Here is my contribution to the field of education: A website that lets students and teachers (belonging to academic institutions ranging from primary schools to universities) upload their assignment work and theses etc. I guess this would mostly be text files. But you could also have audio and video files especially from the likes of Mass Communication students. Multimedia files could also come from other creative arts students pursuing courses related to music, drama etc.
This could be a social/academic networking type of site, marketed by the institutions as well, and should include other relevant Facebook/Orkut bells and whistles. Result: you develop an eco-system of information sharing among students so that the standard of their assignment work improves. If you assign your student to forecast the mobile telephony minutes, as an example, he/she could consult the site and see whether similar kind of work has been carried out by anyone else in some part of the world; and if so what forecasting methodology they used, what variables they examined etc etc. I think that could go a long way in improving educational standards worldwide. The users of this site would really have a strong competitive edge in education.
Ever heard of the old Chinese inventions such as the mechanical clock, or Indian claims to mathematical and astronomy related achievements, or the pioneering work carried out by the Arabs in Chemistry and Medicine? Well, it is all true. And there is historical evidence for these and various similar claims. The question is why such pioneering work did not continue in these countries and why Science was instead born in the West. Actually the empirical Science on which the present day technology and knowledge is based was not born in Europe. This method of studying processes and nature has always been around. It is just that the Science scholars in 15th and 16th centuries in Europe started a concerted effort of better documentation, documenting all the observations and progress. The tradition of systematic documentation is what Science is really about.
This tradition, the Science, spread far and wide through tools such as Guttenbergâ€™s press. Today we have the Internet, the chief medium of communication for ideas and knowledge. We aggregate sports news and all other wonderful content. But we do not properly aggregate and bring together the academic work. Innovation today is mostly the domain of corporates like Microsoft and Google and GE and Pfizer. A lot less innovation comes from the academic institutions. A century ago it was totally the opposite. I think the reason we have seen that paradigm shift is because education has been reduced to a method of elimination while recruiting new employees. If we create a Yahoo type site dedicated to the academic content (student theses and assignment work mostly) we can potentially give education another chance to lead the innovation. In my student days we used to have something called JANET that connected various institutions and you would find lots of coursework related information online. What I am proposing basically is a web based JANET for students worldwide along with a Facebook/Orkut touch.
O, by the way, there should also be a tool on the site that does the plagiarism test. You could make that tool available to both teachers as well as student so that the requisite checks are made prior to submitting the work.