Isaac Asimov on the Future of Education

Apple made the news earlier this week when they announced their new digital textbook platform. It included interactive textbooks that enabled all sorts of new bling. If you listened to the hype, Apple was going to revolutionize education. But if you're like me, you saw through the hype and realized that Apple's shiny new toys were just  fancy new way to show the same old textbooks as before.But there was an upside to the news; it's brought up all sorts of older articles and discussions on the future of education. Take this interview of Isaac Asimov, for example. It dates to 1988, and the interviewer is Bill Moyer.

Isac saw the future of eduction not as Apple presented it on Thursday; that was merely an interesting demo of new ways to bundle the same old info as before. No, he foresaw that computers were going to enable students to seek out knowledge on their own. Computers would give students access to all the knowledge in all the libraries in the world. He predicted Wikipedia, Google, and the vast mount of information that you can now find online. He wanted to turn students loose and let them teach themselves.

And he was right. While it's not a replacement for the classroom, letting students pursue their own interests does help them learn. I know this from my own experience; I learned more in college from whatever random outside project caught my interest than I ever learned in the classroom.

About Nate Hoffelder (11585 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

1 Comment on Isaac Asimov on the Future of Education

  1. One of my English teacher gave me this advice (which I still live by, by the way) when I asked him how to write a certain word: Look it up in a dictionary, that way you’ll remember it for the next time. And he was right. I’ve never forgotten how to write that word (the fact that I even remember what the word was, should say enough!) And I think Asimov was right in that respect: students will teach themselves, and the teacher will be the person to shed light on certain dark parts and make all, not by telling them, but by putting them on the right track (for example, with discussions).

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