Coming back to basics, the Education revolution

Education, the transmission of culture in an structured way. Harnessing knowledge, and allowing the next generation be able to stand on the shoulders of past successes has been key. Civilization after civilization, the ones that did it better survived, the ones that not, were just forgotten. In the very old days, this process was difficult to carry over. Like a book made by hand it was very difficult and expensive to replicate. Only a few had the fortune, literally, to be initiated in the higher knowledge. Sometimes through religion, sometimes through an apprenticeship with a trade master. The good thing- It was very personal, very tailored, one to one, and human. The curriculum was a mixture of teacher interests, parents interest, and student determination to get a say in what they wanted to learn. Central planning, standardization or education for industry jobs, were not an issue to be dealt with. It was a bit romantic, it was just for the sake of knowledge and the fun of learning.

The next chapter of this story I think we all know very well, pretty much all of us got our education delivered in the modern industrial way. With massive advantages and impact in humankind, but with some drawbacks that now we dare to realize, and maybe try to overcome?

A big issue in the industrial education we received was precisely how, beyond its benefits, the true knowledge objective was a bit lost. Teaching pupils, the how, of attaining a love for learning was substituted by a system driven by points, certificates and comparability of individuals and their professions. Extinguishing a big part of curiosity, intrinsic motivation, and human one to one interaction in the process.

The news is that change is finally coming! Like many other things impacted by technology, this is a time where we can have the best of two ages, in Education development. The one to one, human, driven by curiosity, and tailored to the individual kind of learning experience,… in the mass scale, cheap, accessible to everybody, and even government sponsored industrial way.

It’s like coming back to basics, and evolving to a future state. All at the same time.

A few of the things I’ve come across and that give you some examples of this change:

– Learning the language of the machine, from first year of primary, (yes, like learning Japanese or French) Tiger Leap Foundation started in Estonia, through basic game design programming. Surely quick to be rolled out in many more countries soon.

– 62 higher education institutions, in 5 languages delivering 313 high quality courses, and part of the MOOC’s movement. Coursera, is growing fast and delivering on the tailored to the individual education promise. From Machine Learning, Quantum Physics, Mathematical Philosophy to Gamification (I’m a happy student of this one). No one can say education access is an issue anymore.

– Since the Estonian project, and the many others coming along, probably will need a programming language easy enough for children to play with, a Kickstarter project is making it in possible in the form of an open source software project. “Next Generation, Live Code” was funded by more than a 150% of their pledge and has delivered already on their first milestone. (I’m a backer, obviously)

This are just few close to my interests. Very happy that for some (me included) the eagerly expected change in Education seems to be happening. I understand that some people still need to be convinced, that the only system they have known, is obsolete and needs upgrading, and that will happen fast. At the pace of Moore’s Law, actually.

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