Bill Gates Hearts Academic Earth

Bill Gates has released his second annual letter from the Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation, and he has highlighted a tech startup that he finds particularly compelling, Academic Earth. We’ve written about the online video education site, which is sort of like a Hulu For Education.The startup provides a user-friendly platform for educational video that offers courses and lectures from Yale, MIT, Harvard, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Princeton and others.

Gates believes that online learning sites like Academic Earth will revolutionize education. Gates writes that sites that can cater to individual students online, offering a personalized learning experience, are innovative and will take interactivity to a new level. Academic Earth has received considerable amount of acclaim since its launch last year, also being named one of Time Magazine’s best websites of 2009.

Gates also highlights the need for organizing online educational content in a more meaningful way. Online learning content needs to be easily accessible on the web, says Gates. But while many software companies are producing innovative products for children, there is still a cost barrier. Gates isn’t sure whether non-profits can join together with these companies to provide these sort of innovations to schools whose budgets don;t allow for the software.

According to the report, The Gates Foundation is investing in these online courses that are able to provide interactive applications for children, aiming to connect software partners with teachers and schools. The foundation is also investing in ensuring that all libraries have computers with internet access. So far, 49,000 computers have been installed.

Gates recently made waves in the Twittersphere after launching a new Twitter account (Gates Tweeted out the letter this morning). He also re-joined Facebook and launched a new blog called Gates Notes.