Digital Education

// Posted by on 04/01/2013 (12:47 AM)

The digital world as a third space exists globally as an alternative universe for many users. The network is global, made up of infinite localities. Local problems now have the opportunity to receive attention in a global forum and attract attention through that outlet. Digital culture pervades much of our daily lives at University of Richmond and I believe the same is becoming increasingly true across the nation and across the world. Every day people are finding new ways to use this digital space to improve or change their situation in their current physical space. Right now, look at education in the US. It’s no secret that college in the US is expensive. Many students will graduate in debt from student loans and countless others will not be able to afford college in the first place. But what if all it took to get an education was a laptop?

Salman Khan, a former analyst at a hedgefund, founded Khan Academy, a not-for-profit organization that seeks to provide “a free world-class education to anyone anywhere.” The Khan Academy was voted one of the 50 best websites of 2011 by TIME Magazine. There are over 2000 videos in 27 languages that cover a range of subjects and topics. Khan came up with the idea for his organization while tutoring his cousins remotely via YouTube videos. Now, because of Khan’s organization, millions of people worldwide have access to this digital classroom. What also makes this classroom unique is the structure; the student learns at his or her own pace, meaning that no student is left behind.

In this TEDTalk from Khan, he discusses his inspiration and vision for the Academy and the ways it can influence what is happening in the physical space for education.

What are the implications of a shift to digital education? Will college attendance numbers decrease? Is there a reliable measure of success from digital education versus a “physical” education? For those without the time or resources to earn a full degree at a university, Khan Academy could be an opportunity for upward social mobility. An education opens the doors to a whole range of careers and access to other connected resources. Where do you think there is the most potential for this type of digital education? Could it help immigrants from Mexico and elsewhere to earn better wages and fill more specialized positions? Is digital education useful for US citizens?

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Vicky said...

Celia, like I said in class I think Khan Academy is a very interesting idea…but it raises a lot of concerns with me. I just feel like why invest so much money and time into creating these online spaces when our physical spaces, like our public schools, need so much help, financially and otherwise, themselves. I feel like the shift to digital education could erode our physical education systems and even the education system in general…because as we talked about in class online classes take a lot of personal motivation and call on personal responsibility…but some students, especially younger ones, lack both of those and often need that push from physical institutions and laws in place in the real world. I mean there is a reason that institutions, such as our own university, avoid going digital right? This leads me to a more general question….is the digital realm a threat to our physical world/societies overall?

// 04/03/2013 at 11:10 pm