The Future of Education .. from Isaac Asimov, 1988 #edcmooc

This video, a conversation between Bill Moyers and Isaac Asimov in 1988, just goes to show how some people can have the ability to think outside the box of current convention and get it so right. In the 25 years since Asimov’s words here so much has changed, and how his imagination has been so right.

Thanks for @Stephen_Hurley for the original tweet of this and bringing it to me attention. I post it under the #edcmooc hashtag as I think it is also very important for the topics we are covering on the MOOC.

YouTube: Isaac Asimov World of Ideas (pt.2)

There is so much here, in the 10 minutes of the conversation, that I can’t transcribe it all, but the following quotes are just a snapshot of how imaginative Asimov is and how he was thinking outside the conventions of cultural advancements (and how we’ve developed). What next for us … ?

“Once we have computer outlets in every home, each of them hooked up to enormous libraries where anyone can ask any question and be given answers, be given reference material in something you’re interested in knowing … you ask,you can find out, you can follow it up and you can do it in your own home, at your own speed, at your own direction, in your own time, then everyone will enjoy learning.”

On the subject of machines ‘de-humanising’ learning:

“As a matter of fact it’s just the reverse. It seems to me that it is through this machine that for the fist time we’ll be able to have a one-to-one relationship between ‘information source’ and ‘information consumer’ … everyone can have a teacher in the form of access to the gathered knowledge of the human species.”

When questioned whether ‘personal learning’ is just for the young:

“No, that’s a good point, it’s not just for the young. That’s another trouble with education as we now have it – it is for the young and people think of education as something that they can finish. And whats more, when they finish that’s a rite of passage into manhood and therefore anything that reminds you of school (reading books, having ideas, asking questions) that’s kids stuff. Now you’re an adult you don’t do that thing any more.”

“The trouble with learning is most people don’t enjoy it because of their circumstances – make it possible for them to enjoy learning and they’ll keep it up.”

  • http://cullaloe.com/ Nick Hood

    Thank you for this post, David: the Asimov clip is outstanding. I’m going to use it if you don’t mind. Cheered me up no end.

    • http://www.dontwasteyourtime.co.uk/ David Hopkins

      Hi Nick – the clip is not mine, it’s freely available on YouTube, but I don’t think the person who loaded it there has the copyright so be careful how you share it.

      All the best, David

  • Tony Reeves

    Thank you so much for sharing this David. It’s amazing to think that this interview was recorded pre-internet, pre-laptop and pre-wifi. It’s as if he has already had a glimpse of the future.. inspirational.

    • http://www.dontwasteyourtime.co.uk/ David Hopkins

      Hi Tony – my thoughts exactly … I wonder if he ever met or talked with Tim Berners Lee?

      All the best, David

  • Peter Merchant

    Excellent. Last year I read his Autobiography.

    • http://www.dontwasteyourtime.co.uk/ David Hopkins

      Hi Peter – by all accounts he lead a pretty amazing life as well as the insightful books he authored. Which reminds me, must dig some of them out again and read.

      All the best, David

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