The National Science Teachers Association (USA) promoted in the Fall of 2005 world class science instruction for schools in the United States. While NSTA works to improve the science instruction delivered to local classrooms by individual teachers, the revolution of the Internet may eclipse those efforts by globally providing high quality systematic science instruction optimized for the citizens of the entire world.
When I starting drafting this in September 2005, I was preparing to visit East Africa and Western Europe. I had hoped that the people I met would help define what the world's people need for science instruction. But I hoped to ask the people I visited their views of what science instruction the world needs. While I had no delusions that schools in Africa currently have Internet access, I discovered some instructional centers already do have Internet access, and miles of broadband cable are being installed in rural areas. And wherever our group travelled, school administrators and local politicians pleaded with us to help send teachers from America. While I believe it unlikely America will send large numbers of teachers to developing countries, there seems enormous potential for providing effective instruction and accompanying directions for hand-on activities for systematic instruction via the Web. So while this particular web site may never rise to the stature of a primary source for world wide science instruction, pioneering efforts such as this should strive to provide both the content and the quality that will fill the needs of peoples of the world. If we approach the task with that objective, hopefully eventually the Web will have such resources available to meet the educational needs and desires of peoples worldwide.
To understand the magnitude of the coming revolution, one should recall that nearly all students have since the time of Plato been schooled by local teachers sharing their knowledge and skills. The advent of the printing press allowed knowledge to be transmitted from the those with the best understanding to local students. However the majority of the instruction continued to be directed and delivered by local teachers to a relatively few students at a time. But the Internet provides the potential, if developed effectively, to present nearly all of the knowledge and directions remotely, reducing the need to educate a large cadre of highly specialized local teachers, a challenge that even the United States is still trying to meet. Potentially a few very knowledgeable, skilled teachers could effectively instruction millions of students, a revolution in education. The cost of this revolution may be many orders of magnitude less than that of training large numbers of specialized local teachers.