Today’s technologies have created the biggest change in education since the invention of the printing press.” — Anant Agarwal, President of EdX

Is it really possible that today’s technologies–smartphones, high-speed Internet and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)–have created “the biggest change in education since the invention of the printing press“?


But, first, some perspective is required.

What was the printing press? To be sure, it was a profound and wonderful invention but Gutenberg’s real genius is that he simply combined the existing technologies of paper, ink, moveable type and a wine press to create something entirely new.

In this same way, it is important to understand that we are still in the early days of today’s technologies.

It is entirely possible that some new inventor/entrepreneur will recombine today’s tools and technologies to create a powerful new educational platform.

For example, just consider how Generation Rwanda is using MOOCs, smartphone, high-speed Internet access and peer-to-peer learning techniques to educate young people in Rwanda. There is no reason to think a variation of the platform won’t be able to reach all seven billion people on this planet.

If that happens, it’d be fair to say that would be a “big revolution.”

Jack Uldrich is a renowned global futurist. He recently keynoted Pearson Learning Solutions annual conference on the future of higher education in New Orleans on September 11 and on September 13, he was in Istanbul to address the European Association of International Educators’s 2013 conference “Weaving the Future of Global Partnerships.

Related Posts on the future of higher education by Jack Uldrich:

Five Trends Affecting the Future of Higher Education
Harvard’s Plan to Dominate Higher Education
Self Education is the Future of Higher Education