The last post dealt with the online resource Hebrewbooks.org. There are other sites which feature manuscripts online and huge resources of ancient Seforim. Even the behemoth Google has a vast array of online books.
What I’d like to discuss here is the future of learning. As we enter the digital age, I foresee a time when the computer will be a familiar sight in the Beis Medrash. In the not so distant future, I picture a wide screen atop each Shtender with digital or PDF versions of all Seforim ever printed.
Imagine you are learning Chulin. You would choose from Tzuras Hadaf or digital versions, whatever suits you best. If you mouse-over any given word, you will be able to link to the Rishonim, Acharonim, Rambam, Shulchan Aruch etc. You will be learning Tosfos, and you won’t need to get out of your seat to find the Gemara quoted, a simple click will bring up the relevant text. You will be able to access medical tomes and encyclopedias to better understand the intricacies of Eilu Treifos.
If you don’t understand something, you will send an instant message to your Chaver across the room. You might even IM your Rebbe, if protocol allows.
If a pandemic hits, you might sit at home and access the Shiur live online, or download it to view at your convenience. You will be able to review the Shiur as long as it takes to understand it. No Rebbe will need to say over a Shiur 400 times.
Talmidim who are proficient will type their notes as the Rebbe speaks. Others will use dictation software if their typing skill are lacking. Jewish themed Youtubes will abound with Shiurim from all the great Roshei Yeshiva. Kinaas Sofrim will ensure that the quality of these lectures be superb.
Anyone with worthwhile Chiddushim will publish their writings on peer reviewed blogs. Anti-plagiarism software will ensure that each thought is unique.
Please add your ideas of the futuristic Bais Mesrash in the comments.