Another dot in the blogosphere?

Netflix-inspired education

Posted on: May 11, 2016

If you asked me what the biggest technology news was so far in 2016, I would point to Netflix planting its flag in almost every country in the world.

In case you live under a rock or are indifferent to Netflix, here is a Wired article on Netflix’s conquest.

What Netflix did was no small feat if you recall that it started out as a video disc distribution company. People who wanted to watch movies in the comfort of their homes rented movies online and the discs were sent to them via the post.

The post. Video discs. Imagine that!

The company reinvented itself by streaming videos over the Internet. In the process, Netflix streaming accounts for more than a third of all Internet traffic in the USA.

This corporate entity has achieved in a decade what educational institutions have struggled with for millennia, e.g., access to resources free from old restrictions like geography, gender, and age.

Admittedly Netflix cannot solve the problem of socio-economic divide. Its library of videos is also not available equally to all due to international laws (e.g., intellectual property) and local policies (e.g., censorship).

However, those flaws are actually evidence of a strength. Netflix did not wait for systems to be ready nor did they try to make everyone happy. Quite the opposite.

Netflix did this because survival & profit were at stake. Those of us who think of ourselves as educators do not necessarily think like that.

Maybe we should. How long will the old school stay relevant when today’s learners can teach themselves? How might teachers reinvent for survival and salary? How long will the system provide conditions for teachers to not change?

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