Knowmad Society

Aprendamos: Course on digital entrepreneurship

While on assignment in Ecuador last April, Cristóbal Cobo and I met the production team of Fernando Fraschini & Lucio Heller, two Argentinians who have partnered to create educational programming for public access. One of their key projects is Aprendamos, which is a program for the Municipality of Guayaquil and Fundación Ecuador. Broadcasting every Saturday and Sunday morning at 7am, it engages viewers in distance learning opportunities that are also augmented with textbooks and call centers staffed with tutors.

After an initial interview and meeting in Guayaquil (see above video), we were invited to partner with them as advisors for a new series on digital entrepreneurship. Bringing together ideas from Invisible Learning, Knowmad Society, and also many national and international experiences, the course focuses on the future of work, and how we can learn from each other to co-create new futures – especially in areas of “new” entrepreneurship. In all, the project was a lot of work, but also a lot of fun – we couldn’t have worked with a better team!

The first episode aired last Saturday, starring the talented Angela Peñaherrera and Beatriz Miranda:

And, the second episode followed on Sunday:

With 18 more episodes lined up, watch us every Saturday and Sunday at 7am on your favorite channel in Ecuador!

More information: Follow Aprendamos on Facebook

Knowmads on Umbrales

Last week, the Peruvian television program “Umbrales” (TV Perú) broadcasted a program on knowmads in Peru and Latin America. I was interviewed along with Cristóbal Cobo and other local and international experts on what the emerging knowmad paradigm means, and what the implications are for countries such as Peru.

The producers were kind enough to upload the complete program to YouTube, broken into four segments (in Spanish): http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLlm3adGMhVbrjHpYOexXTm-JKuKZnjU0j

Report from Peru: Growing a Knowmad Society in Latin America

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.

MinEdu taller Perú - Cobo y Moravec

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.)

Image by IPAE

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.

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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:

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For more information on Mundo Knowmad, please get in touch with Daniel and join his Facebook group.

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!

One year later: 1.0 schools still cannot teach 3.0 kids.

Knowmad_Society_Cover_for_KindleLast month, the collaborators of the Knowmad Society project celebrated the one-year anniversary of the launch of the book, Knowmad Society. In the open, Creative Commons-licensed volume, nine authors from three continents, ranging from academics to business leaders, share their visions for the future of learning and work. Educational and organizational implications are uncovered, experiences are shared, and the contributors explore what it’s going to take for individuals, organizations, and nations to succeed in Knowmad Society.

The book is available as a free download or is available for purchase in print, and readers are invited to remix their own editions of Knowmad Society. In the first year since the release of the book, tens of thousands of copies have been downloaded by people worldwide. Thank you to everybody who made this project a success!

Some of our favorite quotes from the book

Cristóbal Cobo:

The soft skills have become the hard skills.
 

 
John Moravec:

1.0 schools cannot teach 3.0 kids.
 

 
Thieu Besselink:

 Learning in #KnowmadSociety is about the experience of being alive as much as it’s about the study of life.
 

 
John Moravec:

 We need to train kids HOW to think, not WHAT to think.
 

 
Christel Hartkamp:

 Education is more than schooling.
 

 
Ronald van den Hoff:

 What we really need is an INNOVUTION!
 

 

Edwin de Bree and Bianca Stokman:

 The enablers of the 20th century are the disablers of the 21st century.
 

 

Pieter Spinder:

 Knowmads is not a dress rehearsal, we create real stuff.
 

Some media from around the Web, inspired by the project

From Lenovo:

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From IPAE (Perú):

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John Moravec at TEDxUMN:

Society 3.0: Mastering the global transition on our way to the next step in human evolution

Society 30 van den Hoff
Knowmad Society collaborator Ronald van den Hoff has released the English edition of his book, Society 3.0.

Society 3.0: Mastering the Global Transition on Our Way to the Next Step in Human Evolution investigates the myriad of financial crises plaguing our society today, as well as their effects on the future of work and education. Ronald van de Hoff also describes the need for (and emergence of) a knowledge- driven civilization, marked by accelerating change, value networks, and “knowmads,” the nomadic knowledge workers of the future. Monetizing on the Mesh is the final theme explored in this book. Open value networks replace value chains, reality and virtuality are blurring. People get what they need from each other and may go around your organization, unless the crowd becomes part of your organization. Business models are changing. How do you connect with potential clients who may never become paying clients in the end? What is social capital? How do you create sustainable monetization with your own Mesh? On the platform www.society30.com, the content of this book is evaluated, contradicted, deepened, and extended.

The book is available as a paperback, Kindle ebook, and also as an iPhone app.

Buy Knowmad Society and support human rights in Europe

Knowmad Society cover
From today through December 31, 2013, Education Futures LLC is donating 100% of the net proceeds from sales of Knowmad Society purchased from Amazon.com to Sudbury schools in The Netherlands in support of their continuing legal battles against the government, which is prosecuting parents that send their children to Sudbury-type schools as criminals.

To purchase the book, visit:

As noted previously, schools that enable self-determined learning are under attack in Western Europe –particularly Sudbury-type schools. Parents of three families were convicted as criminals last May for sending their children to De Kampanje Sudbury School. On February 4, 2014, they will appeal their convictions in court. The school and parents have already spent €100,000 on the cases, and school enrollment in all Dutch Sudbury schools have suffered as a consequence.

To keep the schools running, and to help finance the criminal appeals, the schools are seeking international support. As this is a case about restoring freedom of options in education, in line with international human rights laws, Education Futures is donating 100% of Knowmad Society’s net profits from sales on Amazon.com to support their cause.

For more background on this case, please read Peter Gray’s excellent piece in Psychology Today on the human rights struggle in Europe in relation to education.

To learn more about Sudbury schools in The Netherlands, please visit: http://www.sudbury.nl

Rise of the Knowmads: John Moravec at TEDxUMN

Knowmads are nomadic knowledge workers –creative, imaginative, and innovative people who can work with almost anybody, anytime, and anywhere. The jobs associated with 21st century knowledge and innovation workers have become much less specific concerning task and place, but require more value-generative applications of what they know. The office as we know it is gone. Schools and other learning spaces will follow next.

Watch my introduction to Knowmad Society at TEDxUMN, and read the book, Knowmad Society at http://www.knowmadsociety.com

Report from the European Democratic Education Community 2013 Conference

Peter Gray lecture at EUDEC

Note: This article was originally published in Other Education, vol. 2, no. 2 (2013), pp. 113-115, and is reprinted under Creative Commons license (BY-SA).

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:

  1. 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.).
  2. 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).

References

  1. EUDEC. (n.d.). European Democratic Education Community | Democratic Education. Retrieved August 05, 2013, from http://www.eudec.org/Democratic+Education
  2. Moravec, J. W. (2013a). Knowmad Society: The “new” work and education. On the Horizon, 21(2), 79–83. doi:10.1108/10748121311322978
  3. Moravec, J. W. (2013b). Rethinking human capital development in Knowmad Society. In J. W. Moravec (Ed.), Knowmad Society (1st ed.). Minneapolis: Education Futures.
  4. 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.