Modern Day Education: Redefining Accessibility

In the age of technology, we have a worldwide communication system. This also means that we have an infinite amount of information at our fingertips. At times, it’s conceptually difficult to understand the perseverance of ignorance and misinformation. The greater difficulty in its conceptualization is the still-evident overwhelming need for formal education. That is: some people question why formal education is necessary since exposure to certain information has already been granted way before stepping into any one campus, or classroom. 

While formal education and academia are in no way enemies to the accessibility of information (arguably, they’re useful allies), it’s important to understand that a formal education and/or diploma does not guarantee exposure to a certain kind of information that’s both useful and imperative for everyday life. In the need to professionalize all fields, knowledge for the sake of knowledge has become both overwhelming and forgotten.

For example, on the one hand, we have the academic historian, who against all odds has continued an academic career with the sole purpose of creating and producing knowledge. On the other, we have an overwhelmingly trained engineer, who has opted to work in his field of expertise and start his own company. In one scenario, knowledge has become overwhelming and rather dictating. In another similar scenario, we might face the lack of exposure to social and historical information that is needed to continue inside a highly professionalized field.

Exposure to information is not equal or well-rounded amongst all fields, particularly not highly-professionalized ones. This might not be especially dire to the historian who might not need basic engineering skills on the daily, but surely will be a hindrance to the engineer who is not socially and historically aware of his own cultural and socio-ethnic background. Therefore, the lack of knowledge in social/cultural dilemmas is both more evident and more dangerous than the lack of technical knowledge–inherently because we live inside society and surrounded by culture.

Our continual development as an ever-changing society, our exposure to social and cultural information has become the norm. There's no wat to escape it and without this information, making proper decisions and taking strong stands within moral, social, and political conflicts becomes difficult.

These decisions are varied. We're faced with having to rent or buy a house, to deconstructing adverse masculine traits inherited from the patriarchy, or even choosing who to vote for in the next election. Knowledge and information are key to the growth of a society that has produced various social movements and institutions.

It’s difficult to judge a person’s stand when it’s evident that they just haven’t been exposed to the information necessary for them to change their point of view or make an informed decision. However, their lack of exposure could have many reasons, such as living in a conservative household or not going to college.  And as a result, these people feel like outcasts when in reality they may be more privileged than those that they see being celebrated and represented in the media for the first time or way more than ever before.

Precisely because it’s so easy to lack exposure, even when the information is accessible in theory, it’s important to somehow change the action behind the word accessibility. 
Inside this very own world of accessibility, information–particularly social, historical, and interpersonal knowledge–has been rethought in the ways that it’s been recently exposed to the public. Our overwhelming desire to know has been heard, and information is arriving at us in increasingly diverse ways: through games, TV shows, cartoons, and easy-to-read books. There’s very little need to be an academic to understand who we are and where we come from.

Shows like Adam Ruins Everything, Drunk History, and even Last Week Tonight, have made the information not just easier to access, but also simpler to understand for a larger audience. These shows have made a point to show us that we don’t need to grab a textbook that’s over 300 pages long to understand social or political issues, but rather, everyone should have access to understand what’s happening around them, as well as around the world.

Knowledge has always been difficult to obtain, and even harder to understand. It has enabled ignorance and established elites. Today, even more than before, through these new channels and ways of information, it’s imperative that access to information is viable, fun, and interactive. It allows for the education of the masses and enables a better future for everyone.