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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:

Open seminar 2.0 countdown continues…

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Caption: Working late into this evening, the instructional team in Minnesota, Mexico, Ecuador and Chile (that’s a span of nearly 9,000 km among the conferencing sites!) tests various video and audio conferencing connections.

Leapfrog Ecuador!

I’m back from a week in Ecuador, where I participated in a conference hosted in the Faculty of Latin American Social Sciences (FLACSO), and delivered two invited lectures. At FLACSO, I discussed the co-seminar conducted by myself and Dr. Arthur Harkins at the University of Minnesota, in cooperation with FLACSO-México (lead by Dr. Cristóbal Cobo).

On Monday, Cobo and I visited the Universidad San Francisco de Quito, and presented to a group of about 150 students and faculty. Cobo discussed his new book, Planeta Web 2.0, and I followed-up with a presentation on the collaboration between UMN-FLACSO, with a focus on our co-seminar model.

On Tuesday, Cobo and I presented the co-seminar model, our joint course, lessons learned, and future prospects at the FLACSO 50th Anniversary conference. Much of the discussion with the audience was centered on the future of education. Dr. Eduardo Ibarra (from UAM-Cuajimalpa) commented on the need for post-disciplinary learning (the dynamic creation of new disciplines, often at the personal level), beyond the transdisciplinary scope that we presented. (That’s Leapfrog thinking!) Eduardo will host a conference on imagining futures for Mexican universities in 2030 in early December. I will participate there, so we will have a lot to talk about!

“Version 2.0” of the seminar will commence in January. This time, in addition to FLACSO-México, FLACSO-Ecuador and FLACSO-Chile may also join. Following a Skype conference with Ismael Peña-López (of ICTlogy), it’s possible that Ph.D. students at UOC in Barcelona will participate as well. So, it is conceivable the co-seminar may be conducted in three languages: English, Spanish and Catalan.

Wednesday involved an early morning flight to the Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja (UTPL) in Southern Ecuador. The school has 23,000 students, of which 20,000 are distance learners. Cobo and I toured the campus, met with leaders of the central administration and research centers, and delivered lectures to about 250 students and faculty. Cobo again discussed Planeta Web 2.0, but also focused on “so what?” questions regarding his book. I discussed the New Paradigm and the Leapfrog Principle. Together, we highlighted how accelerating change is transforming everything in society, and the students presented cheered at several of the leapfrog-enabling technologies on the horizon.

A few audience members posted their reactions to our lectures:

(In two of the above posts, I am incorrectly noted as a co-author of Planeta Web 2.0. That’s not true! It’s written by Cristóbal Cobo and Hugo Pardo. Also, a statement I made was misinterpreted. To correct the record, I stated that U.S. universities are now only discussing incorporating Web 2.0 technologies into their schools; whereas Loja is already adopting their use in the curriculum.)

An interesting aspect of UTPL is that its students and recent graduates run its research centers, and that the university is providing spaces for student-run “skunk works.” In addition to providing facilities, UTPL provides these entrepreneurial students with business and legal advice for forming successful ventures in Ecuador. Their hope is to create a new Silicon Valley in the Loja Valley. I found this focus on youth empowerment to be enlightening.

Wednesday afternoon focused on conversations with UTPL leaders on “what’s next.” More on that will emerge over the next few months… stay tuned!

Taking the co-seminar model to Quito

On Saturday, I’m off to Quito, Ecuador, the home of Guayasamin! I will present at the FLACSO 50th Anniversary Congress and at the Universidad San Francisco. The University of Minnesota-FLACSO Mexico co-seminar I taught with Arthur Harkins and Cristobal Cobo will be the primary focus of my talks. Since I will travel without my laptop (relying solely on the N800 and available wifi networks for Internet use), Dr. Jayson Richardson will guest blog next week.

Here is my presentation, in both Spanish and English:


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View the presentation full screen.