With so much rich information for learners available and accessible on the Internet -- everything from how to play the guitar to applications of the Pythagorean Theorem -- how can the formal education system leverage all this within schools?
There are tremendous obstacles in the way. A shortage of high-quality K-12 STEM teachers, dwindling interest on the part of learners, inequalities in tech-enhanced opportunities, a fragmented research-and-development community, and outmoded high school and college facilities are just a few of the obstacles, according to Roy Pea, co-director of the Stanford Center for Innovations in Learning at the the Cyberlearning Tools for STEM Education conference to figure out strategies.
But the huge cultural shift brought about by the Internet and Web 2.0 ethos -- participatory culture, wikis, blogs, podcasts, virtual worlds, and new values around harnessing collective information -- is helping ameliorate the challenges, and can be a crucial bridge.
"Every minute, 35 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube," Pea said. "There are 700 billion videos up, and many of them are about learning."