It has been amazing to watch as technology and the internet open up access to education, and this new initiative from EdX is a great example. From the article –
While the AP program has been expanding over the last decade, these advanced courses are still unavailable in about 40% of high schools. While a student does not need to be enrolled in an AP class at his or her school to take the exam, the classes are designed to prep students for the very specific manner in which they will be tested. The edX courses are structured to give that same level of preparation.
I was lucky that my high school offered many AP classes, which helped to challenge me during my time there, and allowed me to skip many of the introductory courses when I got to Georgia Tech. The classwork and teachers also gave me a much better preparation for the rigors of college courses than I would have received otherwise; but not everyone has access to the same opportunities that I did growing up, including the 40% of high schools mentioned above. If the goal is to even the playing field so everyone can get the quality education they deserve, we need to change the way children are taught.
Technology is becoming an increasingly integral part of our lives, and we need to do more to embrace it in the classroom. And it can start simple – something like the AP program, with its standardized final exams, is a textbook example of an educational tool that can be digitized to great effect. Programs like these need to be fostered and made available to as many people as possible – schools that can’t offer AP courses could embrace this initiative by giving students the option to enroll and take these classes in a study hall setting.
This won’t solve all the issues with education, but hopefully with companies like EdX, Udacity, and Coursera growing their online offerings, we can find new ways to incorporate these technologies into our classrooms and increase the overall level of education both here and abroad.