Education and Learning, Part 2

This week, we conclude our overview of Education and Learning

Let’s start with…

Vision for 21st Century Education

Learning and education are life-long pursuits. Young people need the basic skills to succeed in today’s world, understand their responsibilities as participating members of society and get exposure to life experiences that allow them to find and pursue their unique purpose with passion.

The world changes so fast that everyone requires periodic re-training as technology obsoletes their professional skill set. Education should not saddle people with debt that enslaves them to the traditional work force.

Basic learning skills that everyone needs

The traditional “3 Rs” (Reading, Writing and ‘Rithmatic) remain vital. Reading and writing are even more important in the age of social media, email and texting than in industrial times. The natures of these skills have changed, though. I doubt someone in the 1950s would care about LOL. The need to perform 4 function math has not changed. You need to know how to add, subtract, multiply and divide well enough that you can spot errors in all sorts of accounts. If nothing else, think of it as the ability to check the computers for errors.

Statistics and Probabilities – Today, employers report that Statistics and Probabilities are more important than Algebra and Geometry. The reason is that these Statistics and Probabilities are useful to a wider range of problem-solving situations.

The “new memorization” – Memorizing facts (and regurgitating them on a test paper) is no longer a particularly valuable skill in the age of Google searches. The new “memorization” is the ability to quickly find knowledge, judge its validity and apply it correctly.

Creative thinking skills – Computers and robots will increasingly do the menial, repetitive jobs. People will need to create new things. Learning better ways to be creative needs to be an on-going process.

Critical Thinking skills- The world, particularly the Internet, is full of false and misleading information. People need the skills to know what to believe and what to pay attention to. This is also an evolving process. What was impossible yesterday will become common place tomorrow.

Experience Collaborating – Creating things is a group effort. Learning to work with people with different backgrounds, purposes, skills and passions comes with practice.

Problem solving – Employers today want people that can solve problems. Everyone needs to know how to approach problems by asking the right questions and creating solutions.

Ethics- It is important that we share enough common values that we don’t kill each other and wreck the joint!

Many paths up the mountain

It is an observed phenomenon that young people naturally figure out computers. Getting computing power in the hands of young people will open up a whole world to them!

The diversity of the World Wide Web opens up opportunities for many approaches to learning – and allowing the individual to choose the one that works best for them. Examples:

  • Gamification and mastery-based learning. Tests, badges
  • Salaman Khan’s YouTube – When Bill Gates first saw them, he commented, “You just got a glimpse at the future of education.”
  • Teachers as coaches
  • Peer-based tutoring

Many of these approaches will be revolutionized by Artificial Intelligence. Teachers are already no strangers to retraining. AI will intensify their need to learn new creative and collaborative techniques.

Next week will be a very different version of the case studies post!


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