Music went digital, books are going digital, and now, your kid’s college education is going digital?
…Since 2001, a growing movement — from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford, and hundreds of other universities worldwide to insurgent bloggers and entrepreneurs barely out of school themselves — is looking to social media to transform higher education. They’re releasing educational content for free to the world and enlisting computers as tutors. Google has scanned and digitized 7 million books. Wikipedia users have created the world’s largest encyclopedia. YouTube Edu and iTunes U have made video and audio lectures by the best professors in the country available for free… (from the article The Virtual University, by Anya Kamenetz – also, don’t miss Anna’s author podcast on WritersCast, here.)
This does seem timely. Most educated people I know are in at least some resentment that they are in their 30′s and are still paying off inflated American-sized college loans – and a lot of them are presently looking for a second, more useful career that has nothing to do with their shiny degree. Yesterday, sending your child to college was a life goal and a source of family pride – the American Dream! – but recently I found myself in conversation with my husband about our daughter (now only three), and the oddest thing happened. We both realized that we really don’t care if she goes to college or not. (We also don’tÂ think that going into debt for life to “own” a home is really that dreamy, though it sure is American!) Anyway, we seem to be much more concerned with our daughter’s overall happiness and her development of practical skills. Will her career keep her employed even in a bad economy? How can we keep her from being saddled with overwhelming stomach-churning debt for most of her life? So then, a literature degree from Bennington College and a big-ass load of debt dumped on her head at 22 isn’t really what I am wishing for her – that’s my life, and I don’t want it to be hers. Send the kid to plumber’s school, get her trained for a ballet company, learn her how to frame art or prescribe eyeglasses, you get what I mean. I sense a paradigm shift. And I like it.
Speaking of digital stuff, etc., here‘s Mark Morford’s review of the iPad, complete with a little smack-talk about the Kindle.