To get ahead in life, one needs to invest in education. With education comes the traditional picture that we imagine, made up of a classroom, a teacher, and students. The influence of technology has changed the landscape of education.

One no longer needs to be inside the four walls of the classroom. In fact, it doesn’t even matter where you are nowadays as long as you are online. Virtual classroom settings are now available without even getting out of bed. This type of modern education was previously not available for the billionaire James Richman growing up who eventually grew a private asset management empire, JJ Richman.

His school in Smarde, a small town in the Tukums region of Latvia, was not yet infused with technology when he was in primary school. He was still part of the traditional educational system, where physical interaction, social relationships, and dogma were abounding. It is quite understandable why this silent billionaire would want to support a shake-up in the educational system.

An early exit

This system makes standing out from the pack very visible. It would not be a problem if one stands out in a positive light. However, not all students have the same capabilities and skills. James was born with Asperger’s syndrome, although studies claim people with it could learn complicated skills, requiring years to master for regular people, in weeks, it is also said to bring certain difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication skills.

James’ condition made it difficult for him to cope with the activities of formal schooling. He would often get lost in his constant search for patterns and lose focus on the subject at hand. He would perennially find himself at the bottom of class standings. This led to ridicule from his peers and, shamefully, also some of his teachers. He was branded a good-for-nothing, coupled with the absence of encouragement, James had lost interest in school and dropped out at the age of 15.

The difficulty of moving the herd

In the traditional form of education, the system could be compared with a herd of cattle. The group must travel from point A to point B as a pack, reaching their destination at almost the same time. Everyone must go through the same route, and at the same pace. The herder, or teacher, makes sure nobody goes ahead, and, at the same time, no one gets left behind. If someone does try to go on his own speed, the herder sets him back to where he is supposed to be.

In this type of system, certain aspects of the individual student are overlooked. A student with a very high intelligence quotient may have the ability and desire to advance in his or her lessons but will have to conform with the regular class schedule. In contrast, a student with lesser ability may be requiring additional instructions for certain topics, but would not be able to get any since the teacher has the whole class to attend to.

This definitely applies to students with disabilities. The case of James Richman exhibits how an individual with a different learning capacity may suffer from injustice just because the learning approach was not suited to him.

Trends in change education

Billionaire James Richman has his investments set in changing the education industry. Technology and education have always been intertwined, and with the influx of technological advancements today, education is destined to undergo several exciting twists.

Education is also a form of communication wherein the students are the recipients of the information. The instructor is the source of the information and he or she would use different props and learning aids to relay the message better. The chalk and blackboard tandem is no longer the staple aid. Technology has paved the way for audiobooks, e-books and white paper as the relatively new methods of education, and they are widely accepted.

Aside from this, online and virtual education has been increasing in popularity. Virtual courses accelerate the skills of professionals during their vacant time. Meanwhile, virtual education simulates the classroom environment for students to interact even if they are in separate locations. Wellness coaching has also been offered to students to appease the human perspective of education. In addition, online tutorials have become a billion-dollar business.

Advancing instructional technology

The reclusive billionaire has beefed up his support for instructional technology. Startup companies are focusing on the methodology of how pupils are offered education. Instructional technology looks at instructional design and development and more importantly how to formulate engaging and efficient learning experiences for people.

These companies would soon be working on more ways to assist students in accomplishing their assignments at home, with the ability to share notes, exams, files and other schools digital material. This will also ease the transition of modern workplaces which disrupts the traditional office setting.

It is amazing to observe the journey of this secretive, extraordinary fund manager, from being a teenage drop-out to a self-made billionaire. It makes one curious to think about what would have happened if the formerly non-performing student stayed in school.

It is unfortunate that he was not able to benefit from the education technology available today. What is great about James is that he is using his negative experiences in school to send a positive way of life for other people. This sort of character belongs to an educated person – dropped out or not.


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