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John Moravec embarks on global tour to redesign education

Education Futures founder Dr. John Moravec has embarked on a global tour to redesign mainstream education systems. Moravec asks, “In a world consumed with uncertainty and a growing sense of the obsolescence of our education systems, how can we ensure the success of ourselves as individuals, our communities, and the planet?” The solution, he believes, is an urgent redesign to evolve learning.

At a keynote speech at Girls in Tech in Guayaquil, Ecuador earlier this month, Moravec stated:

Our school systems are built on cultures of obedience, enforced compliance, and complacency. It is easier to be told what to think than to think ourselves. It’s time to break the rules – but understand why first! Future education leaders will create justified breaks from the system that challenge the status quo and have the potential to create real impact.

Moravec continued on to Doha, Qatar November 14-17 as an invited delegate to the World Innovation Summit for Education where he shared international experiences. He shared, “leveraging technologies, we can now bring broad communities together in conversations that matter. If educators are to build a collective capacity to transform education, we need engaged communities, and we also need to engage with the communities we serve.”

On November 25, Moravec travels again to provide an invited keynote lecture at International Meeting on Distance Education in Guadalajara, Mexico, and to conduct action research for the federal government of Mexico. Education Futures has spent the past nine months developing a software platform to collect data from diverse communities and provide comparative analysis that is relevant for policymakers and institutions. The tool will is being piloted now and will be available for all EF research projects by the end of 2017.

Before kicking off the tour, Moravec spoke with Mariana Ludmila (@edularity) on building new futures for education:

Interview with Gary Knell of Sesame Workshop

Gary Knell, President and CEO of Sesame WorkshopGlobal initiatives are often discussed but rarely implemented, and rarely come in the form of a forty-year-old television show. With the international expansion of Sesame Street, one of the most innovative and engaging children’s programs is establishing early childhood learning curriculum throughout the globe.

Sesame Workshop President and CEO, Gary Knell, spoke on innovation and early childhood development at the 2009 WISE Summit in Doha, Qatar.

Education Futures was able to corner Mr. Knell after an awards dinner and ask him about a globalized Sesame Street, emerging technology, and Baby Einstein.

Link to interview at archive.org

Curriki: Open source education materials

Screen shot 2009-11-11 at 2.27.05 PMOpen source collaborative content holds the promise of freely distributed high-quality education materials. Developing and sustaining the community to needed to accomplish that is the difficult part.

Curriki, an online community of over 100,000 educators, learners and experts collectively developing curriculum resources freely available to anyone who wants them, seems to be meeting the challenge.

The organization behind the web community aims to produce a breadth of high quality education materials that can be globally distributed at no cost. Dr. Bobbi Kurshan, Executive Director of Curriki, believes the budget-friendly aspect of the service could fuel its growth.

“We license the materials under Creative Commons,” Kurshan explained, “so it is free to use provided you give attribution.”

By using the open source process for education, Curriki hopes to empower educational professionals to become active in the creation of “world-class” curricula. That includes lesson plans, student activities and text books.

While it is difficult to say how widely the content is being used, Curriki has been involved in several high profile endeavors both in the United States and globally.

“We’re doing quite a bit of international work, often filling the void in areas without access to text books,” said Kurshan.

Curriki was founded by Sun Microsystems in March 2004 as the Global Education & Learning Community (GELC), it was later spun off as an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit to focus on developing open source curricula. The group has so far gotten by on money from foundations and grants, but Kurshan must now think about maintaining the effort long term.

“We’re interested in engaging in conversations about sustainability.”

Curriki is among the winners of the WISE Awards 2009, recognizing outstanding practice and achievements within the themes of Pluralism, Sustainability and Innovation in education. EducationFutures.com will be covering this WISE Summit through next wekk.