Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Is Bill Gates Looking Towards Microsoft University?

Bill Gates

Photo: Bill Gates

Bill Gates is so confident online learning will kill conventional schools, he even assigned it a timeline.

“Five years from now on the web for free you’ll be able to find the best lectures in the world,” said Gates, while speaking at the Techonomy conference in Lake Tahoe. It will be better than any single university.”

His theory isn’t unreasonable. Napster and iTunes did their share to close countless CD stores. Netflix and readily available movie downloads filled out Blockbuster’s bankruptcy paperwork for them.

Gates conceded that kindergarten through grade 12 still are best delivered in the classroom, and the early social interaction is crucial. However, he points to all the wasted resources in post secondary institutions today, most notably enormous textbooks.

He said American textbooks are three times longer than the ones used in Asia. “They’re giant, intimidating books,” he said of American textbooks. “I look at them and think: what on Earth is in there?”

In his 2010 annual letter, Gates goes a step further and outlines what he feels can be done to bring online learning to the forefront. He said the first step is streamlining and concentrating the resources that are available for students now.

“We should focus on having at least one great course online for each subject rather than lots of mediocre courses. Once we have this material in place, it can be used in many different ways.”

Ryan Leclaire
Author: Ryan Leclaire
Ryan has been writing for 7 years and has been featured in Chatelaine, Canadian Living and Cottage life.
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