TED Conversations

Megan Summers

Impact Entrepreneurship Group


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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 7 2011: I gain more as a independent learner in a year (with a full time job and family on the side) than I did in four years of undergrad studies at a top state university. I have found that it is access and reduction of friction in that access that makes the biggest difference. e-books, audio books, iPads, internet TV (multiple devices), social media, web apps, mobile apps all make learning better directed and yet broader at the same time. They also allow me to learn while on my morning run, driving in my car, in-between kid schedules and when I just want to relax in front of a good documentary on Netflix or TED talk on Hulu. It is my hope and belief that an increasing number of individuals will see that there is a world of knowledge, communities and support to self-direct a richer more meaningful and individual education than could ever be achieved in a one-size fits all institutional environment. I have a 10 year old and a 6 year old. I hope when they are of college age (maybe sooner), I can say, I put your college money in a trust fund for you, let's see what you can learn.
    • Oct 7 2011: One thing I learned at school and am very grateful for is the knowledge of how to learn and how to question what i learn about and apply my own moral filters. That knowledge I treasure every day and I hope that I am able to transmit some of it to my children.
      Everything else is personal effort. The internet provides both new tools and new libraries but to have it really make a difference one needs to know how to best benefit from it.
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        Oct 7 2011: You're absolutely right. Schooling is essentially teaching to learn but shouldn’t be constrained solely to learning institutions.

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