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Knowmads' Western Asia Summer Course

The Knowmads (NL) are launching an interesting social entrepreneurship experience in Western Asia. I’m sharing their release in its entirety because I believe this is a worthwhile learning and praxis opportunity for developing Knowmads:

Theme: Social Entrepreneurship
This summer course is all about experiencing the Knowmads way of working. We will work with you, in a team of minimal 15 and maximum 25 internationals, on a project in Israel and/or Palestine. The project we are going to create will connect to youth, community and entrepreneurship and will have an impact for you, for the community and for the world. We call it a win-win-win project.

The 4 weeks
The project takes in total four weeks. In the first week we will get to know each other and investigate each other’s talents. By doing this we create a team that will really rock the boat. The second week we will start with creative and innovative idea development for the project. The third and fourth week we will work together on the project and make the things happen planned in the first two weeks.

Who are we looking for?
We are looking for outstanding, creative and highly motivated young people willing to undertake an entrepreneurial challenge. There is not a specific or ideal type of candidate for this course. You have to be willing to work with your head, heart and hands.

What does it cost?
The price of the course is Euro 2000,-. This is inclusive all the material, travelling in Israel/Palestine and housing. This price is exclusive travelling to (and from) Tel Aviv, food and drinks.

Why to choose Knowmads Summer Course?

  • The course is a highly specialised programme, with a strong focus on a real life case.
  • There are networking opportunities with entrepreneurs / companies / municipalities / NGO’s, also after the programme
  • You have the chance for transferring successful ideas to your own country.
  • You can challenge yourself and be coached in this
  • There is didactic quality guaranteed by Knowmads; 3?6 Knowmads will facilitate the course.
  • You will work in an International atmosphere in a truly multicultural environment.

How to sign up?

  • Apply before the 24th of June 2010.
  • Before the 26th of June we will confirm your registration; we will only start our course with a minimum of 15 applicants.

Practicalities

  • The spoken and written language of the course is English
  • During the course we will work six days a week
  • The tuition fee needs to be paid before the 10th of July. We will provide details later.

Info: send an e-mail to Pieter@knowmads.nl or call 00 31 6 814 90 700.

School's out forever

Will Richardson asks, “is anyone else a bit interested in the fact that one 21,000 student district in the UK has decided to close all of its high schools and open learning centers instead:

In the words of rock legend Alice Cooper’s most famous song, “school’s out forever”. Knowsley Council in Merseyside, which – for years – has languished near or at the bottom of exam league tables, has abolished the use of the word to describe secondary education in the borough. It is taking the dramatic step of closing all of its eleven existing secondary schools by 2009. As part of a £150m government-backed rebuilding programme, they will reopen as seven state-of-the-art, round-the-clock, learning centres with the aid of Microsoft – which has already developed links with one school in the borough, Bowring.

The schools are moving from a deficit model of learning (“students can’t do…”) to a “can do” approach that the article claims will create creative students that will be valued by future employers. Operating 24 hours a day, the centers will allow students to explore problems that interest them at their own pace, rather than steering them through inflexible curricula.

This is an important change, as Knowsley Council seems to have figured out that students can get their information from anywhere (electronically, from social interactions, etc.). What’s important is the construction of information into knowledge and the creative use of new knowledge.

Microsoft has so far struck out in its attempts to reform education. Has it finally crafted a hit? This is worth watching…

(Thanks to Scott McLeod for the tip.)

How Minneapolis can reinvent itself and thrive

I’ve been participating on the Minneapolis Public Schools Technology Planning Steering Committee. The committee has adopted the Leapfrog Paradigm and leapfrog thinking into its planning. Leaping frogs are showing up in presentations, and leapfrog is becoming a metaphor for creativity in the district. The committee’s work has, however, thus far focused on discussion on the use of technologies to promote its vision to advance student achievement and improve staff productivity. I think MPS can still do better. Leapfrogging can allow the district to lead in achievement, productivity, and meaningful knowledge production.

Here are five quick thoughts on what I believe MPS can do to reinvent itself and thrive as an institution:

  1. Commit to leadership in the reinvention of education in Minneapolis, the state, and in the world. The technology planning group can be the catalyst for this new orientation toward global leadership.
  2. Total success is possible. Do not set any goal too low, and do not be afraid to set any goal too high. Set big, hairy, audacious goals –but, make sure to align them with a Noble Quest in a broader leapfrog strategy.
  3. Don’t worry about breaking the rules. Bypass them. Better yet, leapfrog them! The disruptive change required to revolutionize MPS requires a new set of rules on a new playing field.
  4. Collaborate! Advances in communications technologies and socioeconomic globalization now means that MPS competes with the world in creating meaningful education. Rather than compete, why not leverage technologies and resources available to build global-reaching partnerships and collaborations?
  5. Forget about planning for the 21st Century. It’s meaningless to continue to plan for educating in the 21st Century. We’re already here. We need to start planning for the 22nd Century –and reassess our goals and priorities today based on where we need to be in the future.

That’s my two cents. I hope that these ideas will help to build a new MPS that is vibrant, edgy, hard-charging, and value-creating for Minneapolis, the state and the world.

Leapfrogging to an innovation-driven society

In an interview with Frank Moss, director of MIT’s Media Lab, BusinessWeek uncovers a vision for the future driven by disruptive change. This thinking is behind a new breed of entrepreneurs who, says Moss:

Resist the current temptation to make incremental changes to attract funding. It might get you off the ground, but I don’t think it will get you very far. Today, the funding climate has changed. The successful (entrepreneurs) will look for fundamental disruptive change. I encourage them to take risks, rather than just polish the faucets. There will always be an appetite for game-changing technology.

And, what does Moss think of the future of education?

We will undergo another revolution when we give 100 million kids a smart cell phone or a low-cost laptop, and bootstrap the way they learn outside of school. We think of games as a way to kill time, but in the future I think it will be a major vehicle for learning.

Link to the BusinessWeek Online article.

NY Times: Business reorganization affects innovation

Article link: Innovation and disruption still going hand in hand

The New York Times reports that “the cutthroat environment of ever increasing competition could actually hinder future technological advances.” The drive for innovative business models in an increasingly deregulated and globalized environment creates rapid continuous change in the global economy. An American school textbook publisher, for example, must now generate most of its material in New Delhi to remain competitive. But funding for new technology development has significantly decreased since the 1990’s. The article suggests business reorgination in favor of competitiveness causes companies to no longer consider the “long view” of their development strategies. In exchange for competitiveness today, companies are neglecting innovative technological development.