I think some aspects of technology are going to be for what I call the bookkeeping aspect of education. One aspect of education is certification. Educators provide students with a certificate that says they have competence in a subject, whether this is at the K-12 level, at the university level, or at the community-college level. Associated with that is necessarily some bookkeeping to manage things such as tests and assignments and grades. Those have to scale up and be easy to use, and over time, they’ll get better.
The more interesting challenge is giving students the ability to customize and navigate the educational offerings. This is where modern advancements in machine learning will play an important role in helping students create personalized trajectories to navigate the subject matter they are seeking to learn. Different students will have different starting points, different preferences and varied learning styles. Technology will ultimately – in a data-driven fashion – allow each student to personalize his or her individual learning path. There is a lot of work to be done in this area.
Scaling the material itself is easier. We could have the material available for a million people, or a hundred million people. In fact, if you can make it available cheaply enough and the network bandwidth is there, in theory, everybody has access to the material. But that is not enough. It’s the ability to navigate the material and personalized tools that help in the process that’s going to be important.