Size Isn’t Everything

My reading material to and from London recently for the annual open-source programming event known as Mozfest, or the Mozilla Festival, included two glossy magazines focusing on the future of education: the November 19 cover story in Forbes and the entire November issue of Wired UK, an offshoot of the American magazine. Education is rarely seen as sexy or lucrative enough to take over business and technology magazines.

Should educators be delighted by this unexpected attention—or very, very worried?

A little of both. Wired UK raises the possibility that the university may have to restructure itself. That undoubtedly will raise numerous hackles. But from an intellectual standpoint, it signals a revolution in waiting. Forbes, on the other hand, touts the financial promise of investments in MOOC's and other digital educational offerings. Entrepreneurs and college administrators are already heeding that siren call. But it is mostly the sound of yesterday.

Let's look at Wired UK first. The issue is devoted to MIT's famous Media Lab and its innovative approach to research, teaching, and collaborative learning. It marks the return to the magazine, after a hiatus of many years, of one of its original backers, the legendary Nicholas Negroponte, who also co-founded the Media Lab in 1985.

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