In one of those weird coincidences, during the week that India was declared polio free — with lots of help from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, I had an opportunity to hear Bill Gates speak about education at a conference in Seattle. To appreciate the significance of this one only needs to ask a senior parent about polio and the terrible physical and mental anguish that this disease caused in our country until the mid 1950’s.
The picture thumbnail to the left is from Agence France-Presse. Click on the image to visit a large picture of these people celebrating the eradication of polio. To learn more read this Kaiser Daily Health article, India Taken Off WHO List of Polio Endemic Countries.
Below I’ve shared some of the interesting points from Bill Gates’ education presentation at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) conference. The foundation is no less energized in the area of 21 Century and digital learning than it is in international health.
- Gates believes that we have a big opportunity for change over the next ten years.
- Teaching is not about access to knowledge — it’s about making the material relevant and connecting the learning with information that will nourish minds. Oh and creating more knowledge…
- Judgement and critical evaluation skills (about content) will be paramount.
[My note: This goes for kids, adolescents, adults, and seniors. We all need to develop, and we especially need to help our aging parents develop the skills to evaluate the unlimited information at our fingertips.]
Continuing with Bill Gates’ thoughts…
- New technology is not about saving money. When we save money in one place, the new more digital program uses the money saved.
- Technology just adds personalization, customization, and access — not a substitute for a teacher.
- The Gates Foundation goal is to reduce the educational divide so that the children with little access now gain a more equal footing.
- Over the next 10 years Gates believes that educators will spend time:
- changing and redesigning textbooks;
- identifying our best teachers and their skills and helping other teachers improve their skills;
- connecting learners and learning through social network; and
- personalizing learning — helping learners develop a knowledge path that is based on previous learning successes.