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The World is Flat – outsourcing education

Maish recently linked to a video (1 hour, 15 min) presentation by Thomas Friedman (author of The World is Flat). People who have been following trends in technology and education won’t find much new in the presentation (though it is a testament to the value of blogs as a medium that has 3 – 6 month awareness time ahead of mainstream media and traditional information sources). Friedman’s main argument is that technology has flattened the world, and we are now in a global economy that brings countries like China and India to our doorstep as competitors. If an individual has a computer and an internet connection, they can participate in the global economy. How does that impact educators?

Here’s a few articles for reflection: Outsourcing Teaching, Need a tutor? Call India, and as a background article – Why the World is Flat. Like most new trends in education, outsourcing will be result in over-reaction or outright dismissal. Both are wrong approaches to take. The next decade will redefine what it means to work and learn…and it will take place against a global backdrop. Distance won’t matter.

This trend provides many opportunities for educators, especially those with an understanding of collaborative technology. Globalization will flow through the conduit of collaborative tools and new ways of communicating (as in new theories of communication) – both domains in which many educators have already accumulated five plus years experience. Perhaps it is also time to rethink what it means to educate? Maybe educators should be more like connection-makers, and less like content deliverers.