One of my favorites things about Daily Edventures is the inspiration that can be gained by reading and listening to the many different and unique voices and experts in education around the world. Each person we speak with here has a perspective all their own, and by sharing that perspective, it helps us all as a community to grow and learn. So, whenever we get the chance to share the viewpoint of Bill Gates, especially as it relates to education, we jump at the opportunity.
Just last week, Gates gave the opening keynote at the 2013 Microsoft Research Faculty Summit, where he shared his outlook on the contributions that computing can give to our world, specifically in the realm of education and global issues focused on the poorest in the world. He’s clearly optimistic.
“I think it’s fair to say that we are in a golden age of computer science,” said Gates. “Software has only achieved a very small portion of what we want it to do, and even what we need it to do.”
In his keynote and following question and answer session, Gates addresses how computing can make an enormous difference in solving the challenges of education today. He specifically focuses on the fact that the United States has the highest drop-out rate in the world, and how digital interventions – such as a call to a student if they are late or miss a class – can help educators engage those students and “draw them back in.”
Gates also speaks in depth about the new “phenomenon” of massive open online courses (MOOCs), and how he sees them evolving as technology and software catch up to the desire and need for online learning. “Just sticking a camera in front of someone that has a captive audience doesn’t measure up to what’s really going to be necessary in terms of being one of these lectures that contributes on a very broad basis,” says Gates.
What do you think are the biggest contributions software and computing can make to education? Where have you seen technology’s largest contributions to date? Let me know @anthonysalcito.