The tipping point for Internet education?


Students of Hondsrug College use iPads during an English class April18 in Emmen, The Netherlands. (LEX VAN LIESHOUT/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

On Monday, UnCollege leader Dale J. Stephens made the case against conventional education, and we noticed a number of comments in opposition. If you’re among those who disagree with Stephens, or if you agree and want to know more about the UnCollege movement, he’s going to be online tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. ET to take your questions, which you can pose now.

But we also noticed a piece from the Next Web highlighting an infographic from the company behind the adaptive learning platform Knewton. A look at the graphic shows that, whether or not you agree that unconventional schooling is the way to go, Internet-based education may have reached its tipping point.

Knewton is clearly biased in favor of disrupting the education system — that’s at the heart of their business. But they’re not advocating for doing away with the conventional classroom entirely (neither is Stephens for that matter), merely augmenting it with a Web-based tool that would customize education for each student.

Web-based classroom tools are not new: Companies such as Blackboard, which has acquired many of its competitors, have been working on new classroom tools to optimize educators’ and students’ Web-based teaching and learning experience for some time. But the rising cost of college, combined with a poorly performing economy and an unemployment rate brushing 10 percent, has many students looking for cost-friendly alternatives to their education. Meanwhile, the poor performance of America’s students relative to their global peers has educators and administrators looking for a way to implement overall improvements to the education system.

All of this combines to make American education ripe for disruption.

(The Next Web)

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