Spreading the word

Among the technology-enabled changes in the human condition is the one of Biblical preference: teaching people to fish instead of merely giving them fish to eat. In the case of an October 14th blog by Kathrin Hille in the Financial Times it’s a case of teaching English to Chinese while living in the United States. It’s another innovative solution to a common telework dilemma: resolving the problem that trained workers are needed but none (or not enough) are available locally.

In this case, because of China’s emergence as a world power, millions of Chinese need to learn English—but there aren’t tens of thousands of English-as-a-second-language (ESL) teachers in China. On the other hand there are loads of ESL teachers in the United States, even in Wyoming, most of whom don’t want to move to China. So technology comes to the rescue. Videoconferencing, which a decade ago was out of the question economically, is now relatively cheap, thanks to ubiquitous broadband telecommunications. A group of high tech entrepreneurs has taken advantage of that fact.

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