Education of our young started as instinctual and a requirement for simply survival. Formal education dates back a pretty long way too.

Education is a poised to be a great sector to watch.  Want to watch disruption as it occurs? Here is how powerful a thought and technology already developed might be:

So, before we get to how we got to where we are, let’s see where we are as education is on the verge of being disrupted. Costs a lot – check, ripe for existing technology disruption by clinging on to the old model – check that, the dominant model depends on an old model that no longer is working and is using various institutions to maintain the status quo – check.  Read that as good for the world, trouble for those making their living on the old model.

Vastly improved education via the same exponential technologies that are disrupting sector after sector are starting to heat up.  I doubt anything can stop them save something really big and unusual happening.

Here is an example of one of so many experiments that will provide the innovations that lead the way on the path forward.

Check out the Free Classroom Google just kicked down the door with.

Google Classroom Open to Anyone

Check out Google’s 2017 action to open up their Google Classroom

Global Reach – check, Open to Anyone – check,  A solid and logical Foundation – Check, Free – Check. Look out.

The thing is, machines can beat us at almost everything now. Bringing yesterday back like bringing manufacturing back, trade schools, getting more college degrees is looking back and not forward.

As tired as that may sound, exponential technology has made machines better than us at almost everything. But not everything! Further, the pace of change is too fast for four year or even one year degrees in most cases.

And, most of the population has been serving our cause well doing things that machines can already do. If we embrace this disruption of education in an optimal way in parallel with some social policies based on abundance, we likely have a viable road forward to abundance.

Without further ado, here is where we seem to be:

EdTech: Five Online Learning Platforms Shaking Up Business Education | BusinessBecause Moocs make earning degree from couch reality

These are the five already famous disruptive entities.  There are many thousands of efforts going on underneath. Each model is exposed to the competition so that each advantage developed, even the failures, feed potential advances to all in the space (with the exception of those clinging to the old market and the old money in it).

Of the five listed above, here is Thrun on Udacity.

Now, watch what happens in the next few years, maybe a decade. It should be fun. And now, how we got here:

In Europe, the first efforts at universities, driven by students, were quickly replaced by colleges driven by the masters. This model served us reasonably well for hundreds of years. However, it seems we need to get back to letting the students drive the agendas a bit more and use some of this Exponential Technology to meet the new world in front of us.

Today, for the literate and web-connected, any formal education can be supplemented very well by the web. It can be tricky ground, but the working knowledge from a good search query  and practically all of the world’s knowledge is at one’s fingertips.

In fact, when someone asks how to learn about some discreet topic, craft or skill, something akin to teaching them to fish rather than giving them  a fish, merely teach them to search. With that skill, one can unmask the great potential of being their own teacher in partnership with the web, their computer and a search prompt connected to all the great stuff.

Having the world’s knowledge at one’s fingertips became available only a decade or so ago. So powerful, and yet we already seem to take if for granted, underestimating what it is really worth to each individual.

For an example, look at this simple search link directed at the objecting above:

How to learn anything online free

Rephrase the question and you will get more pages of answers. From there, follow your instincts and see how far you can go.  Learn how to search and you can be your own best teacher.

From there, following your interests with proper attention to the feedback loop of what keeps calling out to you is a great deal of what you likely need, at least to get started. Just figure out what you want to learn about today, and then see if that changes tomorrow. Balance this activity with your personal goals and ambitions and reach for what really serves you well.

Clearly, other guidance can often help, but for the many of us that find the traditional approach lacking, there is a door.  If we open and act wisely, doing our best to learn well as we go, there is endless education out there in the electrical ether.

A good teacher can be a great help and many of the best educators can be found online as well. And, our peers are often the best compadres to help learn together.

As an example, here is Sugata Mitra on how self-directed and effective learners a group of kids with a computer can be.

The printing press was a revolution in learning. Formerly available to a few elites of a few types, printing technology allowed for more widespread education driven by the student. But universities provided market accepted accreditation and thereby control.

Universities, government, and other institutions control accreditation and depending on what you want to do for a living, that can still be tricky. Take heart, though, there are lots of areas that don’t require such formalities and also a lot of efforts to provide a path for everyone to not only learn but document what they know for free or at least far more reasonably priced.

These days, university-based higher learning still dominates a great deal of the paths to conventional prosperity. But, while still holding the illusion of being more and more effective, in large part it is more and more expensive and less and less useful in many cases. The market just has not figured out a better way to know what one knows. Technology is beginning to disrupt this industry technology holdout, and soon.

Salman Khan made an incredible start just by teaching his nieces remotely using YouTube.

Perhaps connected computers will finally lead the way to where students are more involved in what they learn.  The explosion of the Internet and the near global availability for free of the entire knowledge is going to explode the old model like it did the dictionary, the video store, and shopping. If one truly knows how to learn on a computer self-sufficiently, the knowledge is there. Mostly what is lacking is a way to truly value what one knows and what that is worth.

In the end, learning is its own reward. Learning seems to be what we are here to do, at least in part.