From Manifesto 15:
30 days ago, on January 1st, I released Manifesto 15: a statement that started a conversation about principles for building positive education futures, grounded on the idea that we urgently need to evolve learning. This is a public declaration of a vision for education futures. In the past 30 days, it’s been read and discussed by thousands of people, signed by many, featured at a TEDx event in Guatemala, and teams of volunteers around the world have translated it into 11 languages (and visual notes!) – and more are on the way.
Manifesto 15 is posted online at http://manifesto15.org.
I’m thankful for the interest in this project and the support we have received around the world. I now seek your guidance on how we can best move forward.
Our message is based on the need to challenge the assumptions our learning systems are built on. We need to understand why, how, what, and for whom we are educating. The manifesto is intended to serve as a “snapshot” of what we’ve learned to date in regard to creating positive education futures. It’s not meant to pretend to have all the answers or the best ideas, but it’s an honest assessment of where we’ve been, and, through a statement of principles, illustrate where we would like to go. We present a global perspective that is about creating futures that we can all thrive in. It is decentered from any particular context, and is just as much North-South as it is South-North in orientation. We’re not pandering to anybody or any particular agenda. We just think that we can do better in education.
Here’s the best part: This is a conversation that we all own.
Please take the document as a starting point, and build in your own ideas and practices. Or, create and share your own sets of principles. The document is open for discussion, remixing, and sharing – and please do so with your own networks.
Our invitation remains open to join us and build community, centered on trust and open dialogue, as we work to change the face of education. If you would like to help us develop a plan for action that connects with the principles of Manifesto 15, or would like to explore how we can bring these ideas to your organization, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Mahatma Gandhi taught us: “Be the change you want to see.” Let’s do it!
John Moravec, PhD
Founder, Education Futures
During the week of September 21, I was invited by the Peruvian Ministry of Education and IPAE (Instituto Peruano de Administración de Empresas) to conduct a workshop on education in Knowmad Society and deliver a keynote at the Encuentro Nacional de Jóvenes Innovadores (“ENJi” – the national encounter of youth innovators). The outcomes were stunning.
Dr. Cristóbal Cobo and I first teamed up for the workshop at MinEdu, which was constructed as a localization of our “Sociedad Knowmad” workshop series. The workshop offered government officials frameworks for the formulation of relevant policies and legislation for achieving goals set by the Ministry, while embracing “umbrella” concepts such as Invisible Learning and Knowmad Society. Over the two days, we engaged in conceptual dialogue, thinking forward activities, policy roadmapping, and a World Café session on building innovative futures in for Peruvian education.
Cristóbal and I again teamed up with our complementary keynotes for the 400 young innovators at ENJi. Focusing on our work on the Invisible Learning project as a starting point, Cristóbal talked about incorporating the creative process into our work and learning by developing soft skills (i.e., interest, curiosity, reflection, unlearning) to create new value for ourselves, our organizations, and our communities. In my talk, I emphasized the value of nonconformity in the interest of pursuing what we truly love, and how this relates to knowmadic work. Our talks intersected on the development of “entreprenerds,” people who dream, create, make, explore, learn and promote businesses or social endeavors, taking risks and enjoying the process as much as the final outcome, without fearing the potential failures or mistakes that this journey includes. (Incidentally, “entreprenerd” is the topic of our next collaborative project.)
What really amazed me was the extent to which the knowmad concept is catching on in Peru – as well as elsewhere through Latin America. IPAE pulled out all the stops to give the knowmad “brand” a successful presence: signage, bags, t-shirts, badges, and so on. Not to mention an aggressive television and print media campaign. As for the impact, #knowmad was a trending topic in Twitter at the national level. It was an honor to witness so much visibility for the idea as it develops into a movement.
At the closing panel discussion at ENJi, I asked the audience, “starting tomorrow, who’s going to take action to make Knowmad Society a reality in Peru?” A number of hands raised, and there were some great responses with specific actions. One stood out, however: Daniel Navarrete (@danielitohead) announced that he is creating a new group called “Mundo Knowmad” to support and help co-lead the creation of new knowmadic possibilities in Latin America. Great! Two days later, I joined them for their first meeting in Lima:
This was a great conference, and we had a great time. I’d like to give special thanks to Maite Vizcarra, Lorena Sánchez, and Roberto Esparza with IPAE and to the team at PromPeru for their generosity and for being such great hosts!
The text is in Spanish, but Educarchile posted a nice recap of my keynote at ExpoEnlaces 2013, organized by the Chilean Ministry of Education. Here are some highlights, translated into English:
We do not know what education will be like in the coming decades, but it is clear that the Internet and new technologies are changing the way we learn; not only by the amount of information that can be queried , but also the ability to connect and collaborate freely other.
Is that the new technologies that bring context gives students a much more active role in their own learning. Something that John Moravec, American expert on education, globalization, and work calls “invisible learning.” According to this paradigm, developed in conjunction with the Chilean Cristóbal Cobo, the opportunities for learning extend beyond the scope of the classroom.
“We are facing what I call the ‘[knowmadic] society of knowledge’ (society 3.0) focused on the action and personal innovation. Against this background, schools should not focus on what to learn but how to learn. 1.0 schools cannot teach 3.0 students, nomads of learning,” Moravec said.
According to the expert, education 3.0 should be focused on soft skills in creating new learning environments and ecologies of learning, reinvent our relationship with technology, “such as consumers move from content publishers to create technologies to improve relationships and not replace,” and the specialist says the hardest is to, “develop systemic approaches to address how to teach using Technology at as a systems problem.”
Education Futures has partnered with Whitewater Learning to create an online module of John Moravec‘s popular talk around “designing the future of education in society 3.0.” Now, teachers, administrators, and other licensed school professionals may earn continuing education units by participating in an online learning experience around the topic.
- The relationship between technological change and social change.
- How to create a personalized pathway for managing/attending to personal and professional growth in new technology-driven social contexts.
- The frameworks of Societies 1.0 – 3.0.
- How you will lead personnel and innovation capital in the Society 3.0 context.
- How you will build a vision of your responsibilities as a leader for creating opportunities for learners within each techno-social paradigm explored in this module.
Whitewater Learning provides affordable, quality, online professional development created by educators, for educators. The topics are uniquely packaged as modules featuring a multi-layered narrated presentation, annotated suggested readings, a study sheet, glossary, assessment for learning, and practice sets for real-world application. The content aligns with state and national competencies and the flexible format allows year-long access for individuals or groups to use in coaching, relicensure, team initiatives, workshops, small learning communities, flipped classroom approach, and more.
More information: www.whitewaterlearning.org
From July 28 to August 2, 2013, the European Democratic Education Community (EUDEC) held its fifth annual general meeting and conference. This year’s host was De Ruimte democratic school in Soest, The Netherlands, with an organizing committee comprised of staff members and alumni of Dutch democratic schools. 261 participants attended, ranging from students, staff members, parents, and interested community members. I attended as a member of the Sudbury Munich startup school’s scientific advisory board.
An affiliate of the International Democratic Education Network, EUDEC claims to represent about 58,000 people across 26 countries, including 42 schools, 19 start-up schools, and other member organizations and individuals. The bulk of the conference was organized into an open space, where all participants were invited to organize workshops, including ones that were organized spontaneously according to conversations and needs of participants during the conference. The annual general meeting was limited to voting members, but the final day of the conference was open to an additional 27 public visitors. At the last day, invited scholars, researchers, entrepreneurs, and school founders provided lectures and workshops.
Democratic education, as defined by EUDEC is comprised of two pillars:
- Self-determined learning: “Students in democratic schools and universities choose how to spend their school days, pursue their interests and prepare themselves for their lives and chosen careers” (EUDEC, n.d.).
- A community of equality and mutual respect: “Democratic schools have school meetings in which all members of the community have an equal vote, regardless of age or status. Students and teachers can sit together as equals to discuss and vote on school rules, curricula, projects, the hiring of staff and even budgetary matters” (EUDEC, n.d.).
EUDEC member schools have various models and approaches to how democratic education is practiced in their institutions, but many face similar obstacles in gaining the approval of government authorities across Europe, which nearly universally impose structural limitations that ban self-determined learning and disallow students to have an equal voice. The result is that many schools face constant legal battles to stay open, and, in some cases, even parents of the schools are charged as criminals for sending their children there (see esp. Thomas, 2013 for a typical case outline). For the schools that are under siege by authorities, the conference provides a valuable retreat to share experiences, learn from others, and expand networks.
The conference theme was “we create the future,” which from my perspective as an education futurist could not be more pertinent. This clashed with a sentiment shared by many of the schools, and particularly the Sudbury-type schools, that their approach to education is “radical.” I strongly disagree. In an era driven by accelerating technological change, globalization, and the emergence of a “knowmadic” society (Moravec, 2013a, 2013b), democratic schools are a necessary option for creating a near-future workforce that is creative, imaginative, and innovative in its application of personal-level knowledge.
As the democratic schools movement grows, the shift from their approach from being perceived as radical to a viable option presents new opportunities for research and academic discourse development. From my observations at conference workshops and in conversations with participants, there are tremendous variations in how self-determined and democratic learning is implemented. Deep research into differing practices could yield rich new, vocabulary and dimensions of democratic education that have been largely ignored.
In my overall opinion, the EUDEC conference in 2013 deserves high praise for both quality of content and organization. In my informal conversations with participants, however, the conference itself was not the star of the show – but rather the food. Chef Sytse Kramer from HetEten set up a full kitchen outdoors, employed at-risk youth as cooks, and produced restaurant-quality dishes that received near universal acclaim throughout the week. At the closing ceremony of the conference, we had a lot to cheer about, but only the raucous applause for Chef Kramer could be heard over several kilometers away in the center of Soest.
About the author
John Moravec is a scholar on the future of work and education; a global speaker; editor of the Knowmad Society project; a co-director of the Invisible Learning project; and is an advisor with Education Futures (http://www.educationfutures.com).
- EUDEC. (n.d.). European Democratic Education Community | Democratic Education. Retrieved August 05, 2013, from http://www.eudec.org/Democratic+Education
- Moravec, J. W. (2013a). Knowmad Society: The “new” work and education. On the Horizon, 21(2), 79–83. doi:10.1108/10748121311322978
- Moravec, J. W. (2013b). Rethinking human capital development in Knowmad Society. In J. W. Moravec (Ed.), Knowmad Society (1st ed.). Minneapolis: Education Futures.
- Thomas, A. (2013). Autonomous and informal education under threat: Summerhill, UK, Sudbury schools in The Netherlands and home education. Other Education, 2(1), 75–77.
IPON is moving away from serving as an ICT platform for education toward a platform for innovation in education. This requires a very human touch, and I aimed to reflect this aspect in my talk with an overview of Knowmad Society.
How we’ll get to the meaningful development of workers who can work anytime, anywhere, and with anybody in a knowmadic world requires significant realignment of our educational priorities. At IPON, I shared three approaches:
- Focus on soft skills development.In our book, Invisible Learning, Cristóbal Cobo and I explored the important roles of informal and soft skills learning — many of which contribute to elements of success in modern organizations or entrepreneurial activities. These include leadership, responsibility, managing chaos and uncertainty, and maintaining healthy interpersonal relationships. And, these are very hard for formal schools to teach if we keep on focusing on hard skills development and curricula designed to meet the needs of a society where change occurs slowly. In today’s world, change is occurring so rapidly, that the hard skills students develop may be obsolete by the time they graduate. With an appropriate mix of soft skills, they might have a better job at surviving a job interview.
- Attend to the creation of new ecologies of learning. This requires taking risk. We are so adverse to risk in education, that we rarely try anything new. As a result, we are at risk of failing universally. It’s time to expand the ecology of learning formats and intended outcomes, allowing learners and communities to find their own way, and develop their own pathways to success.
- Reinvent our relationships with technologies. Too often, schools behave as consumers of technologies, buying into ideas and practices developed by others. This is a block to innovation, and, as a result, we tend to use new technologies to do the same old stuff. It’s time for schools to rethink their relationships with technologies, and to consider designing solutions that are meaningful for them as prosumers, if not as outright full producers.
Above all, to make all of this happen, we need vision. To me, it seems we have a global crisis. We don’t know where we want to go. Our vision for the future isn’t as clear as it used to be.
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.
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.
I recently gave the opening keynote at the Telefónica Foundation’s VII Encuentro Internacional de Educación 2012-2013 in Buenos Aires, which has taken on relationships between education, society, and work as its first theme. I shared my thoughts on Knowmad Society as it relates to the Invisible Learning paradigm. Telefónica filmed the talk, and is graciously sharing it on YouTube (note: with Spanish voice-over).
Spanish and Portugese speakers will enjoy the ongoing conversation at the Telefónica Foundation’s social network: http://encuentro.educared.org/