March 12, 2012 | By Bill Gates
Technology's Promise to Education: Personalizing Learning
Excerpt from Bill's recent speech at the NAIS Annual Conference on how teaching and learning will be transformed in the decade ahead.
I believe technology can help teachers be more effective and make learning more interesting. I've been watching what's been happening with these technologies very closely. Despite the clear momentum, we are still very early in this movement. There are so many entrepreneurs, so many programs and resources available, it can be challenging to know where to start.
I see four main 'flavors' of online learning: reimagining textbooks, scaling our best teachers, connecting through social networks, and personalizing learning.
This is also called flipping the classroom. Students know where they stand, and teachers know what they need to do. It's about drilling down with social, gameplay, and individualized instruction to get closer to the ultimate 1:1 learning experience - with real-time feedback for both students and teachers to tailor learning for each student.
Great gameplay makes Manga High's instruction fun and engaging. They've got lots of games but easy to understand data makes it really powerful. Dashboards offer feedback and encouragement for students and they help teachers understand which students are doing great, which are struggling, and how hard they're trying.
Khan Academy is delivering over 125 million lessons across more than 2,600 videos. They've been busy developing new functionality that's even more impressive. In math, students are able to work at their own pace and test themselves against hundreds of discrete assessments. Teachers can then use Khan Academy to flip the classroom, assigning video lessons as homework, and using class time for exercises and pinpoint instruction.
There really is no limit to what teachers can do if they have the right resources. A decade from now, finding and using the best content and technology will be as natural as opening a book. Tablets and high-speed Internet access will be ubiquitous. Each student will have a learning map that helps chart their interests and learning path inside and outside the classroom. And the concept of the textbook will fade—replaced by easy online access to the best lectures and course materials available.