The original inspiration behind Einztein was the subject of a blog entry that I wrote when we first launched Einztein.com in 2010. While the relaunch of our site focuses on “knowledge exchange,” as opposed to improved access to free online courses, our basic mission remains basically unaltered. We want to planetize learning. Here’s what I wrote a year ago:
In 2002, fourteen year old William Kamkwamba was forced to leave his school in Malawi because he could not afford the $80 in tuition, so he started to teach himself by reading books at the local library. One book in particular intrigued him as it contained photographs of windmills, which he had never seen before. Based on the photographs alone, Kamkwamba scavenged parts and through a process of trial and error assembled a working windmill that brought water and electricity to his native Malawian village. Today, Kamkwamba is a student at a top school in South Africa and his story has been recounted by journalist Bryan Mealer in the book, “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.” http://williamkamkwamba.typepad.com
If one remarkable teenager could change his world after getting inspired by a book at a local library, imagine the effects that free online courses available at local Internet access points might have in communities across the planet. Each time a receptive mind gets introduced to the materials contained in a free course, the potential exists to generate still more “windmills” powering progressive change.
THE EINZTEIN MISSION
Einztein wants to planetize education. Our mission won’t end until every person on the planet has the ability to get an education online, if they so choose. We don’t pretend to be the ones who will get laptops into the local libraries of poor communities, nor are we the teachers who will generate the content that goes into an online course. Our role is to work with education partners to connect online learners with online course providers. We want to help learners find the right courses to build their skills and knowledge in accordance with their needs and interest. And we want to make the experience of learning online as productive as possible.
We see vastly untapped potential in harnessing the power of online educational resources to empower individuals and communities around the world. Everyone should have the opportunity to learn to build their “windmills.”