Just as the bridges of Stockholm link together the people of its 14 islands, so does technology represent the thread that connects all of us on this planet. When I was in high school, I hardly knew how to send an email and the only room in the school that had computers was the computer lab – a stuffy, dusty room in the basement filled with humming machines that were already out of date before they came out of the box. There was no connection. If anything, I remember feeling confused because I couldn’t understand how anything I was being taught had any relevance to the real world.
Fast forward a decade, and as I sit cuddled up on my couch in Northern California writing this message to you on my fancy schmancy MacBook Pro, my tutors, second markers and external examiners from all over Europe are working together to mark my final thesis. Over the past three and a half years, I’ve lived in three countries spanning two continents, and traveled to some of the most beautiful places on this planet, all while studying my masters. Technology made that possible. Actually, no, that’s not entirely true. It was a mix of technology plus people who were willing to step outside of the box, expand their minds, broaden their understandings and develop new ways of working with new tools to make education more accessible to anyone and everyone who was willing and able to make the investment of knowledge for themselves.
In a few months, I’ll be attending my graduation ceremony in Paris and accepting my degree in online and distance education from the largest university in Europe that supports over 200,000 students from all over the world in their efforts to fuel their passions, to explore their interests, and to empower them with the tools to make this world better.
When I was in high school, and even when I was in university completing my first degree, the job I have now didn’t really exist. I was studying topics that I thought were going to be useful in my future, but looking back now, I realize were based on old schools of thought. And if anything, education should be about preparing you for what’s to come, not for what once was.
Technology has made the world a smaller place, and that’s a beautiful thing. If someone told you that you had the choice to plug into that flow of connectivity, immerse yourself in our global culture and not only experience it for yourself but also make a significant contribution to it, what would you choose?
– Katherine Pisana, guest blogger