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Invisible Learning conversation with Knowmads – Monday, June 7

20:00 Netherlands and España
13:00 U.S. CDT and Mexico
15:00 Argentina
19:00 Portugal
21:00 Finland
14:00 Chile

Next Monday, June 7, the Invisible Learning project invites you to participate in an open webinar with our invited guests: Knowmads (Amsterdam, Netherlands), a creative, entrepreneurial school for developing entrepreneurs who want to make a difference in this world.

This is not a conference, but an opportunity to converse, exchange ideas and viewpoints among cyber-participants. Participation is open to all.

If you have questions and ideas in the upcoming days before the webinar, you can send them through the Invisible Learning website to @john or @cristobalcobo — or by Twitter (@moravec or @cristobalcobo).

  • The link to join the webinar will be posted at the www.invisiblelearning.com portal
  • Please spread the word about this event by sharing this invitation (i.e., feel free to copy it into your blog)
  • On Twitter, we use the #invislearning hashtag for tracking Invisible Learning conversations.

We will use Adobe Connect Pro to broadcast the webinar, and a recording of the encounter will be posted online immediately after the meeting.

If you would like to know the corresponding hour for this activity in your country, we recommend you use this tool: http://www.timedial.net/world-time-difference-calculator/

We look forward to seeing you at the webinar!
John Moravec
Cristóbal Cobo

Five secrets futurists don't want you to know

Professional futurists continue to make outstanding contributions toward the development of understandings of the future, but is futures thought limited to this select group? Definitely not! With a do-it-yourself attitude, and leverage of the right resources, anybody can become an effective futurist. Here’s why:

  1. Nobody knows the future – don’t trust anybody who says otherwise. The world is changing at an accelerating pace, and it’s simply getting harder and harder to imagine what will happen next, let alone 20 years from now. We are all white belts when it comes to approaching the future. We have never been there before, and it is hard to model a world that does not exist yet. What futurists provide is their “best guess” — hopefully supported by quality research and trends analyses.
  2. Futuring is easier than you think. While some futures research methodologies, such as the Delphi method, require an element of professional experience and expertise, many others are easily done — and should be done — by just about anybody. Environmental scanning, for example, involves simply exposing yourself to as much data and information on a broad range as possible (i.e., reading as many newspapers as you can, daily). The futures wheel is related to mindmapping, and can be easily done within individual or group settings. Jerome Glenn and Theodore Gordon wrote an excellent volume on methodologies used by futurists, Futures Research Methodology Version 3.0 (Available at Amazon.com). For do-it-yourself futurists or those wishing to explore the field, it is an excellent resource that will get you going.
  3. We are all futurists. Few activities are as natural and universal among humans and human cultures are storytelling. We use stories to share our memories and imaginations of events that have happened or will happen. We use stories to share histories, fables and myths of the past. We also use stories to share visions of and for the future — including goal setting, promises of change, narratives of how we improve ourselves, and even apocalyptic nightmares. Even in our sleep, we often dream about future scenarios. Futurists explicitly tap into our stories and the power of storytelling to share their visions and dreams. So can everybody else.
  4. You can access the same information as professional futurists can. Unless if you’re divining knowledge from an isolated and highly controlled information source, the ubiquitous availability of data and information in today’s networked society mean that you can easily and cost-effectively build up your knowledge base of future trends. Moreover, you are welcome to join the same professional societies that professional futurists participate in, such as the World Future Society, providing you with the same connections and access to professional society-level knowledge they have.
  5. We all create the future. Futurists do not create the future, everybody does. Time may move forward, but the future does not just “happen.” Rather we share a responsibility to ensure that the futures we create are positive (ideal outcomes for humanity, the world, etc.). Moreover, in our interconnected world, we cannot disconnect from our futures. We cannot “futureproof” an organization. Nor can we find ways to fight it as individuals. Rather we can harness our inner futurists and lead in the creation of futures of our own design.

Next Horizon Forum roundtable: Education and the Technological Singularity

An invitation to the next Horizon Forum meeting at the University of Minnesota:

Education and the Technological Singularity

January 27, 2010

11:30am – 1:30pm

250 Wulling Hall (U of M East Bank)

At the next Horizon Forum, you are invited to join the discussion, moderated by Arthur Harkins and John Moravec, with special guests, as we probe into the deep future of education.

The New York Times’ John Tierney published an interview with Ray Kurzweil on accelerating change:

Now, [Kurzweil] sees biology, medicine, energy and other fields being revolutionized by information technology. His graphs [of accelerating technological change] already show the beginning of exponential progress in nanotechnology, in the ease of gene sequencing, in the resolution of brain scans. With these new tools, he says, by the 2020s we’ll be adding computers to our brains and building machines as smart as ourselves.

What does this mean for schools today? Kurzweil’s vision of the Singularity is criticized for being technologically deterministic. But, are there relevant social and cultural aspects related to the human experience? At the Horizon Forum’s next open roundtable, will explore what changes could take place in our schools and learning institutions within the next 35 years as technology transforms the human mind and human potential… and what we can start doing today!

Lunch and validated parking will be provided. Please RSVP your attendance by 10am on January 25 to Carole MacLean at cmaclean@umn.edu or call 612-625-5060.

The Horizon Forum is sponsored by the Preparation to Practice Group in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota. For for information about the Horizon Forum, contact John Moravec at moravec@umn.edu or call 612-625-3517.

Settlers of the Shift

New World Order 2.0

I like conceptual maps –tools for illustrating the relationships among ideas– and, Tero Heiskanen created an interesting one. It’s huge. Without any further commentary:

Settlers of the shift is an open map of experts, organizations and ideas that are scattered around the globe. It’s for people whose work is shifting us towards a better tomorrow – a New World Order 2.0. This map aims to encourage people to connect across sectors and enable you to tie partnerships with like-minded individuals.

And:

Six values are suggested as a common backbone for the partnerships:

  • Justice: fair and honest treatment of everyone involved
  • Co-creation: synergistic dialogue and collaboration
  • Meaningfulness: solutions to problems worth solving
  • Generosity: giving time and resources for the sake of giving
  • Dignity: acting in a respectful and ethical manner
  • Abundance: denying artificial scarcity and limitations

(Thanks to Pekka Ihanainen for sharing this find!)

November agenda: Boundless conversations

The month of November promises to be a remarkable series of boundless conversations on the intersections of creativity, technology and innovation in education.

First and foremost, I owe many thanks to Fons van der Berg for organizing Education Futures NL at the Creative Learning Lab in Amsterdam, November 2. The event will feature talks by me and Cristóbal Cobo, with additional activities facilitated by Fons. The Knowmads will also pay us a visit. Central to our conversations is the question: How shall we create new educational contexts that are relevant to Society 3.0?

I will then travel to the i+i Conference in Lunteren (Netherlands) on November 4. This technology-oriented group is interested in the technological, social and philosophical opportunities afforded by computing “in the clouds.” The focus of my keynote: ICT professionals are among the first to notice how accelerating technological change is driving dramatic transformations in society and how we work -but, what about the classroom? Are schools lagging behind in providing meaningful teaching and learning for the 21st century? Unfortunately, in most places, the answer is “yes.” This talk focuses on the evolving needs of society and the economy, and the failure of education to address them. I will present a roadmap to the changes required of education, and open a discussion on “what’s required next” as technology-enabled innovators reinvent Education 3.0.

Later that evening, I will join up with Fons for TeachMeet NL 09, where they say, “the best technologies for learning are conversations and beer.” I can’t wait!

Tom Elko will report from the premiere meeting of the WISE Forum to be held in Doha on November 16 – 18, 2009. The Forum will draw leaders and decision-makers from governments, businesses, civil society, schools & universities, international institutions, NGOs, grassroots movements, top-tier media, multimedia, art and other creative communities around the globe. The event is bringing in an impressive list of speakers, including Gerhard Schröder and Biz Stone (Twitter). Of particular note to educational innovators, Curriki will accept one of the first WISE Awards for innovation in education.

Finally, I head to Helsinki on November 20 for a visit with a seminar at Haaga-Helia University of Applied Science on Boundless Learning. With both virtual and in-person components, the seminar is developing into a real treat to participate in. For a sample of the ideas we will explore, view the videos posted on the Boundless Learning blog.

More soon… stay tuned!

Friedman: U.S. education system endangering global competitiveness

New York times columnist Tom Friedman speaks out:

A Washington lawyer friend recently told me about layoffs at his firm. I asked him who was getting axed. He said it was interesting: lawyers who were used to just showing up and having work handed to them were the first to go because with the bursting of the credit bubble, that flow of work just isn’t there. But those who have the ability to imagine new services, new opportunities and new ways to recruit work were being retained. They are the new untouchables.

That is the key to understanding our full education challenge today. Those who are waiting for this recession to end so someone can again hand them work could have a long wait. Those with the imagination to make themselves untouchables — to invent smarter ways to do old jobs, energy-saving ways to provide new services, new ways to attract old customers or new ways to combine existing technologies — will thrive. Therefore, we not only need a higher percentage of our kids graduating from high school and college — more education — but we need more of them with the right education.

Citing Dan Pink, Friedman continues to conclude that, to be competitive in a global marketplace, the U.S. needs to infuse its schools with “entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity.” As we stated before, there are many obstacles for schools that wish to produce creatives. Most importantly:

  1. No Child Left Behind. NCLB is producing exactly the wrong products for the 21st Century, but is right on for the 1850’s through 1950. NCLB’s fractured memorization model opposes the creative, synthetic thinking required for new work and effective citizenship.
  2. Schools are merging with prisons. As soon as students enter schools, they lose many of their fundamental rights, including the right to free speech. Students who do not wish to conform to prison-like, automaton production must develop individual creativity to survive… often at a price.
  3. Inadequate teacher preparation, recruitment and retention. The U.S. public schools have always been lemmings, but are now failing to produce teachers who are savvy to the contemporary trends their students must learn and respond to in times of accelerating change. The other half of the picture is teacher-modeled creativity, something the public schools have never seriously attempted.
  4. Insufficient adoption of technology. The squeeze is on from both ends: Student-purchased technology is usually derided, suppressed, and sometimes confiscated. These tools are part of the technology spectrum kids know they will have to master. On the other end, technology in the schools is dated, the Internet is firewalled, and there isn’t enough equipment to go around.
  5. Focusing on information retention as opposed to new knowledge production. Disk-drive learning is for computers. Knowledge production and innovation are for humans. The first requires fast recall and low error rates from dumb systems; the second, driven by intelligent people, builds the economy and keeps America competitive.
  6. Innovation is eschewed. Most U.S. teachers think innovation is something that requires them to suffer the discomforts and pains of adaptation. They don’t accept change as a necessary function of expanding national competitiveness. Many U.S. teachers might be more comfortable in industrial world economies and societies represented by China and South Korea, or 1950’s America.
  7. Continuous reorganization of school leadership and priorities, particularly in urban schools. Serious questions can be raised whether schools are the organizations required to cope with semi-permanent underclasses, violent youth, incompetent, irresponsible parenting and negative adult role models. What institutional substitutions would you make for the schools?
  8. National education priorities are built on an idealized past, not on emergent and designed futures. Blends of applied imagination, creativity, and innovation are required to visualize preferred futures, to render them proximal and grounded, and to forge them into empirical realities. On the other hand, it is quite possible that Secretary Spellings and other highly placed education “leaders” have never had an original thought in their entire lives.
  9. Social class and cultural problems in schools and communities suggest that the schools live in a Norman Rockwell past. Bright kids capable of novel thought and new culture creation have never fit into the industrially modeled American schools, and lower-middle class teachers have little respect for working- and poverty-class art, music, and culture. It appears that the schools are populated by timid, unimaginative, lower-middle class professional placeholders who crave convention (spelling bees, car washes, exceptional sports performances) over invention.
  10. Failing to invest resources in education, both financially and socially. Education is formal, informal, and non-formal in structure and function. It is possible that formal education will be recognized as the least powerful of this trio, in part because it is so dated, and in part because it occurs in such a small percentage of life compared with the other two types. Perhaps new funding algorithms and decisions must follow this ratio.

Where do we begin?

Education Futures NL coming November 2

Education Futures - Helikon

Education Futures NL

Practical. Inspirational. Interactive.

November 2, 2009
10:00 – 18:00

Creative Learning Lab
Pakhuis De Zwijger, Amsterdam

Mark your calendars! On November 2, Education Futures NL, a workshop on designing education in the era of change, will kick off. Co-organized with Fons van den Berg (www.helikon.nl) and in cooperation with the Creative Learning Lab, we will bring Netherlands-area education innovators together to explore how to create educational contexts that are relevant in Society 3.0.

Here’s the teaser for our Dutch readers:

Hoe kan onderwijs voor zogeheten knowmads (a creative, imaginative, and innovative person who can work with almost anybody, anytime, and anywhere) eruit zien? Dat is de vraag waar John Moravec graag aan wil werken met Nederlandse onderwijsinnovatoren. Daarom organiseert Education Futures in samenwerking met Helikon een praktisch, inspirerend en interactief seminar over het ontwerpen van onderwijs in een continu veranderende samenleving. Naast prikkelende presentaties bestaat het programma verder uit sessies waarin deelnemers ter plekke ideeën met elkaar uitwerken. Na het seminar krijgen de deelnemers toegang tot een online tool om de discussies verder een vervolg te geven.

For our non-Dutch speakers, the good news is that our working language will be English. Also, we will also be joined by Cristóbal Cobo (by Skype) and a local speaker to be confirmed (stay tuned as we reveal the identity of this Mystery Speaker!). Following the program, we will adjourn to a networking happy hour — and a few seats are available for interested innovators to continue our discussion over dinner. For more information and to register, visit the event Web site at http://www.helikon.nl/educationfuturesnl

Uruguay reacts to Plan Ceibal book pre-launch

Roberto Balaguer notes that a book we are collaborating on has captured the attention of the president of Uruguay:

The website of the Presidency of the Republic [of Uruguay] takes the news. On Tuesday, in connection with the [Montevideo International] Book Fair, we held the pre-presentation of the book on Ceibal Plan and the OLPC model, collective work and shared invaluable colleagues in Argentina, Mexico, Spain, USA, and, of course, Uruguay.

Plan Ceibal

Uruguay, through the Ceibal Plan, was the first country to adopt the One Laptop Per Child platform. Roberto Balaguer compiled an international, critical look into the initiative, that provides an extensive review. The following collaborators contributed to the volume:

1. Roberto Balaguer (Uruguay) “Plan Ceibal: Los ojos del mundo en el primer modelo OLPC a escala nacional” [“Plan Ceibal: The eyes of the world in the first OLPC nationwide model”].
2. Fernando Garrido (Spain) “¿Otra vez el mismo error? OLPC, Determinismo Tecnológico y Educación” [“Again the same mistake? OLPC technological determinism and education”].
3. Edgar Gómez Cruz (Mexico) “Domesticación de la Tecnología: una aproximación crítica al proyecto de OLPC” [“Domestication of technology: A critical approach to the OLPC project”].
4. Tíscar Lara (Spain) “Aprender a ser ciudadano desde las prácticas digitales” [“Learning to be a citizen from digital practices”].
5. Guillermo Lutzky (Argentina) “La Escuela Digital, un cambio obligatorio para los modelos 1 a 1” [“The Digital School, a change required to 1 to 1 models”].
6. Mónica BaezGraciela Rabajoli (Uruguay) “La escuela extendida. Impacto del Modelo CEIBAL” [“The school extended: Impact of the Ceibal model”].
7. Alicia Kachinovsky (Uruguay) “La Universidad de la República en tiempos del Plan Ceibal” [“The University of the Republic in times of the Ceibal Plan”].
8. Octavio Islas (Mexico) “Retos que representa la enseñanza en el imaginario de la ‘Generación Einstein'” [“Challenges posed by teaching in the imagination of the ‘Einstein Generation'”].
9. Cristóbal Cobo (Mexico) “Aprendizaje de código abierto” [“Learning from open source”].
10. Raúl Trejo Delarbre (Mexico) “Un niño para cada laptop” [“A laptop for every child”].
11. John Moravec (USA) “¿Y ahora, qué?” [“So, what now?”].
12. Miguel Brechner (Uruguay) “Los tres si” [“The three yeses”].

I join many of the collaborators in dedicating my contribution to the volume to our colleague and co-author, Guillermo Lutzky, who passed away late last month.

TEDIndia fellowship deadline approaches

The organizers of TEDIndia asked that I share this reminder that the application deadline for TEDIndia fellowships is June 15, 2009. What makes TEDIndia extra-special is, that the TED Fellows program will include a group of 100 innovators from India and South Asia who have shown unusual accomplishment and exceptional courage. These young world-changers will get the opportunity to become a part of the TED community which will help amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

TED is looking for an eclectic, heterogeneous group of young thinkers and doers from the fields of technology, entertainment, design, the sciences, engineering, humanities, the arts, economics, business, journalism, entrepreneurship and NGOs. More information is available at http://conferences.ted.com/TEDIndia/

The role of schools in Education 3.0

Note: This article is a part of the Designing Education 3.0 series at Education Futures.

An an era driven by globalized relationships, innovative social technologies, and fueled by accelerating change, how should we reinvent schools?

Education 3.0 schools produce knowledge-producing students, not automatons that recite facts that may never be applied usefully. Education 3.0 substitutes this “just in case” memorization with skills for designing their futures in a society that is increasingly dependent on imagination, creativity and innovation. One subset of these skills may be expressed in the adoption of New Basics.

Education 3.0 schools share, remix and capitalize on new ideas. This requires a new openness and transformations of schools from places of production line-style learning to laboratories and design centers. 3.0 schools can become “beta” sites to develop and test new technologies, pedagogies and social configurations. These opportunities also imply that schools will express new forms of leadership within the communities that they serve.

Finally, prepare students that will be able to compete for jobs that have not yet been invented, Education 3.0 schools embrace change rather than fighting change. Rather than fighting to maintain the legacies of previous centuries, schools may become the driving forces of creating new paradigms that will drive this and future centuries. Moreover, rather than trying to catch-up with change, 3.0 schools continuously leapfrog ahead of their contemporary institutions to lead in the adoptions of new technologies and practices.

Finally, Education 1.0 schools cannot teach 3.0 students. The move to the 3.0 paradigm requires genuine and massive structural transformations, not a cosmetic makeover. If schools continue to embrace the 1.0 paradigm and are outmoded by students that thrive in a 3.0 society, we can only expect continuous failure.

19th_century

Are we ready to take on the challenge?