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Thoughtful piece from Larry Summers on the future of education, technology and learning
Steven Hoagland's profile photoYu-Jen Chang's profile photoOlvin Abarca's profile photoMaurice Walshe's profile photo
Summers's assertion that today's students would be better off learning more statistics and less trigonometry gets a +2.
Changing the education system to teach students how to process information instead of memorizing facts and collaboration are great points to consider. Unfortunately being "judged" by how well you did in an exam (how well you memorized the facts) is not an adequate way to measure someone's knowledge on a given subject.
+James Salsman I cited Benjamin in a paper I wrote a couple years ago making an argument for statistics. I probably should try to publish it because the topic certainly isn't going away.
As a high school junior, I can only hope that education keeps on improving and, as mentioned in the speech, costs for such keep coming down.
My kindle is the best investment I will ever make
I remember the first time I had a university final where textbooks were allowed (this was 25 years ago) - felt very strange at the time though so obviously right (though there is obviously value in exercising memory too) - very excited by how much better education can become with the net
Great share. What I really need to know?

Access to big data and social networks who put these data in context are the main changes as we move into the digital age. This leads to paradigm changes in many areas from science to education.

In order to deal with big data we need to apply systems theory/thinking. We need to look at data holistic and not reductionistic. We need to watch data together at the highest abstraction level.

Social network are also a game changer: Organization structures, such as universities and companies will disappear. These were build in the industrial age in order to reduce transaction costs. The transaction costs on the internet are 0. The novel winning strategy is no longer competition, but collaboration. We will work in collaborative ad hoc networks, build in order to solve problems. Projects like Linux have already shown how future work and collaboration might work.

All together,these changes will provide a new framework and define the needs we will have in respect to learning:
Structural knowledge, both in respect to how to get access and structure data. I need to learn problem solving strategies. I need to know how to get access to collaborative intelligence. I need to know social intelligence.
I whole-heartedly agree with the excellent points made by Mr. Summers. A major obstacle to moving to this next phase in education, however, is the cost of providing every student with high-speed Internet access and a computing device capable of video and interactive textbooks.

Fortunately, the combination of mesh networking and Android provides a wonderful solution to this problem. I've been working on the "Digital Divide" issue for over six years and have finally found a model I believe will work, called eCommUnity ( We're planning a pilot project in Charleston, SC and hope to attract interest and funding with a successful pilot. If all goes well, we hope to eventually help schools implement the recommendations made by Mr. Summers and many others in the education sector (e.g., Salman Khan and others).
Larry Summers is the idiot who helped to deregulate the financial markets during the Clinton era, which led to our current banking crisis during Bush/Obama
Fascinating read from Mr. Summers. Thanks for sharing.
De-evolve the university system back to the apprenticeships. Students are not assembly-line widgets. The most successful leaders and institutions will have a natural incentive to identify, mentor, and promote their most promising employees/students.
Top Universities have evolved to serve their own ends and reputations rather than their students or end-users of their students. They have evolved to perfect their student selection process rather than their instructional excellence. De-evolve the university system back to apprenticeships. Students are not assembly-line widgets and they will naturally be attracted to learning from the successful professionals/leaders they aspire to become. Likewise, business or government leaders have the natural incentive to identify, mentor, and promote their most promising employees/ students/ citizens. Align the incentive for employers to train their own hires to their own job specs and the student pays to the mentors/ employer rather than the middleman (the college).
+Yu-Jen Chang As some one who followed the vocational track (at the elite level not a grunt apprentice) you obvisly do not know what an apprenticeship involves 

Aprenticeships.are assembly line teaching. Mech apprenticeships spent the first year making tea and filing.

You need to undersand the diference bwetween a "trade" and "profession"
I suggest kids should learn less philosophy and more programming
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