I was recently honored to be asked to cover a conference at the University of Chicago. The main topics discussed were in regard to higher education, K-12, online learning and the Fulbright Scholarship. The panel was fascinating, as it opened up with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and continued with discussions from some of the best and brightest in the field of education, both locally and internationally.
The topic was about online learning, MOOC's, higher education, the Fulbright Scholarship and the goals and challenges we face in a new era of virtual education, relationships and cultural diversity.
The message that struck me on a personal level was the following fact: There are some countries that only have 7% Internet access and possible usage. Many people around the world do not have access to the Internet, online education, free resources, Google, Linkedin, Facebook and many of the things that have changed so many lives forever.
In education, it is very easy to point fingers, push blame and remain angry about the things we do not have. However, in the US, we have access to free information every minute of the day and many of us walk around with Google in our pockets. Instant education, research, connections, and relationships keep us bonded and provide us with opportunities we never knew existed even 10 years ago.
Maybe instead of searching for what is wrong with education, we can search for what is right. On an international level by comparison, we are quite fortunate to have information at our fingertips.
Sometimes, we need to look at the entire playing field and focus on the full glass, rather than the empty glass. We have some amazing teachers both online and offline, and this week is for all of those who make a difference, inside and outside of the classroom. Hats off to all of the amazing teachers for Teacher Appreciation Week.
How can we help our international friends less fortunate in this realm?