When you think about the future of education or the future of learning, there's one question that I think really matters and that is really important - 'Who's the teacher?' Because 'Who's the teacher' ultimately is a decisive factor in what we learn and how we learn. And when I’m talking about teacher I’m not referring to just a school teachers, but in larger sense of the term – ’Who is the person that we learn from?’.
As you can see, I’m an artist. No, I’m not, but I’m very proud of the drawing. To illustrate a short history of the evolution of sharing knowledge: It all starts with cave men around the fireplace sharing their stories about the best hunting ground. Fast forward: Johannes Gutenberg invents the printing press, so you don’t have this one-to-one sharing, but one-to-many, where one author can have many readers, thanks to new technology. Then, Jimmy Wales brings us Wikipedia and with the Internet, we now know that it is possible to not only have one-to-one or one-to-many sharing model, but many-to-many model of sharing knowledge: many contributors writing an article, many people reading it. And, YouTube was invented, and since then, humanity watches cat videos.
Well, there are not only cat videos, there are educational videos out there. There are platforms such as Coursera edX and MOOC University courses that you can watch online and there are great websites for educational videos such as KhanAcademy or TED Talks. Well, what all these projects that I’ve just showed you on the slide have in common is that they still embrace the old educational model of one-to-many or few-to-many, so you still have this elitist club or few teachers from great universities (e.g. Harvard) or these celebrities at TED who share their knowledge or spread their ideas to the rest of the world. What I think is where we're going towards is the same trend as what happened to books to Wikipedia, to pass on from one-to-many to many-to-many model. And this also in the case of educational videos.
So, you might say: ’There is YouTube’. Let me ask you a question: ’Who of you has created a YouTube video?’ Please rise your hand. Ok, so there are some hands in the room. Now, think about that last YouTube video that you made. ’What was it?’ ’Was the main purpose of that video entertainment? Did you for example filmed you cat or a holiday video or was it a party video? Or was the main purpose of this video education? Did you pass on a message? Did you share an idea? Did you help somebody to learn with this video? Whose YouTube video was rather entertainment? Please rise your hand. Ok, almost the same. And whose video was education? Ok. I would say that there is a majority of entertainment in this room and that is reflected when you go to YouTube website.
My point is: YouTube is a collaborative video platform but it is not an educational video platform. You cannot be sure that the content that you find is good quality and you certainly can't be sure that you won't be distracted. What I think that we need is a collaborative video learning platform. In a world where people share super cat jump fail and upload Charlie bit my finger videos, how can we get to a place where people actually share what matters with videos.
I believe that there is a great place where this is already happening and that is conferences. Conferences such as this one. There are conferences happening all around the world. People are on stage and they are sharing their knowledge with others. This is the map of WikiStage conferences at the moment. We have seen that many people such as volunteers that organized this conference here today are giving a voice, are giving a platform to remarkable people around them and give more speakers the stage. If we can leverage the power of a video where a speaker in the room doesn't only share his knowledge with the people he has in front of him but thanks to the cameras we have in this room shares it with the world on this collaborative learning video platform, we can create the content for such a collaborative video library. Who is the teacher in the 21st century? We all are. And the idea that you can have a powerful voice is a very powerful one, that's big, because I believe that not only do we have the right to freedom of speech -„Liberté d’expression“, we were all standing at the Place de la République in January fighting for the freedom of expression- I believe that we also have an obligation to share and to contribute to the debates that are happening in our society. You might say: ‘But I have nothing new to add, all the knowledge is already out there’. I would disagree. You have unique experiences and ideas and you have a unique perspective on things that is not already out there. And it's not just about what is being shared but also about who says it and how. So, tonight I would like to encourage you to think of yourself not just as a consumers of knowledge, but as the creators, as the authors of your unique peace of knowledge. So, let’s all together create a truly democratic society in which we all share what matters.