Mark Zuckerberg’s Gift to Children: Education and Innovation

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“We will do our part to make this happen, not only because we love you, but also because we have a moral responsibility to all children in the next generation.” — Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg

Photo: Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan. Source: Zuckerberg’s profile on Facebook.

This week, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan surprised the world with their letter to their newborn daughter Max. The founder of Facebook announced the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to join people across the world in advancing human potential and promoting equality for all children in the next generation. The initial areas of focus of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative will be personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people, and building strong communities. Zuckerberg announced that he will give 99% of his Facebook shares — currently valued at about $45 billion — during his lifetime.

In their letter, Zuckerberg and Chan discuss the importance of personalized learning. In schools today, many students learn the same topics at the same pace, regardless of their individual interests or needs. Instead, Zuckerberg wants to develop technology that enables students to realize what they are good at, invest in their personal competitive advantages, and at the same time assist them in overcoming their personal challenges. By gaining access to this technology online, students will be able to gain knowledge whatever the quality of equipment at their school.

“Your generation will set goals for what you want to become — like an engineer, health worker, writer or community leader. You’ll have technology that understands how you learn best and where you need to focus. You’ll advance quickly in subjects that interest you most, and get as much help as you need in your most challenging areas. You’ll explore topics that aren’t even offered in schools today. Your teachers will also have better tools and data to help you achieve your goals.” — Mark Zuckerberg

Zuckerberg said that this technology is currently being developed, and that it is showing a positive impact on the student learning processes. Zuckerberg and Chan have worked as educators at times in their lives, giving them insight on what the technology could look like, but will also talk with communities and experts about what is needed.

By investing in education and technology, humanity can work to improve poverty, disease, inequality and many other challenges.

“Together, we can do this. And when we do, personalized learning will not only help students in good schools, it will help provide more equal opportunity to anyone with an internet connection”. — Mark Zuckerberg



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