Elon Musk, Cyber School And A Free Basic Education For Every Child In The World
This year our little girl is attending Cyber School. She is in Kindergarten and we decided on Connections Academy as her school because we wanted her to be able to get the best possible education in as individualized (customized) a way as possible. Connections is a STEM focused school and I think that an individualized, tech based curriculum will best enable her to succeed in the world of tomorrow. Although at this point I should probably say a STEAM focused education since she has a lot of interest in and some talent for art.
Additionally, a cyber school will give us mobility if we need it in order to chase my own interests as a writer and video maker. I love to travel and try to share my life with my family as much as possible. Often times opportunities for me arise elsewhere and rather than be separated while I work we can all take the trip and explore new places together..
More important, right now we live in Central Pennsylvania which is at the center of the opioid crisis that America faces. It seems like every day there is another story in the local press about overdose deaths, arrests and parents who’s kids have suffered, and occasionally died, due to their parents addicted lifestyle.
For all of the kids in these situations that are noticed because they make the news there are probably ten times as many who are never noticed. Those poor kids live their parents lifestyle by osmosis and are the potential peer group that would surround our child in public school. No matter how well you try to teach your kids to have goals and to excel, the environment that they spend 6 hours a day in every day undeniably does have an effect on molding them and I could not justify putting her into that situation if there was a better choice.
Private schools have pretty much always been reserved for those with either religious conviction or the wealth to afford them and tend to turn out good students. Elon Musk for example, started his own private school for his two sons. That may be the extreme version of a private school but it does eliminate all of the bad parts of public school and allow for an individualized education from the best teachers money can buy.
The quality of education matters in in any school of course, but I think that being surrounded by kids that come from like minded parents is also a big factor in the eventual outcome of their education. The same can be said about the social environment that the kids in the school come from. Every neighborhood has it’s own “personality” and accepted norms and these things can vary widely. With free, online cyber schools the benefits of private schools are open to all families who have the desire to make them work irrespective of income or physical surroundings.
Cyber schools such a ours do require a commitment of time from a parent or other Learning Coach to make sure the student gets the full benefit of the online education experience. This despite the 2 way video interaction with teachers and other students that is part of the education experience at Connections Academy.
As I became more aware of how a cyber school for kids can work I realized that we now have the ability to bring a free, basic, First World education to students in most areas of the World Just like American kids are entitled to. We can deliver a standardized educational program via the Internet that is tailored to function on smartphones as the primary delivery method. This has the power to change the world in really fundamental ways. An educated populace can make better decisions on who and how they should be governed. Old myths from the past tend to have less influence on their lives too as they can see a real, meaningful future for themselves in our shared world.
This linked story on the number of children in various regions of the world who are not enrolled in school really drives home the point that this is something that is needed. Most of the un-schooled children are from 3rd world/economically disadvantaged parts of the world. Girls make up a proportionally larger number of the un-schooled overall and this may be due to social/cultural traditions in many cases.
It is estimated that in 2017 there were 2.4 billion smartphone users worldwide. This is projected to increase to 6.1 billion people by 2020. “ Those 6.1 billion smartphone users works out to some 70 percent of the world’s population using smartphones in five years’ time, a measure of just how central these devices are becoming to how we communicate with each other and do much more”.
With 70% of the world’s population able to access the Internet I think that we are on the verge of fundamental changes in how we relate to each other on a global level and providing a basic education for all children should be one of our first priorities. Even kids in remote areas could be reached via connectivity efforts like Google’s Project Loon which uses high altitude balloons to bring the Internet to everyone.
So a global basic education is possible today and will just become easier to achieve over the next few years. It will not require school buildings or teachers on site or capital investment in poor areas. It is something that can be implemented on demand to those in need via smartphones on existing networks, It is disruptive technology at its best.
I saw an update from Singularity University the other day in which they refrenced an existing program that does exactly what I have been talking about in this article for one group of kids; those in war ravaged Syria. It is a Norwegian program that created two apps to; “help(ing) Syrian children learn how to read in Arabic and improve their psychosocial wellbeing”.
The apps are made as games. I think that games are a great way to user in a New World Order that focuses on a global community. Games let people interact and have fun and get to know each other, It gives a common purpose and a reason to hang out together. Gaming has been doing this for a long time (online, multiplayer games) and with the growth of VR and live video chat I think it will only keep on bringing more and more of the world together.