March 12, 2012 | By Bill Gates
Technology's Promise to Education: Scaling Our Best Teachers
Here's an excerpt from my 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.
Scaling Our Best Teachers
The ease of sharing online means that the best teaching - the best lectures, are becoming increasingly available to anyone. Many teachers are either posting their own lectures and course materials online, or finding and using lectures, courses, and even teaching strategies from our best teachers and incorporating them into their classes.
Teachers have other ways to share and even profit from their ideas. Marketplaces like TeachersPayTeachers are really starting to take off. Over 600,000 teachers are sharing or selling more than 160,000 lesson plans. How does the availability of lectures from our greatest teachers change the way we think about the roles schools play?
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.