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Megan Summers

Impact Entrepreneurship Group

TEDCRED 500+

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Is the internet, not formal education, the new great equalizer?

Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, the balance-wheel of the social machinery. – Horace Mann

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  • Oct 6 2011: As an instructor who has to teach some courses online, I have found that online learning leaves behind the non-traditional student and the low-income student because they did not grow up online. Their learning curve with technology distracts and hinders them from interacting with the course content. At first blush, this seems to support replacing "Education" with "Internet" in Mann's quote, but (and this is a big but) that would be contingent on your definition of "social machinery." Are they anti-social? They have strong relationships, good friends, and sociable personalities (as much as any of us...).

    Additionally, the "internet" can mean so many things relative to social behavior. Does this include a person who only goes online to play single player games on the internet? Does this preclude a person who prefers face to face interactions and chooses to stay offline?

    Maybe, instead, we should ask: "Is there a great equalizer?"

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