11/26/2011

Education's changing role

William Butler Yeats said: "Education is not filling a bucket, but lighting a fire." That may be more true today than ever before.

The reason of course is the explosion of high quality, free lessons online. Nearly anything you want to learn is there waiting to be accessed by anyone with an interest in trying to absorb it. These aren't just courses by random bloggers, either. Stanford, Yale, Harvard, Berkeley and MIT all have classes available free to the general public. As repositories of knowledge, most of us are woefully outmatched.

Paradoxically, most students aren't sure how to leverage the internet to squeeze the greatest amount of good out of this endless bounty. That, I believe, is where we can serve as guides. By daily teaching critical thinking, study habits and organizational skills we can help students gain the mental agility to glean the fruits of the internet. Our role is changing from someone who helps build up a knowledge base to a trainer for thinking skills.