easiest?) of the situation demanded the establishment of formal, physical schools so that hard-won knowledge could be passed onto the next generation.
This is no longer the case, as this article points out so well. Information in the form of books and lectures can be captured and posted online. Students may access them at will. The new information technologies are turning the economics of schooling upside down. And as a life-long learner, Iâ€™m glad.
My niece in Arizona will be graduating with an associate degree from Phoenix University this summer. She may or may not go on to â€œnormalâ€ college. I hope she doesnâ€™t. The flexibility of her schooling and work life will be lost.
I urge her and other students her age and younger to seriously consider never going to a physical college or university. Learn as much as you can as fast as you can as cheaply as you can online. While doing so, get experience in the workplace. Youâ€™ll be far better prepared for life in the 21st century than your fellow students who take the traditional educational path.
Written by Elaine Jarvik
Published in the Deseret News April 20
Last fall, David Wiley stood in front of a room full of professors and university administrators and delivered a prediction that made them squirm: “Your institutions will be irrelevant by 2020.”
Wiley is one part Nostradamus and nine parts revolutionary, an educational evangelist who preaches about a world where students listen to lectures on iPods, and those lectures are also available online to everyone anywhere for free. Course materials are shared between universities, science labs are virtual, and digital textbooks are free.
Institutions that don’t adapt, he says, risk losing students to institutions that do. The warning applies to community colleges and ivy-covered universities, says Wiley, who is a professor of psychology and instructional technology at Brigham Young University.
America’s colleges and universities, says Wiley, have been acting as if what they offer â€” access to educational materials, a venue for socializing, the awarding of a credential â€” can’t be obtained anywhere else. By and large, campus-based universities haven’t been innovative, he says, because they’ve been a monopoly.
But Google, Facebook, free online access to university lectures, after-hours institutions such as the University of Phoenix, and virtual institutions such as Western Governors University have changed that. Many of today’s students, he says, aren’t satisfied with the old model that expects them to go to a lecture hall at a prescribed time and sit still while a professor talks for an hourâ€¦.