The Global Classroom

The Internet is the engine of the twenty-first century, and it will propel students of all ages, from all corners of the globe, into a successful future. With sufficient bandwidth, students can now meet up virtually and study together – or with the leading experts on the planet.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIFORNIA – When I taught at Stanford University in the 1970’s, I was always on the lookout for ways that technology could help to improve learning. The big innovation of that time was that my classes were broadcast around the San Francisco Bay Area. We even sent videotapes of lectures farther afield.

Today, teachers record and upload their lectures, and, thanks to the Internet, students anywhere in the world can watch them as many times as they want. Education – one of the last big economic sectors yet to be transformed by the digital age – is on the cusp of a revolution. And why shouldn’t it be digitized? The Web is the fuel of the twenty-first century, and it will propel students of all ages, from all corners of the globe, into a successful future.

For example, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) offer free or low-cost, high-quality higher-education classes to hundreds of thousands of people on the Internet, making it easier to learn whatever – and wherever – they want. I see similar opportunities coming to primary and secondary education in the future.

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