Make it a great day      
 

FORMAL EDUCATION'S

FUTURE

 

 

SCENARIO

 

By

 

Ted J. Albrecht

of

Make It A Great Day

7097 Montrose Road

Woodbury, MN 55125

Phone: (651) 735-4356

E-mail: Tjalbrecht@cs.com

 

May 1, 1999

FORMAL EDUCATION'S FUTURE

SCENARIO

 

Table of Contents

 

TOPIC PAGE

Introduction 3

Public Frustration

Background 4

Purpose & Tools

Change - Diversity - Choice 6

Driving Forces

People Power 8

Destiny

"Engagement Learning" 9

Master Surrogate

'Knowledge Modules' 11

Interactive Multimedia

Comparison 18

Current Approach to

"Engagement Learning"

Socialization 25

WWW, Community, Mentoring

Conclusion 27

 

 

FORMAL EDUCATION'S FUTURE

SCENARIO

 

---Introduction---

 

Should/can formal education, K through college, be replaced by fully integrating learning with doing, using 'Anytime/Anywhere/Anyplace' interactive multimedia computer technology?

For many, the answer could be YES.

Most people are frustrated with our current education system, it is to costly and not providing acceptable results. Well documented in books by: Lewis J. Perelman, 'School's Out' and Milton & Rose Friedman, 'Free To Choose'. Even teachers comment about their frustrations: lack of student interest; disruptive students; students falling asleep in class because they are working; and parents who consider teachers just high priced baby sitters. Some teachers feel they spend most of their time and energy on these dysfunctional students and thus short change those students who really want to learn. Additionally, cheating has become so rampet, U.S. News - Nov. 22 ‘99 - cover article, that 84% of college students feel they need to cheat to get ahead. But the deceit starts much earlier. With pushy parent acceptance and technology, cheating is a way of life for many grade and high school students.

Yet people are not ready to replace the current approach with something untried. This is reasonable. So what I am going to suggest is not a wholesale/immediate replacement. Rather, it is a concept, "Engagement Learning", which I can see having a significant impact on formal education and training over time.

 

 

FORMAL EDUCATION'S FUTURE

SCENARIO

 

---Background---

First let me start with what I believe defines the purpose of formal education and training, which is to enable a person to:

1) Make independent, knowledgeable, disciplined and

innovative decisions that:

-- Improves all aspects of their quality of life.

-- Helps them provide a valued service for another.

2) Temper their innate selfishness, in order to

live harmoniously with self, family, friends

and community.

3) Perform mechanical actions safely, efficiently and

effectively.

4) Embrace a life long learning attitude.

The quote that I like best is by H. W. Beecher...

"Education is the knowledge of how to use the whole of

oneself. Many people use but one or two faculties out of

the score with which they are endowed. A person is

educated who knows how to make a tool of every faculty --

how to open it, how to keep it sharp, and how to apply it

to all practical purposes."

 

Next we need to acknowledge that humanity's advancement is measured by our tools, whether they be creator endowed or developed by innovative application of science and technology. It is tools that have pulled humanity out of the 'Stone Age', advanced us into the 'Information Age' and will propel us into the 'Space Age' ... Humanity's true destiny ... To explore and populate the universe. Tools have leveraged humanity's muscle and mind. And tools are now ready to leverage humanity's spirit, by utilizing the World Wide Web to synergistically work together to expand in all directions the joy of BEING, thus achieving our Creator's expectations.

 

FORMAL EDUCATION'S FUTURE

SCENARIO

 

---Change - Diversity - Choice---

 

Now we are ready to explore what is causing the frustration and the need to significantly change the way people become educated. There are three driving forces - Change - Diversity - Choice , that are expanded upon as follows:

- Change - Now that there is so much information available and it is expanding and/or changing at an ever increasing rate ... It is virtually impossible to establish an appropriate curriculum, create the course ware, trial it and train the teachers before it becomes obsolete. A better approach is to plug everyone into the change process, permitting them to monitor the on-going change dialogue and contribute suggestions when they have some new insight.

- Diversity - No longer does distance provide a cultural shock absorber. We are approaching borderless commerce which challenges our ability to remain unique. If individual and community uniqueness is not retained, then humanity's evolution into science fiction's robotic society is inevitable. Diversity is not an abrasive, rather, it is humanity's way of expressing its very BEING and pursuing its perceived destiny. Trying to cope with this via a standardized 'assemble line' imposed education program is an exercise in futility. A better way is to facilitate every idea to compete for the hearts and minds of humanity.

- Choice - The most valuable attribute of freedom is choice. If our Creator willed humanity to be predestined, then where is the Creator's delight? Ergo, freewill is our birth right, not to be arbitrarily denied. Humanity's history is one of struggle to achieve individual freedom. We are at a crossroads, socialism or entrepreneurialism. If the destiny of each person's BEING, is the sum of all their choices. And if the destiny of humanity is the sum of each persons choices. Then we need to develop an educational approach that enables each individual to make choices that not only enhance their destiny, but also contributes to humanity's destiny.

 

 

FORMAL EDUCATION'S FUTURE

SCENARIO

 

---People Power---

So is it possible for individuals to pursue their destiny and at the same time make a positive contribution to humanity's destiny? Can individuals be weaned of selfishness and meanness? Will complete freedom of choice yield willful license and laziness?

Certainly the last 100 years has epitomized humanity's struggle to rid itself of tyrants. With the increasing globalization of instant communications and the diligent pursuit of truth, it is now possible to early on expose the willful despot. The vast majority of humanity wants to live in peace and harmony. It is but a very small number of people who are bent on the destructive control of others. The vast majority of humanity now has the where with all to identify and negate the tyrant from reeking havoc on society. ' Power to the People' can now be realistically pursued, bringing peace to the national level.

But how about the individual, well in my humble opinion, our current 'mass' education system needs to be revamped, to replace the competitive pursuit of grades for questionable/obsolete knowledge, to one of cooperative venturing involving leading edge knowledge, that leads to the most desirable individual and societal destinies.

 

 

FORMAL EDUCATION'S FUTURE

SCENARIO

 

---"Engagement Learning"---

There has been some excellent steps in the direction of reform that are very encouraging. Home schooling, private and public vouchers for the disadvantaged and public vouchers for all (Florida) are the beginnings. As we move the responsibility and involvement of education back to parents and students, we open up the opportunity for new approaches.

The approach I envision is called "Engagement Learning". In many respects it is analogize to the guild of the Renaissance and of apprenticeship or mentoring. Basically, this involves a Master guiding a Novice up the ladder of understanding to apply the mental and physical resources necessary to produce a result benefiting a customer/client. The key ingredient here is that there is a final result which will be judged acceptable or unacceptable by the intended recipient. The Master is an integral part of the process, guiding and doing some of the advanced portions of the effort. Eventually the Novice will become a Journeyman, able to perform most of the tasks it takes to provide a desired result. Attaining Master is based primarily on attitude, the inner drive to want to share their joy of accomplishment with others.

 

This learning by doing was the norm until the Fifteenth Century when the growth and complexity in language, arithmetic, science, population, industrialization and the exploitation of children brought about the surrogate Master approach. Novice and Journeyman teachers, using Master prepared curriculum, began teaching children the basics, bringing them up to the Novice level. This approach works as long as: things do not change much; communications are limited; and leadership is in the hands of very few. But, Change - Diversity - Choice are now the norm and the human surrogate Master is no longer viable.

The universe will not wait for humanity to stumble along for centuries, trying to grasp its destiny. The potential for catastrophe awaits, that can snuff out this flicker of intelligence. We must grow beyond 'Mother Ship Earth' to stretch our ingenuity, hone our spirituality and insure the viability of our Great, Great, Great, Great ..... Grand Children.

 

 

FORMAL EDUCATION'S FUTURE

SCENARIO

 

---'Knowledge Modules'---

We now have the technology to create computerized surrogate Masters, which I call 'Knowledge Modules'. Computers can provide the interface between children and the 'Knowledge Modules', which are interactive multimedia curriculum that cover the basics. This includes:

1) Communicating (speaking, reading, keying) using their family language and at least one other language. Hand writing would be part of the Novice experience.

2) Hygiene covering washing hands, bathing and using the toilet.

3) How, why & when to share and cooperate.

4) Adding, subtracting, dividing, multiplying and percentages (logic) would cover Mathematics.

5) Art, Music and Spiritual awareness.

6) Science, Technology and Astronomy awareness.

7) 'Knowledge Module' navigation.

(NOTE: 'Knowledge Module' content would vary by culture.)

When a child becomes proficient in the basics (like walking and talking, this would vary per child), they would become Novices ready for getting involved in the next level of 'Knowledge Module's' capabilities. That being the Novice AND 'Knowledge Modules' complete integration into the process of doing something. The following is an excerpt from Lewis J. Perelman's book "School's Out", which illustrates this integrated approach:

 

"Albert Einstein said that the atomic bomb changed everything but our thinking. Hyperlearning is going to change everything---and our thinking.

To get a glimpse today of the kind of Hyperlearning system that will permeate the twenty-first century's economy tomorrow, you can skip the local school or college and look instead for a Buick, Chevrolet, or other GM dealership that has plugged into "CAMS"---General Motor's Computer Aided Maintenance System.

CAMS is a living example of what the computer engineers call an "expert system". At the core of CAMS is a mainframe computer in Flint, Michigan, programmed to know a great deal about how to maintain and repair a GM car. Linked by a telecommunications network to computer terminals right in the repair bay of a dealer's garage, CAMS is constantly available to help the mechanic figure out what's wrong with the customer's car and how to fix it. CAMS can take data directly from electronic testing instruments, ask and answer questions, and prescribe cures for automotive maladies.

Part of the system's intelligence is built into the car itself. Connected to the CAMS workstation in the garage, the car's on-board "driveabilty" computer chip transmits diagnostic information to the CAMS computer.

"Now we can quickly find the problem and repair it within two hours, on average, where before it could take up to six," says David Beck, service manager at Bob Martin's Chevrolet in Augusta, Maine. "And we fix the right problem the first time."

CAMS, like any good expert system, is not engraved in stone--or even in silicon--but is continually upgraded and improved. In effect, it too is a "learner." Each day, data about hundreds of car repairs are gathered from terminals in garages all over the country and fed back through the communications network to the main CAMS computer to be digested and applied to revising the expert program. CAMS learns to be a better and better expert mechanic.

In a sense, the car is part of the learning loop too. After the car is repaired, the service manager makes sure that the car's chip is replaced with the latest update from GM, which incorporates what's been learned from the experience of the scores of mechanics and garages on the CAMS network.

When GM piloted the CAMS system, mechanics rejected it at first. They felt that the CAMS system, designed to make the process of diagnose and repair as automatic as possible, was de-skilling their work and undercutting their aura of expertise. So the CAMS managers went back to the drawing board and added a "manual" mode to the system, giving technicians control over the computer. The change made a big difference.

"When the system was first installed, I'll admit I was skeptical," says Beck, "but this is the answer. Most of the guys are really receptive and eager."

Beck's experience reflects the trend GM managers subsequently noted in their follow-up studies of the revised system. Most new CAMS users relied on the automatic mode for just a few weeks, then gradually shifted to the manual modes as their experience grew. In other words, the mechanic learned from the computer expert, and became more expert and effective themselves. So CAMS turned out, completely inadvertently, to be a highly effective, automatic training system, a teacher in its own right.

Mr. Goodwrench actually has more to tell us about the future of education than Mr. Chips ever imagined. While CAMS is only a few years old, the technology it incorporates already is closer to the trailing edge than the leading edge. But in its overall design CAMS is a harbinger of a new kind of learning system that will comprise the brains and nerves of the entire twenty-first century's economy: Vast volumes of data accumulated, digested into knowledge, and infiltrated into work. Intelligence distributed beyond the boundaries of space and time

Most significantly, "teaching" and "learning" are fused and transformed into hyperlearning: machines helping humans to learn. Humans helping machines to learn. Nobody calls it or thinks of it as "education" or "training". There is no "school".

Hyperleaning is a categorical step--the proverbial "quantum leap"-- beyond "artificial intelligence," beyond broadband telecommunications, beyond information processing, beyond biotechnology. Rather, hyperlearning represents the fusion of these technological threads. HL is weaving them into the fabric of a new industrial base for a new kind of world economy.

To understand the fabric of what is truly a "new world order"--and its implications for your business, your family, and your own place and prospects in it--you first need some substantive understanding of its four key technological threads:

* The first thread is the "smart" environment, where every artifact you touch or are touched by--cars, houses, toilets, clothes, tools, toys, whatever--is endowed with intelligence. The special significance of that intelligence is that it increasingly includes the ability not only to aid humans to learn but to participate in learning itself.

* The second is a "telecosm" communication infrastructure that makes all knowledge accessible to anyone, anywhere, anytime. The telecosm takes the most powerful knowledge, intelligence, and learning capacity of an environment that otherwise would be only local, and makes it global. For both human and nonhuman learning, the telecosm makes the "best and brightest" located anywhere available everywhere.

* The third tread is a kit of "hyperlearning" tools that you will need to navigate through a knowledge-dense universe. Hyperlearning is to multimedia roughly what an index is to a book. Only there's an unlimited number of simultaneous indexes and they are built into the text or other material--you don't have to go to the "back of the book" to get reference. The vital role of hypermedia in hyperlearning is to provide the technical bridge between informing and understanding.

* As the fourth and last thread in the matrix of HL technology, brain technology--a broad category representing the application of biological and other sciences to thinking and sensing systems--has a special role. Brain tech is, in a sense, the "wild card" in the HL deck. It is contributing much of the basic science and technical tools that underline the other three areas of hyperlearning technology: the smart environment, the telecosm, and hypermedia. But it also offers a growing potential for biotechnology that can alter the learning process from inside out."

(Note: I would not be surprised to see GM provide service bays, for a reasonable fee, that an owner could use CAMS to maintain their GM car. Even permitting access via the WWW, enabling the owner to do the maintenance at home.)

 

Let's ratchet up the CAMS capabilities one more notch. When you stop for gas, you could be connected with CAMS that would enable a dialogue with your car's computer regarding it's operations. It is possible for CAMS to download an update to improve operations...adjust the fuel injection for better gas mileage or adjust the ABS brakes based upon tire wear. Also sending an EMail to the owner if some physical maintenance is needed, including an estimate of the cost and time to do. And CAMS getting smarter via this on-going dialogue with the owner. All of this providing invaluable knowledge to GM regarding their cars.

In my vernacular, CAMS is a collection of 'Knowledge Modules' pertaining to the maintenance of GM's cars. By applying the CAMS approach, people & computer interactive learning/doing 'Knowledge Modules' for all activities people do, we can evolve from our current 'assembly line' education to "Engagement Learning."

It would seem most logical that the transition to "Engagement Learning" would start at the Novice level and prove itself by effectively replacing technical and vocational training first. Each business within an industry, would facilitate the networking of their Masters to collaborate on creating the master 'Knowledge Modules', that would enable a Novice to become a Journeyman, within an industry. Thus, a company would hire a Novice and as that Novice is assigned new tasks, the Novice would interact with the appropriate 'Knowledge Modules'. The Novice would be doing something productive, albeit slower than a Journeyman, while learning a new skill. No longer would a company have to send a Novice off to vocational training or have another employee spend time instructing the Novice. The cost of vocational training, including the Novice's salary during training, or the internal instruction can instead be invested in the creation of 'Knowledge Modules', which would be a one time investment versus the on going ever increasing cost of vo-tech/instructor training.

If this were successful, then 'home' schoolers and 'choice' schools would undoubtedly be in the market place wanting to purchase 'Knowledge Modules' to aid them in teaching the basics to the children. And the existing 'K' thru college approach would begin to be replaced with "Engagement Learning".

No longer would a person have to spend a quarter to a third of their life in the pursuit of academic credentials. Once they have acquired the basics, primarily at home, they can become an involved/contributing member of society. Learning can be integrated into every task that results in a desired product or service. The sooner a person begins 'making their own way' the sooner they will value their gift of BEING and dedicate themselves to making that gift available to as many others as possible.

It would be grossly naive to expect every person to become a perfect individual, seeking only the best for themselves and society. Built into the "Engagement Learning" process would be the ability to note when a person is struggling. The system should be able to identify physical/mental impairments versus an underlying callous attitude. Remedial 'Knowledge Modules' would be invoked and if that is not adequate, human intervention would ensue. No longer should a person have to resort to violence in order to get help.

For those who fear that "big brother' is watching them, recall that "Engagement Learning" process is not the government. Rather, it is our best Masters, with feedback from all involved, assisting us via 'Knowledge Modules' to accomplish something.

As we move forward into the Twenty First Century, more and more work will be automated. This automation will become an integral part of the 'Knowledge Modules', so that not only will you learn, but the work will be done by the 'Knowledge Module' also. No longer would a person have to become a Journeyman in order to produce desired results. At this point there will be two major career paths ... 'Navisemblee' and 'Navisembler', explained as follows:

*'Navisemblee' - Navigates through and assembles the 'Knowledge Modules' needed to produce a desired result.

*'Navisembler' - Creates or enhances 'Knowledge Modules', including the process of navigating and assembling 'Knowledge Modules', to produce a given result.

So rather than becoming a Journeyman within an industry(s), most people would become 'Navisemblee' Journeymen. Very adept at their 'Knowledge Module' weaving to produce desired results in any industry, since 'Knowledge Modules' would be doing most of the actual work. For those individuals who have a keen interest in a particular industry or the 'Knowledge Module' infrastructure, they would become 'Navisembler' Journeyman ... responsible for the maintenance of 'Knowledge Modules' and its interfacing infrastructure.

The resources freed up from our current education approach can be invested in community centers, parks, playgrounds and churches to hone social skills and propagate cultural beliefs.

 

FORMAL EDUCATION'S FUTURE

SCENARIO

 

---Comparison---

 

Let's go back to the purpose of formal education and training and the driving forces significantly impacting our current approach, to see if "Engagement Learning" is a better alternative:

**Purpose**

1) Make independent, knowledgeable, disciplined and

innovative decisions that:

-- Improves all aspects of a persons quality of life.

-- Helps a person provide a valued service for another.

** "Engagement Learning", utilizing multimedia 'Knowledge Modules', would facilitate an anyplace/anytime dialogue/collaboration between a person and the best Master(s). This is certainly better than having been lucky to have had a good teacher or latter on having to go to the 'Yellow Pages' or search the WWW for hours, to find help.

Recall, that the goal of 'Knowledge Modules' is to produce a desired result. Well, they also function in a simulation mode, affording a person to try any number of innovative approaches before making a final decision.

2) Temper a person's innate selfishness, in order to live

harmoniously with self, family, friends and community.

** When a child is in the pre Novice phase, learning the basics, many of the 'Knowledge Modules' would contain exercises demonstrating the value of sharing and cooperation.

Parents are an integral part of the pre Novice phase. They would be presented with 'Knowledge Modules' to help them understand what is being presented to their child and encourage/guide them in reinforcing the desired skill/behavior. Thus parents learning parenting skills while actually applying them.

During the pre Novice phase, "Engagement Learning" would be developing a Profile for each child covering normalcy, giftedness and impairments. Here again parents can be highly involved in the profiling process. By merging the parents observations with the 'Knowledge Module' results, a fairly accurate Profile could be possible. Parents involvement could also become part of the child's Profile, in order to study the impact of parental involvement.

When a child becomes a Novice, "Engagement Learning" would continue to provide exercises to determine a person's full potential. As the child progresses to adulthood, learning more and more via engaging 'Knowledge Modules' to accomplish something, their Profile would evolve into their resume. The Profile and subsequent resume information could be analyzed by Masters, in order to fine tune the child/parent "Engagement Learning" interface and basic 'Knowledge Modules' content.

Some of this is being attempted with our current approach - teacher assessments for example. But there is virtually no continuity once a person leaves one school for another or graduates. And any consistent analysis of the information to improve any aspect of the system is non existent.

3) Perform mechanical actions safely, efficiently and effectively.

** With our current approach, a person would have to recall a class or training session regarding the physical actions to be taken. Where as, "Engagement Learning" would provide interactive/multimedia 'Knowledge Module(s)' on demand, thus guiding a person as they do the physical action. This seems to meet #3's purpose far better. If something went wrong, this would be feedback immediately to the 'Knowledge Module(s)' involved, alerting the appropriate Master(s) to analyze and update the 'Knowledge Module(s)' if necessary. Or advise the person that they may have a problem performing certain types of physical actions. "Engagement Learning" could then perform some exercises to fully explore this area of potential impairment and update the persons Profile accordingly.

Once a person performs an activity successfully a number of times, "Engagement Learning" would so note this on their resume. And modify the 'Knowledge Module' interface to provide just what is required.

4) Embrace a life long learning attitude.

** Graduation is an integral part of the current approach, providing a false sense of readiness. Whereas, "Engagement Learning" is an integral part of accomplishing something. So as long as a person wants to do something, they would have a learning experience.

Our current approach is very costly and frustrating. When a person wants to do something new, they have to take time out of their busy schedule to take a class or training session. Their productivity becomes a negative, since it adds to overhead and many times it adversely affects their family life. So no wonder the education guru's and management consultants have to preach so hard about the need for continuing education and training, of course besides their own self employment. Since it is the learning person who has to give something up in order to acquire a new skill/knowledge.

On the other hand, "Engagement Learning" would always be there, ready to assist in the joy of accomplishing something, new or old.

**Driving Forces**

- Change- There is so much information available and it is

expanding and/or changing at an ever increasing

rate.

** Our current mode of broadcasting everything and leaving it up to the individual to find and sort out what is true is so frustrating, that many give up. Those who can afford it pay big bucs for journals and news letters to help them keep up. Ordinary people depend upon the nightly news and/or listen to talk radio, hoping to discover the truth out of the biased spin.

Our current education and training system has the same problem. What should they teach? Obviously the 3 R's, but what about all the social, cultural and technology possibilities? Even with the 3 R's there is controversy about how to teach them. Social and cultural issues are so diverse that what is taught is just a vague representation, thus probably contributing to the moral decline. And technology is just a blur, validating for some people that there is no such thing as truth --- ergo, anything goes.

Just when it seems impossible to address this situation, along comes the Internet and the WWW. University and industry scientists and researchers devised USNET to enable a timely/collaborative dialogue regarding their activities. It was so successful that it was expanded into the Internet and the WWW was then added for commercial activity. But at this point, the broadcast approach reigns, so truth is still elusive. But I firmly believe that with more people participating in the search for truth, a core consensus will evolve, along with a healthy debate on outlying views.

- Diversity - No longer does distance provide a cultural shock

absorber.

** It is my opinion that the more diversity we can tolerate, the better off we all will be. Obviously there has to be limits, otherwise chaos would result. Disaster would be right around the corner if each person could decide if they would drive on the right or left side of a street. So a set of rules and guidelines has to be agreed upon to facilitate a harmonious family/community.

Centuries of living together has yielded a vast array of community rules and guidelines. Over the last five hundred years, the expansion of individual freedom has enabled the development of methods that provide a more acceptable set of rules and guidelines. Not all communities utilize these freedom based methods. In fact, the majority of the worlds population is ruled, rather than rule. So I would like to see two 'birth rights' established for all living intelligent beings:

1) Interactive access to ALL information

2) Freedom to MOVE anywhere

This would very quickly reverse the majority from being ruled to those who rule. Is this possible in the foreseeable future? Well NAFTA and the EC are the beginnings of possibility.

With that philosophical background, we can now address our current education and training approach, which is "Politically Correctness," attempting to exclude most cultural and spiritual nuances from the curriculum. So what remains is a neutered set of rules and guidelines that are based upon 'feel good' rationalizations. Concerned parents opt out via private/parochial education or home schooling. Leaving the Public Schools system to those: who don't care; rather have someone else make the decisions; or are anti religion. When children and teenagers do not have good role models and lack firm direction, many tend to seek their own quick self gratification and maybe even gang affiliation. Not realizing that they are setting the stage for a likely dysfunctional adulthood, involving: addiction; divorce; laziness; materialism; and crime.

With "Engagement Learning," cultural and spiritual values would be an integral part of those 'Knowledge Modules' involving values. The key here is the Master(s) responsible for the 'Knowledge Modules' AND the feedback from those who use the 'Knowledge Modules'. Parents would specify the cultural and spiritual values they want "Engagement Learning" to use for their children. When a person becomes independent, living on their own, "Engagement Learning" would present them with the various cultural and spiritual values available, to help them select and achieve their desired destiny.

Thus "Engagement Learning" provides the flexibility to parents to influence their children upbringing in the way they perceive is best. And eventually their children would have the chance to explore all the diverse alternatives.

- Choice - The most valuable attribute of freedom is choice.

** In our current education and training approach, choice is directly related to cost. For the most part, spending for Public Schools is based upon taxes which have to be approved by voters. Even in this '90's expanding economy, many school referendums have to be submitted multiple times to gain approval, with each submission involving reductions. So funding of Public Schools is increasingly being supported at the state and federal level, in order to equalize the spending at the local community. But along with these state and federal moneys comes mandates on how the funds can be spent. And as these funds become a larger percentage of a school districts available funds, the mandates further restrict the choices that can be offered. So all-in-all the overall funding process consumes a lot of energy and results in a great deal of compromise, which ultimately adversely affects the students. Even with all this equalization effort, there still is a wide disparity between communities. I wonder how many parents move just to get better schooling for their children.

"Engagement Learning", on the other hand, opens the door to a vast array of possibilities. Choice during the basics phase would be limited, since that curriculum is fairly structured. How quickly a child can acquire the basic skills is the biggest variable. But once the Novice level has been attained, then a child becomes a contributing member of society, performing acts of service while advancing their knowledge.

No longer would a person be frustrated by the lack of choice. Rather the frustration that might ensue would be from what to do next. I firmly believe that when a person realizes that there is virtually no limit to what they can do, that this will unleash an avalanche of innovation, that will propel humanity to achieve our universe exploration and populating destiny.

 

FORMAL EDUCATION'S FUTURE

SCENARIO

 

---Socialization---

 

The socialization issue has been raised by several reading this scenario, so I have added my thoughts regarding how to accomplish this in the "Engagement Learning" approach.

First, the WWW is an ideal means of networking with others with similar interests, all over the world. This would foster a greater sense of global community and understanding of different cultures, without having it being forced via a dictated/structured curriculum. Rather, individuals maximizing their freedom of choice to join or leave a group whenever they wanted. So this is basically an ad hoc sharing process, with each group setting their own guidelines/rules for participating. As with any group, certain individuals would develop one on one relationships with those they feel most comfortable with.

Next, the following is a partial list of existing community opportunities that are available now, but not given the proper credit for their socializing contribution:

Church, neighborhood playgrounds, mall, Wal-Mart,

K-Mart, Target, Mc Donalds, health club, YM/WCA,

band, choir, karate, dance, etc.

Home based "Engagement Learning" would not replace any of the above. Rather, they would compliment "Engagement Learning" by facilitating the socialization process to be done in the 'real world', instead of formal education's competitive/stressful process to accumulate academic credentials.

Additionally, this would ratchet up "life long learning' to include 'life long socialization'.

 

FORMAL EDUCATION'S FUTURE

SCENARIO

 

---Conclusion---

 

Is "Engagement Learning" just another utopian dream? Obviously at this point the answer has to be yes.

Recall the concerns about our current education and training approach and the driving forces that will no doubt cause changes to be made. What will those changes be and who will champion them?

My input is contained in this scenario. There is no doubt in my mind that we have the technology, GM's CAMS approach is a good example. What we lack is the will/input of the masses who are consumed with their day to day living demands.

In addition to this paper, I am writing a book entitled "The Realization Economy". The goal of the book is to awaken everyone to the possibilities of technology in making this a better world and to begin the challenge of exploring and populating the universe.

We have the opportunity to replace the old cliché "Have A Good Day", which implies it might happen!!

with

"MAKE IT A GREAT DAY"

Which challenges a person to take charge/responsibility of their destiny. If we can make this transition, then something like "Engagement Learning" will undoubtedly be considered.

Last Updated: Sunday, April 10, 2005
©Ted J. Albrecht 651-735-4356 Email:
Tjalbrecht@cs.com