Via Meadia has looked at how teleconference technology may save the planet. Can it also provide education to poor children in the inner city? According to a recent New York Times piece, it can. The Times reports that JPMorgan Chase has launched a new remote tutoring program in which volunteers tutor children in dangerous or remote parts of New York over the internet, rather than making the trek through the dodgy streets in person. While the program is not without its critics, it offers some obvious benefits, especially for children who would otherwise be fortunate to get any tutoring at all.This is yet another heartening example of the potential for new technology to fundamentally change the way we educate our children. Using this technology to let skittish yuppies help poor kids without risking their Rolexes in sketchy neighborhoods is ultimately not the main point. Reducing the role of distance in education is a much bigger thing. For most potential tutors, it’s the commute rather than the danger that is the problem; add a 40 minute journey each way to the time of a tutoring session and your pool of tutors shrinks.The abolition of distance will transform education in our lifetimes. Falling costs and rising quality in video transmission are part of a process that will change education more profoundly than did the invention of printing. We are still in the very early stages of these changes; sooner rather than later there will not be a student, a parent or a teacher in the United States whose life has not been touched by the Great Upgrade now taking shape.
Screen Sharing Brings Tutors to the Inner City