Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Private tutoring has never been so cheap

One of the things that economist are puzzled about is that no one is really quite sure what people are going to use the internet for. Sure, we know it's a great big new technology, just like electricity, mass production or the train was. But just as when those were first invented, what people actually use it for is unknown.

Why this matters is because we're not really sure which industries are going to be over turned by it. One bet, one that really hasn't quite been grasped as yet, is that it will be education that is transformed. If you can learn everything you need to over the net, with one to one instruction when needed, videos of lectures at other times, or with online textbooks, what's the point of having to go to a school each day?

And there are services springing up which show how this can be done. For example, need tutoring on Algebra 2? Can't quite grasp 5th grade math? Need some help in adding fractions? Maybe it's the formula for volume which is your problem?

Now, OK, that's just maths....but this one company will give you all the tutoring any one child or pupil desires, 24/7, in any and every subject they cover, for just $99 a month. Add that sort of tutoring to a decent set of textbooks and why would anyone be spending $12,000 a year per child on the public schools? You can get a better education for one tenth of the cost!

It really is possible that the major industry that will be overturned by the internet isn't newspapers, or movies, but education.

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