October
2013
19

Isaac Asimov and Education

Isaac Asimov

I think one of the greatest minds of the last century was Isaac Asimov. He wrote more than 500 books in various genres and is considered one of the biggest science fiction writers in history. I am a big fan of his most famous work, the Foundation Series. Enough presentations for a man that needs no introductions. If you want to learn more about him, you can always start by reading his entry in Wikipedia.

 

This time I am sharing an interview of Isaac Asimov on Bill Moyers World of Ideas. One of the most interesting parts of the interview is when he speaks about education, or to be precise about his vision of the future of education. You should keep in mind that it was 1988, so no internet, no Wikipedia, no Khan Academy and no Coursera.

Here is a fragment of the interview (In English with Spanish subtitles for those who are more comfortable in that language).

 

 

If you want to see the whole interview, you can access it clicking by here on the link to Isaac Asimov on Bill Moyers World of Ideas.

 

He explains that before in old days people who wanted an education and were privileged enough needed to hire a personal tutor. We had a one-to-one relationship for the few people who were able to pay for a tutor. Then we reached a point where there was one teacher for a great number of students, organized through a curricula or syllabus to teach from. It was a one-to-many relationship for the many.

 

He envisioned a world where there was a quality one-to-one relationship between information source and information consumer, a one-to-one relationship for the Many in education. Everybody was able to have a personal relationship with education.

 

He basically foresaw among other things what we call today MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses), where people can learn about what they want, when they want. Someone could access a “library of knowledge” and learn in a personal way on his own time without any impositions. Everyone can have a teacher in the form of access to the gathered knowledge of the human species through that “library of knowledge” connected to the computer network, and all of this on his desk or on his mobile device.

 

Today, you can learn almost whatever you want online. Think about the number of things you can learn in YouTube just to pick a service. For instance I learned how to play guitar by watching videos of people teaching on YouTube. Would I ever even grabbed a guitar if it wasn’t for all the online information available? maybe not.

I have also taken courses at Coursera and edX, both great platforms with great potential and with a quality that was almost equivalent to the courses I went to in the university. The possibilities here are endless.

 

The education in the world has seen so many disruptions in the past twenty years, I believe we are not capable of seeing the full picture yet. That is why I think this video, which is more than 25 years old, is mind-opening. It gives you perspective of what is happening in our day-to-day life without us having the time to stop and appreciate it.

Share your thoughts!

One Response to “Isaac Asimov and Education”

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