Robot doctors and fleets of self-driving cars are among the innovations tipped to add £630bn to the British economy by 2035.
In a nondescript office building in downtown Palo Alto, I enter a conference room with the furnishings of a typical Silicon Valley tech company. Suddenly, my view changes, and I am transported to the inside of a brightly lit operating room.
FOR a ten-year-old, Amartya is a thoughtful chap. One Monday morning at the Khan Lab School (KLS) in Mountain View, California, he explains that his maths is “pretty strong” but he needs to work on his writing.
IN 1953 B.F. Skinner visited his daughter’s maths class. The Harvard psychologist found every pupil learning the same topic in the same way at the same speed. A few days later he built his first “teaching machine”.
In a recent morning at Sparkletots preschool in Singapore, Natalie, Bryan and Mikayle, all four years old, knelt on the floor around a machine called Kibo and “programmed” it with a set of instructions printed on wooden blocks.
Earlier this year, Makerbot announced in its most recent bloodletting that it would focus more on the education market. Today we’re seeing some of the fruits of that decision. First up is “My MakerBot,” what the outfit describes as a cloud-enabled browser-based printer monitoring platform that’s compatible with Chromebook.
Norwegian company No Isolation has developed a simple robot intended to help kids with long-term illnesses stay in touch with their schools and friends.
AT THE Gatina branch of Bridge International Academies, on the outskirts of Nairobi, Nicholas Oluoch Ochieng has one eye on his class of five-year-olds and the other on his tablet. On the device is a lesson script. Every line is written 7,000 miles away, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Were you an art student wowed by Barcelona’s architecture? A budding scientist inspired by Switzerland’s CERN? Perhaps you are now a historian who is still moved by the memory of visiting France’s Somme battlefields.
THE RECEPTION AREA contains a segment of a decommissioned Underground train carriage, where visitors wait to be collected. The surfaces are wood and glass. In each room the talk is of code, web development and data science. At first sight the London office of General Assembly looks like that of any other tech startup.
WHEN education fails to keep pace with technology, the result is inequality. Without the skills to stay useful as innovations arrive, workers suffer—and if enough of them fall behind, society starts to fall apart. That fundamental insight seized reformers in the Industrial Revolution, heralding state-funded universal schooling.