John Robb writes about the potential for transformation of the educational system:
* Lectures. Videos of lecture series, plus associated materials, are available for many courses at some of the best Universities in the world (i.e. see MIT’s open courseware). Online videos are not only better than in-person lectures in many respects, they also allow you to get the best. There is no need to recreate the lecture with tens of thousands of less qualified/exceptional teachers.
*Application. As MIT is finding out, JIT (just-in-time information) in combination with simulated application of the concept to real scenarios is the best method for success. The advent of computer simulated virtual worlds for in the computer gaming industry have proven this combination (JIT info and immediate application) can train kids to adults in complicated and complex tasks in a fraction of the time other methods require.
* Collaboration. The business world is already shifting on online collaboration as a replacement for most in-person work (the economic crisis will only accelerate it). In my personal experience developing exceeding complex products, its possible to conduct the entire process from ideation to delivery online without any face to face contact (at great savings in time to direct expense). Unfortunately, this ability/skill/mindset isn’t central to the educational world, despite the fact that students are currently doing much of this already in their private lives with social software.