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Knowmad Society is now available!

Last December, we celebrated the completion of the Knowmad Society project by launching it at Seats2Meet.com in Utrecht. Now, we are pleased to launch the website, and offer the book as a free download, a free iPhone app, or a $0.99 Amazon.com Kindle purchase.

Full details about book is available at http://www.knowmadsociety.com.

Photo by Rene Wouters

Knowmad Society launch – Photo by Rene Wouters

A collaboration between John Moravec, Cristóbal Cobo, Thieu Besselink, Christel Hartkamp, Pieter Spinder, Edwin de Bree, Bianca Stokman, Christine Renaud, and Ronald van den Hoff, Knowmad Society explores the future of learning, work and how we relate with each other in a world where we are now asked to design our own futures. These nine authors from three continents, ranging from academics to business leaders, share their visions for the future of learning and work, and provide insight into what they are doing now to help drive positive outcomes. Former U.S. Sen. Gary Hart provides an afterword on his take on how to best support a knowmad society in the international arena.

Knowmads are nomadic knowledge workers –creative, imaginative, and innovative people who can work with almost anybody, anytime, and anywhere. Industrial society is giving way to knowledge and innovation work. Whereas industrialization required people to settle in one place to perform a very specific role or function, the jobs associated with knowledge and information workers have become much less specific concerning task and place. Moreover, technologies allow for these new paradigm workers to work within a broader options of space, including “real,” virtual, or many blended. Knowmads can instantly reconfigure and recontextualize their work environments, and greater mobility is creating new opportunities.

The authors explore knowmad society in terms of socioeconomic evolution from industrial, information-based society to knowledge-based society, to a creative, context-driven Knowmad Society. Educational and organizational implications are explored, experiences are shared, and the book concludes with a powerful message of “what’s it going to take” for nations and cultures to succeed in Knowmad Society.

Key topics covered include: reframing learning and human development; required skills and competencies; rethinking schooling; flattening organizations; co-creating learning; and new value creation in organizations.

Knowmad Society is published by Education Futures LLC with additional support from Seats2Meet.com.

Nine key characteristics of knowmads in Society 3.0

A knowmad is what I have previously termed a nomadic knowledge and innovation worker – that is, a creative, imaginative, and innovative person who can work with almost anybody, anytime, and anywhere. Moreover, knowmads are valued for the personal knowledge that they possess, and this knowledge gives them a competitive advantage. Industrial society is giving way to knowledge and innovation work. Whereas the industrialization of Society 1.0 required people to settle in one place to perform a very specific role or function, the jobs associated with knowledge and information workers have become much less specific in regard to task and place. Moreover, technologies allow for these new paradigm workers to work either at a specific place, virtually, or any blended combination. Knowmads can instantly reconfigure and recontextualize their work environments, and greater mobility is creating new opportunities.

In Invisible Learning, Cristóbal Cobo and I presented a “passport of skills for a knowmad” (p. 57). Refining the list a bit, I am pleased to present an update with nine key characteristics of knowmads in Society 3.0:

Knowmads…

  1. Are not restricted to a specific age. (see note, below)
  2. Build their personal knowledge through explicit information gathering and tacit experiences, and leverage their personal knowledge to produce new ideas.
  3. Are able to apply their ideas and expertise contextually in various social and organizational configurations.
  4. Are highly motivated to collaborate, and are natural networkers, navigating new organizations, cultures, and societies.
  5. Purposively use new technologies to help them solve problems and transcend geographical limitations.
  6. Are open to sharing what they know, and invite the open access to information, knowledge and expertise from others.
  7. Develop habits of mind and practice to learn continuously, and can unlearn as quickly as they learn, adopting new ideas and practices as necessary.
  8. Thrive in non-hierarchical networks and organizations.
  9. Are not afraid of failure — and see their failures as learning opportunities.

The remixing of places and social relationships is also impacting education. Students in Knowmad Society should learn, work, play, and share in almost any configuration. But there is little evidence to support any claim that education systems are moving toward a knowmad-enabled paradigm. When we compare the list of skills required of knowmads to the outcomes of mainstream education, I wonder: What are we educating for? Are we educating to create factory workers and bureaucrats? Or, are we educating to create innovators, capable of leveraging their imagination and creativity?

These questions –and more– will be explored further in the book Knowmad Society, which will be released later this year.


Note: Due to current social structures that limit participation in the new society (i.e., access to pooled health insurance), the largest growth in knowmadic workers today are among youth and older workers.

Invisible Learning released

Cristóbal Cobo and I are pleased to announce that the Spanish edition of our new book, Invisible Learning (Aprendizaje Invisible), has just been released by the University of Barcelona (Col·lecció Transmedia XXI. Laboratori de Mitjans Interactius / Publicacions i Edicions de la Universitat de Barcelona). The e-book is available for purchase at the UB website today. The print edition will arrive in the coming months. Update May 15, 2011: The print edition is now available for order at the UB website.

TO DOWNLOAD THE BOOK, VISIT THE UNIVERSITY OF BARCELONA PRESS

Dialogue with the Cristóbal Cobo and John Moravec about Invisible Learning

The Invisible Learning concept

Our proposed invisible learning concept is the result of several years of research and work to integrate diverse perspectives on a new paradigm of learning and human capital development that is especially relevant in the context of the 21st century. This view takes into account the impact of technological advances and changes in formal, non-formal, and informal education, in addition to the ‘fuzzy’ metaspaces in between. Within this approach, we explore a panorama of options for future development of education that is relevant today. Invisible Learning does not propose a theory, but rather establishes a metatheory capable of integrating different ideas and perspectives. This has been described as a protoparadigm, which is still in the ‘beta’ stage of construction.

Our conversation starts in Spanish

We are pleased that the University of Barcelona approached us to publish the book, and they have the privilege to produce the first printed edition as well as the first electronic edition. Moreover, with more native Spanish speakers in the United States than in Spain, we believe there is a legitimate market for a Spanish-language text throughout the Americas and Europe.

An English edition is in the works, and we hope to reward our patient English readers with the next release as a free ebook. If you are interested in helping us produce this edition (i.e., direct assistance through translation support or other resources), please email us.

Presentations and workshops

Yes, we love to talk! If you are interested in organizing a presentation or workshop about Invisible Learning at your organization, please email us. Recordings of some of our previous talks are linked, below:

Continuing the conversation

This book uses the hashtag #invisi in Twitter. You can also follow us:

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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?

Over-engineering != innovation

Bigger or more complicated is not always better. Scott Anthony wrote an article in Harvard Business on the perils of “too much innovation.” He writes on over-engineering innovations:

There is something about human nature that restlessly seeks to improve things. But instead of asking “Can we?” innovate to improve what exists and create what doesn’t, companies need to ask “Should we?”

[…]

Overshooting happens in just about every industry. It tends to start in the least demanding tiers of the market and creep up to more demanding tiers. Overshooting creates conditions that encourage the formation of disruptive attackers who change the game through simplicity or low prices.

Simplifications can be innovations, too. The success of the iPod and iPhone can be credited to their simplistic designs. Likewise, the minimalism movement transformed the post-WWII design world. Education systems, in the meantime, have transformed into highly-engineered organisms.

Can simple work in education, too?

Driven by a New Paradigm of globalization, rise of the knowledge society and accelerating change, the education sector is in dire need of innovative transformations. Rather than over-engineering solutions to the challenges we face in education, are there simple, yet seemingly elegant, pathways to successful futures?

Minnesota Higher Education in the New Paradigm of Knowledge Production: Findings and Discussion of a Delphi Study

Here’s my presentation from this morning’s La Universidad en México en el año 2030: imaginando futuros conference at UNAM in Mexico City.

(Click here for the Spanish version.)

This paper introduces how the convergence of globalization, emergence of the knowledge society and accelerating change contribute to what might be best termed a New Paradigm of knowledge production in higher education. The New Paradigm reflects the emerging shifts in thought, beliefs, priorities and practice in regard to education in society. These new patterns of thought and belief are forming to harness and manage the chaos, indeterminacy, and complex relationships of the postmodern.

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Open Seminar 2.0: A hemisphere of innovative knowledge

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“Version 2.0” of the open seminar “From Information to Innovation Knowledge” will kick off on January 24, 2008. Partnering institutions include the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota, FLACSO-México, FLACSO-Ecuador, and FLACSO-Chile. Confirmed guest lecturers include Dr. Nora Sabelli at SRI International and Ismael Peña-López at Universitat Oberta de Catalunya.

University of Minnesota students may join the co-seminar by registering for EdPA 5102 section 2 (“Knowledge Formats”). All others should contact Ana Karla Romeru at FLACSO-México for information on how to participate.

Utilizing Web 2.0 social technologies, Skype and Adobe Connect platforms, the course will connect the three FLACSOs with the University of Minnesota for both synchronous and asynchronous learning. Course content includes discussions of:

  • A New Paradigm of knowledge production
  • Tools for information and knowledge management
  • Collective intelligence
  • Learning technologies (including open sourcing of education)
  • Knowledge, innovation and new context-creating workers
  • Human capital development
  • Complex systems
  • “2.0” technologies and beyond

The Minnesota sessions will be facilitated by Dr. Arthur Harkins and myself. Dr. Cristóbal Cobo will coordinate the course among our Latin American partners. For more information on the project or our co-seminar approach, please email me at moravec@umn.edu.

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!

A New Paradigm of Knowledge Production

My doctoral dissertation, A New Paradigm of Knowledge Production in Minnesota Higher Education: A Delphi Study, is available for purchase online or for online preview:

SPECIAL:

Download now and save! For the month of September, the PDF edition is available for download at the discounted price of $30.00 $15.00 (50% off)!

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