How do we change education in the time of Google and the Internet?
I would like to take a few minutes of your time during this fascinating ceremony, which is an honour and most gratifying to me, to respond to a single complex question. Around this question revolve the destinies of our young and, in a sense therefore, the future of our society.
How do we change EDUCATION in the time of Google and the internet? What space remains for the original mission of education in a period when, with our tablets and smartphones, we have real time access to any and all conceivable information?
Our responsibility today is to redefine the mission of education in our society. If we do not do this, we will quickly witness the loss of purpose of schools, universities, books and professors.
Our generation was educated at a time when the word of the professor carried great privilege for it consented to the sharing and understanding of information. Listening to the professor asking questions and giving answers to himself we learned a logical path through the ideas which formed around it.
As professors and organisers of the supply of university education we face today a complex and ambitious challenge. Perhaps the most ambitious of all challenges. That of re-launching the challenge of education and of not permitting its slow decline as the spread of the Internet, Google and all the other real time IT connections inexorably raise the bar.
Our students may be tempted to believe that the answers to all their questions are to be found there and that the professor is little more than a companion along the way. Our job must be that of developing pedagogical innovation and raise the aims of the educational challenge.
The truth is that Google and the Internet unintentionally help the educational mission to rediscover the purity of its most profound essence. Education is not the simple transmission of information. Education is the search for a compass and the indentifying of cardinal points. This compass and these cardinal points are essential to finding direction in this new world which is overwhelmed by an unimaginable quantity of information.
They say the amount of information produced in the last year alone is equal to that produced in the preceding fifty and that this will continue. Education will become more important than ever. To communicate the cardinal points and help the young find their compass professors and universities will be obliged to redouble their efforts, consider how the individual behaviour of each of us becomes important and how our ethics must be exemplary. This obliges all of us to modernise our educational methods and to communicate more to share best practices, ideas and innovative methods.
It is a great challenge and makes our work with the young, the future of our society, even more fascinating. It invites us to progressively unite theory and practice without abandoning fundamental principles in to an abstract universe of purity without the minimum application in real life. It invites us to strengthen our international institutions which are dedicated to the improvement and spread of education.