Carnegie Mellon University
September 13, 2012

News Brief: Kamlet Discusses Education Innovations at World Economic Forum

KamletThe future of education is not going to have a one-size-fits-all solution. But there is the potential for an explosion of opportunity.

A panel of experts, including Mark Kamlet, provost and executive vice president of Carnegie Mellon, discussed what some of those changes might be at the World Economic Forum's "Annual Meeting of New Champions" this week in Tianjin, China. Watch the full video or a summary of the "Future of Education" session.

Kamlet touched on Carnegie Mellon's groundbreaking research into online learning and how university spinoff Carnegie Learning and CMU's Open Learning Initiative combine cognitive psychology, artificial intelligence and machine learning. But, he said, it goes beyond simply posting online lectures.

The future of learning will not be a "sage on a stage" with one teacher lecturing to a room of students, but rather a more one-on-one approach.

"It's going to be much more personalized, much more adapted to the individual students," Kamlet said. "But it's going to require a very different way of thinking about how a teacher optimally functions." The question becomes how to move into that framework without too much disruption.

The panelists discussed how a menu of innovations can provide different resources to educators in a variety of situations, in which solutions can be tailored to specific needs. Not everything can be done online, Kamlet said.

"I think what one finds is that the best approach is typically blended," said Kamlet who noted that the future of education will include "a bunch of different approaches."

Gordon Brown, former prime minister of the United Kingdom, praised CMU during the talk.

"It's a great pleasure to be speaking alongside great thought leaders for the universities of the future, from Singapore, from Carnegie Mellon in the states, from India," Brown said. He said that providing lifelong education and training is paramount for the health of the economy.

"There's not a mother in the world who doesn't understand how the importance of education will impact the future more than it ever had in the past," Brown said.

Technology is crucial to providing opportunities for underserved populations. He said that nearly one billion people in the world are illiterate, and 60 million children have never attended school.

"Everywhere I go around the world, children are begging to learn. Parents want them to have these chances, teachers want things to be better," Brown said. "I think we should now be in a position to bring together all the lessons of the successes, whether it's Finland or China or Singapore or Carnegie Mellon ... and then try to make sure - at a global level - that we can disseminate all the things to be done to improve our education system for the future."

The panel also included Shantanu Prakash, chairman and managing director of Educomp Solutions, India; Tan Chorh-Chuan, president of the National University of Singapore; and Tang Qian, assistant director-general of Education for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The discussion was moderated by Yoshito Hori, chairman and chief executive officer of GLOBIS Corp. and president of GLOBIS University.

Beyond the panel Kamlet participated in, CMU had a presence in several other discussions at the conference.

Related: Carnegie Mellon — A Game Changer: The Open Learning Initiative [.pdf]