04/04/2011 02:54 pm ET | Updated Jun 04, 2011

Cyberschools, Cyberlearning Integral to Education's Future

A fact of life in the 21st century is that technology has moved faster than anyone imagined.

Unless we use technology to reinvent our current systems of education, we all will suffer as more and more people are left behind the learning curve, and left behind the mainstream of world economic development.

The prefix "cyber" was first used in the popular press when Norbert Wiener's book Cybernetics (MIT Press, 1948), was published. Since then everybody has used the term to suggest something electronic or Internet based.

"Cyberschools" are nothing more than what you have when education and technology merge. It is often thought to be another term for distance learning, blended learning, computer based learning, and other similar learning techniques using technology.

Yes, it is all that and more.

Before the word automobile entered the lexicon, people talked about horseless carriages. Before email, it was electronic mail. We are still searching for the right term to talk about the reinvention of education in the age of the Internet. But it is not simply another term for what we do now in electronic form.

It represents a revolution in education.

In the developed world, to make education -- particularly higher education -- available to more people at an affordable cost, large classes are the norm. But we are also using so called blended learning techniques where we use online instruction with on site, or face-to-face lectures.

The students actually like this.

They can usually log in when they want, from where they happen to be and watch and read the assignments at there own pace. Most instructors using the online method also allow students to email any questions they might have and/or participate in online discussions with other students too.

Whether online or offline, computers are changing what is taught, how the material is digested, and doing so in a way that allows the student to get feedback almost instantly... and to ask questions without the embarrassment of looking stupid in front of one's peers.

The cyberschool approach is fast becoming ordinary at high schools and colleges in America, Europe and in other developed nations. In Pennsylvania it is slowly becoming an integral part of thinking.

Given the need to educate millions, perhaps billions, who otherwise remain ignorant of what is happening in our world today, there may be no alternative other than cyberlearning.