Public Education: Start Again

If you could start from zero, what would public education look like?

Education Starts At Conception

Posted by Stephen Dill on January 5, 2011

Parents are the First Teachers

In the new education paradigm, education will be a lifelong habit. With the demand to stay up with the pace of change as motivation and the positive effect of learning something new as incentive, each of us will be students throughout our lives, starting at conception and continuing until death. Some may ask, “Why isn’t this happening now?” No simple answers, but “education” for so many  has been nothing but a dim memory for the majority of their lives. And most of what they remember is the dominating teachers, worthless courses, embarrassing failures, sleepless nights, and for some, physical abuse of their “formative years.” On top of that, society demanded that they leave whatever dreams or passions may have been inspired during their youth behind them and immerse themselves in the rat race.

A minority of the world population can delay that call to labor by attending a secondary institution, and fewer still go on to masters degrees and doctorates, but that’s expensive. Therein lies another factor for why education isn’t close to lifelong now: the investment is daunting and the return in economic terms is hard to determine. In other words, the world’s societies do not support lifelong education.

Most parents are not ready to parentNurture Shock is proof parents need to learn how to parent

Reading through Nurture Shock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman is a wake-up call for anyone who is a parent, wants to be a parent, or has ever thought about how human development happens in children of all ages. Leaving full descriptions of the book to others, let’s cut to the chase: most parents of the last 30 years have been operating on the assumption that they had an innate sense of what was best for their children. According to science, very few did. Sample a few of the chapter titles and you will begin to get the picture:

  • The Inverse Power of Praise (Sure he’s special. But new research suggests if you tell him that, you’ll ruin him. It’s a neurobiological fact.)
  • The Lost Hour (Around the world, children get an hour less sleep than they did thirty yeas ago: The cost: IQ points, emotional well-being, ADHD, and obesity.)
  • Why Kids Lie (We may treasure honesty, but the research is clear. Most classic strategies to promote truthfulness just encourage kids to be better liars.)
  • The Science of Teen Rebellion (Why, for adolescents, arguing with adults is a sign of respect, not disrespect—and arguing is constructuive to the relationship, not destructive.)

Are you beginning to understand why I was so excited as I read this book? The concept of “education starts at conception” was driven by one of the two observations explained in the first post (the Mission Statement) that spawned the whole idea of starting public education over: “Teach people to parent as well as we teach them to give birth.”

Sounded good, but I was not clear on what the curriculum was going to be based on. Now I am, or at least some of it. Beyond this will be elements of nutrition, financial management, career planning, and the crucial skills of how to learn by teaching. First their first (or next) child in utero, then others in the community that builds around them to support them and model the new world of education as lifestyle.

What could we expect for outcomes? Individually we should begin to hear of, witness, or experience for ourselves fewer examples of dysfunctional home environments. In the first few years after the program launch, society begins to see the benefits in lowered instances of pediatric medical demand, better nutrition, decreased childhood obesity, and more.

Think communal living on a global scale. Gradually everyone becomes more comfortable with higher levels of interpersonal interaction among families on both a local level and globally with online communities for learning, coaching, and support. This results in better socialization (for all ages!), greater awareness of everyone’s individuality and understanding of those differences, and overall improvement of lifestyles and life expectations. Coming into contact with so many more diverse populations heightens interest in sharing what we know and learning more.

Idealistic, I know. But there has to be a better way to inspire a desire for lifelong learning into the minds of every human being than the system we have now. And I do not believe it unreasonable to expect widespread societal improvements as an offshoot of such a system. (Ergo, I suspect there are numerous correlations between the ills of society today and the education system we are saddled with. But that is a distinctly different discussion!)

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Will Public Education Remain Public?

Posted by Stephen Dill on November 7, 2010

As already established under the Current Problem tab: “The majority of schools work on an annual calendar that was driven by the needs of an agrarian society. The curriculum still largely reflects the needs of the industrial age.” But there’s more! I posit that the roadblock to developing anyone’s individualized education plan is the very funding mechanism of public education: the public! Inherent in the school laws from the very start of this nation is the concept that the collected opinion of the residents of any town, state or nation—otherwise known as government—would know what you the individual would need to know throughout your life. And while that mandate to provide teachers for small communities and grammar schools for larger communities was a great step forward for the progress of mankind, there was never an assessment process put in place to make sure the system was relevant and in step with the times.

The colonial classroomWhile appropriate for its day (and the three centuries afterward), the inexorable inertia of that concept has burdened society with a financial commitment the founders could never have foreseen and put those who are aware of poor results of the “one size fits all” education system in a rather daunting predicament. How DO we alter our education system to address the needs of the individual?

Try this on for size: what if education of the public was a private matter? Not privatizing public education, but disassembling public education and turning it over to every citizen. What if the only “public” piece was the online infrastructure that allowed every parent, child, young adult, and adult to research, find, and schedule learning experiences?

While I have been thinking about this for years, a Facebook note from Chris Brogan pushed me to get this out to the rest of you. Lifelong learning, a core concept behind All New Public Education, is a highly individual experience. As Sugata Mitra has proven, when given the chance, every single person is going to follow a unique path to learning. What the current system institutes beyond grade 12 and age 18 (two archaic frames of reference) could actually occur much earlier (or later), and should be encouraged to happen throughout life: we each are willing to find and pay for our individual education. We are long past the mass education that Frank Feather speaks of elsewhere in this blog. It’s time to put in place a system that allows for the changes in course that all of us go through in our lives.

Recent discussions with Michelle Rhee and other educators on this topic reveal that most people in public education feel strongly that there are core subjects that everyone must be taught at an early age. For example, from Ms. Rhee:

I agree that not every child learns in the same way, and great teachers are able to individualize instruction to address those differences. We also need to make sure kids have real world skills when they exit the system, and should definitely be ensuring that children get outside the classroom and take advantage of all kinds of learning environments throughout their years in public school. But I also believe in teaching the core skills you mention below [I had cited history, arts, language, and science], and believe they can be taught in the classroom.

Is it just me, or do others hear this as the response of someone convinced that government must pay for education, and as a result, must test and grade as proof of money well spent? If education is about learning what a person is passionate about, and that changes throughout their lifetime, then the only one who determines if they have learned enough is the student. Eliminate the government funding and you return the responsibility for personal education to the person. If every course cost you money, would you have bought some of the topics you were forced to (presumably, temporarily) learn throughout your public school years (or private school, for that matter)?

I hear the exclamations now: “You’d let a child decide what they want to learn and when?!?” Yes, and no. Children will be part of a team; no one should have to operate in a vacuum. That team will be a fabric made up of parents, relatives, neighbors, and teachers the parents have learned from themselves or otherwise identified as being well suited to facilitate in children the realization of how to learn. This is society as humans once knew it, extended ‘families’ of mutual support, the trappings of which are still practiced in some of the least modernized nations. Imagine bringing the technology of interconnection into such a social fabric! Now the fabric includes people in locations dispersed throughout the world, relationships forged by mutual interests and experiences. There is the best spend for public funds: the network of resources and the process to take advantage of those resources. Can you imagine how different life would be if our property taxes didn’t have to support education?

As Ms. Rhee and a few others have pointed out, this sounds more like a philosophical discussion than education reform. Not being clairvoyant, I cannot say what the future holds, but I can only hope that other dramatic cultural and societal change has come to the world from asking a similar question: if we could start all over from scratch, what would it look like? If so, that means there is hope that such history will repeat itself and we will see a world of lifelong learners. Until then—or at least for the next 70 years or so—I will keep asking the question. Will you?

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Sir Ken on Why Education Kills Divergent Learning Skills

Posted by Stephen Dill on October 15, 2010

Here is a very compelling presentation by Sir Ken Robinson, of TED Talk fame, animated on a whiteboard as he delivers it to a live audience. The presentation is just under 12 minutes long and it sets the stage for the premise of this website and its fundamental question: why does the world continue to invest in a public education system based on old and outdated precepts that are ineffectual and misguided? If we could start all over, what would we base our new system on and how different would it appear to us today?

Grab a snack or drink, commit to not looking at email and sit back for the 11 minutes to watch this and the 5 minutes your head will be swimming after watching it:

For those readers here for the first time (welcome!), there are some ideas elsewhere on the site on how to fix this predicament we find ourselves in, I would encourage you to read and ponder them. And if anyone has access to Sir Ken, would you suggest that he ring me up so we can stop agreeing on what is wrong and begin figuring out how to build a new system, test it, refine it, then launch it? Thank you!

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Amen, Brother!

Posted by Stephen Dill on September 21, 2010

The Dalai LamaThis from a series of questions asked the Dalai Lama on his Facebook Page:
Question: How can we teach our children not to be angry? —Robyn Rice, GRAND JUNCTION, COLO.

His Holiness: Children always look to their parents. Parents should be more calm. You can teach children that you face a lot of problems but you must react to those problems with a calm mind and reason. I have always had this view about the modern education system: we pay attention to brain development, but the development of warmheartedness we take for granted.

Can I hear an Amen for that observation!

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Using Facebook & LinkedIn to gain support and input

Posted by Stephen Dill on August 10, 2010

Public education is counterproductive, time to Reboot!For those who may have arrived here without ever crossing paths with the groups established on Facebook or LinkedIn, may I suggest that you join both? The viral nature of Facebook makes it particularly well suited to spreading the word on our crucial challenge: how to draw attention away from bandages on the broken systems we have now and onto a meeting of great minds to come up with a whole new strategy. There are good discussions happening on both groups and it’s easy to join in.

One such example is this discussion on teachers, grading, unions, and grassroots versus top-down decisions to bring about the change in systems. It starts by asking how we ask this of President Obama: “If a new concept of public education could increase personal responsibility, raise awareness and tolerance of others, make education available to all people at a lower cost, and broadly improve the lives of all people, would there be any reason you would not want such a program initiated under your administration?”

Any ideas on how to get that in front of him? Looking forward to seeing you on the Facebook and LinkedIn groups soon!

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The Slow Awakening

Posted by Stephen Dill on August 5, 2010

The total reboot of global public education (which will no longer be public, by the way, but personal—what we call private now) is going to take time. Lots of time. I call it my 150-year project because I suspect it will take at least that long to bring about. However, every day there are more and more small signs that thinking individuals are coming to the conclusion that the foundations of the current education system are no longer appropriate, as indicated by the poor results of the system built upon them.

My childhood neighbor, Judith Scacco Pack—another Facebook reconnection success story, linked to an article from EducationNews.Org and the title caught my eye: Valedictorian Speaks Out Against Schooling in Graduation Speech. Unique as much for its message as the age of the presenter of that message, Erica Goldson politely and respectfully expressed her frustration with the education system to the audience at the graduation ceremony at Coxsackie-Athens High School. In her estimation:

We are so focused on a goal, whether it be passing a test, or graduating as first in the class. However, in this way, we do not really learn. We do whatever it takes to achieve our original objective. Some of you may be thinking, “Well, if you pass a test, or become valedictorian, didn’t you learn something?” Well, yes, you learned something, but not all that you could have. Perhaps, you only learned how to memorize names, places, and dates to later on forget in order to clear your mind for the next test. School is not all that it can be. Right now, it is a place for most people to determine that their goal is to get out as soon as possible.

Ms. Goldson touches on a concordant theme stated elsewhere here on All New Public Education: that “education” is not about standardization, but freedom of expression and lifelong learning. While many may nod their heads and agree to the words, few realize that this means no buildings where all children enter and are sorted by age. This means “classes” unlike any we know now, for classes will be associated by interest, not age or geography, connected by the Internet, unmeasured by tests unless decided by the pupils to have some value to help them learn the topic. Few I speak with can grasp the idea that a child may not begin learning from someone else until they are 12 or older, while other children may become teachers at age 10 without ever having taken formal training from anyone else, either in the topic they are now teaching, or the process of teaching. Throughout time the young mind, unfettered by adult constraints, consistently confounds adult’s preconceived correlations between age and mental acuity and capacity.

“Anarchy!” I hear all the time. If only a few did it, such as the relatively small number pursuing unschooling today, perhaps. But not when everyone does it, the world over. “Utopian,” is another response. Perhaps so, but we once knew the value of teaching by doing; letting children play and work alongside their peers and parents in order to identify their personal interests. But we are talking centuries ago. The last vestige of that culture is still seen in the traditional school year calendar, scheduled originally to allow children to assist the family farm. By 1854 Thoreau wrote in “Walden,”

I mean that they should not play life, or study it merely, while the community supports them at this expensive game, but earnestly live it from beginning to end. How could youths better learn to live than by at once trying the experiment of living? Methinks this would exercise their minds as much as mathematics. If I wished a boy to know something about the arts and sciences, for instance, I would not pursue the common course, which is merely to send him into the neighborhood of some professor, where anything is professed and practised but the art of life; — to survey the world through a telescope or a microscope, and never with his natural eye; to study chemistry, and not learn how his bread is made, or mechanics, and not learn how it is earned; to discover new satellites to Neptune, and not detect the motes in his eyes, or to what vagabond he is a satellite himself; or to be devoured by the monsters that swarm all around him, while contemplating the monsters in a drop of vinegar. Which would have advanced the most at the end of a month — the boy who had made his own jackknife from the ore which he had dug and smelted, reading as much as would be necessary for this — or the boy who had attended the lectures on metallurgy at the Institute in the meanwhile, and had received a Rodgers’ penknife from his father? Which would be most likely to cut his fingers?

I applaud Ms. Goldson’s bravery in challenging the status quo and in taking to task the system that almost convinced her that chasing the goal of better grades than anyone else in her class was in her best interests. Erica has joined the many who shake their heads in baffled wonder at how such methods can persist so long after so much conclusive evidence has been accumulated to disprove its validity. Howard Gardner, John Taylor Gatto and all the many others who have paved the way to understanding the need for educational revolution must be very, very patient people.

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Clayton Christensen Uncovers Change In Schools

Posted by Stephen Dill on June 18, 2010

Clayton Christensen at the 2009 Microsoft CEO Summit conference held in Redmond, WA

The research team behind Clayton Christensen’s 2008 book, Disrupting Class, deserves a lot of respect. It would have been easy to cite Howard Gardner’s “theory of multiple intelligences,” point out that schools homogenize the learning experience along a one-size-fits-all model, note some statistics of the increase in use of online education resources in order to predict big change, and called it a day.

Instead, they have dug deep and presented 30 or more years of research into how humans learn and how humans teach to assess what is facing America and the world in the education systems most everyone adopted from their predecessors going back a century or two. This is not casual reading, but because most of us are products of a school system, are working in one, or are parents of children going through one, the skillful presentation of this information revives our own personal histories like electric shocks to the brain can induce cold sweats and generate perfect smells of an occasion long ago. The results are as visual (or aural, or kinesthetic, as your learning preference dictates) as they are intellectual.

If you take away anything from this book, make it this: innovation happens in many ways, but the most successful innovation has happened when the new was competing against non-consumption, not the existing products or services in the marketplace. People will be delighted to have the product, even if its capacities are limited. Online courses are making fast headway into school systems that cannot offer similar classes, not in systems where there are teachers and class materials for all the topics the students want to learn or the district has to teach. It’s the absence of competition where innovation thrives; identifying “nonconsumers” and their needs then becomes the primary function of the disruptive innovator. The book uses personal computers as an example. When mainframe and minicomputers roamed the land looking for customers for their $200K and more products, upstart Apple offered their Apple II products as toys to children and home science experiments to hobbyists. None of these people were consumers of computers before, they never noticed the differences in capabilities or performance between the Apple products and those from DEC and IBM. Innovation improves over time. Within a few years, technology improvements made the personal computers capable of doing much of what the behemoths could do, making computing widespread and much cheaper. As the world improved with the use of personal computers—under the noses of DEC and the other minicomputer manufacturers—another disruptive innovation brought down the competition without ever stepping foot on the same playing field. Read Chapter 2 if you cannot read the whole book.

Resisting the urge to paste in the hundreds of phrases and passages of the book I underlined and highlighted, I will instead encourage your own reading of this powerful treatise by sampling Christensen’s take on a few of the most closely aligned issues that inspired All New Public Education. The very first paragraph captured my attention, as it may well yours:

We have high hopes for our schools. While each of us might articulate these hopes differently, four seem common to many of us. We summarize these aspirations as:

  • Maximize human potential.
  • Facilitate a vibrant, participative democracy in which we have an informed electorate that is capable of not being “spun” by self-interested leaders.
  • Hone the skills, capabilities, and attitudes that will help our economy remain prosperous and economically competitive.
  • Nurture the understanding that people can see things differently—and that those differences merit respect rather than persecution.

While I have moved away from a patriotic motivation for rebuilding the education system (see The World Is Flat, wherein we realize that borders are no longer as relevant as they were and we are moving to a global economy) and hoping that we can approach the rebooting of education as a global challenge, translation of these pronouns to the global scale should be relatively simple. We want education to help us all become collaborative, peaceful, productive, supportive, satisfied world citizens.

On the causes of educational malaise: “Motivation is the catalyzing ingredient for every successful innovation. The same is true for learning. … Unless students (and teachers, for that matter) are motivated, they will reject the rigor of any learning task and abandon it before achieving success. … When there is extrinsic motivation for someone to learn something, schools’ jobs are easier.” The book goes on to describe prosperity as “the culprit” in declining interest in subjects that take hard work or involve long periods of study or apprenticeship. This is one explanation for the engineering and science advantage shifting first to Japan, then to India and China.

On the future of assessment: “With the change to student-centric learning, assessment—the art and science of testing children to determine what they have learned—can and should change, as well. Student-centric learning should, over time, obviate the need for examinations as we have known them. Alternative means of comparison, when necessary, will emerge.”

As with virtually all of the other foundations of our current system, the dominant school categorization scheme that society uses today is outdated and no longer relevant. It’s geographical location. We go to school nearby, right? Why? Is transportation a problem? “The constraint that limited transportation and thus imposed this geographical categorization scheme in education is largely gone. And yet we continue to follow a policy whose implicit assumption is that all children within a given geographic district are best served by one type of school architecture. When students are in primary schools, sorting them by geography perhaps is logical. … But as students progress in age, geographic categorization makes less sense.”

Comparing the possibilities with the stone wall that so many education reformers have faced for years, Christensen and his co-authors encourage all of us to soldier on, convinced that “we now have an opportunity for great progress.” Web 2.0 has its roots in user groups that came together across dial-up connections to ask questions, share learnings, and keep abreast of the latest developments and use cases. Wikis, Twitter, Facebook and thousands of online communities of learning are forming the platform for disruption, a “modular education system that facilitates customization.” These will provide the networks to find a course, gather recommendations for a tutor or content, and recruit students for a class forming around a gifted teacher.

In the conclusion, a line aimed at teachers, parents, and students struck home: “There is power in our communities to effect change.” Amen!

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Richard Louv and Nature Deficit Disorder

Posted by Stephen Dill on February 10, 2009


Richard Louv, author

Richard Louv, author

Recently Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, wrote in his blog, Field Notes From The Future, that he felt the “future is going to be better than it used to be.” Richard writes of the growing success of efforts of the Children & Nature Network to raise awareness through over 50 state and regional campaigns and the C&NN website. Their objective rings true: give children of all ages the chance to experience what you are teaching—hands on and in context—so that so much more is learned and appreciated than the one or more learning points of the lesson and the experience is so much more memorable. I responded in a comment, “Kudos on your efforts to date. You are so right, the future will be better–awareness has a way of improving things. The inexorable decline of the role of in-situ exposure as a key part of educating anyone, not just children, in the natural sciences–or physics, or accounting, or most any topic–is one of the many negative unintended consequences of the otherwise noble quest to provide basic education for every child that began as an incredible dream in the 18th Century. While our world will no doubt sustain the system of centralized, costly, inefficient schools for another two decades or more, I am advocating for the initiation of a reboot of public education to start over and redesign it from square one. If you could do that today, would your resulting system resemble much of what we have today?” 

I pose that question again to you. Everyone is either  an investor, client or an employee of one or more public education systems. If you could start from scratch, with no idea how it should look, who would it serve? How would it serve that audience? When and where would it serve it? This is the Ed Reform X Games. Starting over is hard to do! I encourage you to comment here with whatever comes to mind. No one can be wrong, for we are not yet in trials to determine what works best. But if the idea of going out into a field to teach biodiversity excites your imagination of the  public education of the future, then tell us. And then go read Richard’s book, for he cites hundreds more examples of taking education out of the classroom to a more open, resource-rich environment of learning. 

Thank you, Richard, for all you and the movement you have spawned has done and will continue to do!

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The new President’s challenge: Take a Number!

Posted by Stephen Dill on January 25, 2009

People are lining up with ideas for the new President. If you look at the site you will see the overwhelming response to the new administration’s request for public input. Countless corporate executives, recognized experts in every field, and a huge percentage of the blogosphere’s brightest are weighing in on what the next priorities should  be and what to do about them. 

Not to be outdone, Jim Goodnight, CEO of SAS Institute, spoke to Steve Hamm at Businessweek about how “If Obama’s in favor of improving education, let’s do it right. It’s got to involve a curriculum. We have the most complete set of curricula available, so let’s not reinvent the wheel.” Convenient, but that’s not my point. What we see in this and most recommendations is yet another bandage. I find myself unable to consider spending time and money on the system that has gotten us where we are. Others must, this is true. But I wonder why it is that there seems to be so few gathering to consider the way out of this mess, the only true way out: reboot from scratch. This is the time to be distilling down the fundamentals for a life-long learning program. Change will not happen overnight!

My wife, an early childhood educator, alerted me to the wonderful work of Richard Louv in his book “Last Child In The Woods, Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder” and the organization he co-founded, Children & Nature Network. I made a comment on his blog congratulating him on his work and suggesting that, “The inexorable decline of the role of in-situ exposure as a key part of educating anyone, not just children, in the natural sciences–or physics, or accounting, or most any topic–is one of the many negative unintended consequences of the otherwise noble quest to provide basic education for every child that began as an incredible dream in the 18th Century.” Clearly we are staying inside, relying more and more on digital representations of nature in order to maximize “learning” while minimizing the expenditure of costly resources, such as teachers and time. I recommend you read more of Richard Louv.

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Frank Feather on today’s education systems

Posted by Stephen Dill on November 22, 2008

Frank Feather

Frank Feather

I had an opportunity to connect with Frank Feather, the futurist, interim CEO, and advisor to the government of China and ask his view on the current education system. I really enjoyed his perspective, I hope you do too:

Mass education was the best we could do in the Industrial Era, and so we educated people on the basis of the factory model. This is the mass education we have today. It served us well. We could educate masses of people with few teachers, in production-line fashion, in batches. And the subject matter was also taught in batch mode. And that model may still be appropriate for some types of skills training in some environments in some countries. But it is being made obsolete by the Internet Revolution.

The Internet smashes the “mass” model to smithereens. Education must move towards individualized e-learning, where learners can pick and chose material, delivered in an interactive, content-rich, multimedia format, with mentoring or tutoring from a worldwide virtual faculty, learning at their own pace. In this way, virtual classrooms of people can assemble from all over the world, thus also facilitating multi-cultural learning and cross-barrier understanding. In other words, the planet becomes a virtual classroom. People can learn from anywhere. The brick-and-mortar factory-like classroom is obsolete. Developing countries can leap-frog into the e-learning age without ever needing to build classrooms or schools.

As for unintended consequences, the one main objection to e-learning that gets raised by techno-phobic luddites is the negative impact on social skills. This is a fasle fear; a myth. McLuhan observed that the more technology there is that comes into our lives, the more we compensate through social interaction. We are humans. We need social interaction. Yes, there are a few who become addicted to the Web and don’t have much of a social life. But they are the same introverts and isolationists that we have always had. Yet many of them are actually very social online. The Web becomes our social glue. And that is what the social networking phenomenon is all about. The Web will become more social as full multimedia develops, with webcams moving us to full “multimedia mail.” Just this week, Gmail added “video chat” to its toolbar.

But in its simplest form, as McLuhan talked about this, it means that if we use banking machines rather than spending time interacting with bank tellers (and I doubt how social that is anyway), we will find time to talk with other people in other settings instead—even while waiting in line at the banking machine! But the challenge with e-learning is that we need to make sure that young people do develop their social skills, not just via web-cams, but in person with real live humans. And that can be accomplished in local communities. Education needs to perhaps build in some social assignments where students go and participate and then come back and share online—in e-classrooms or on social networks—the human communication skills they learned from the assignment.

I think the biggest challenge to all of this is inertia by educators and governments. Education is threatened by this kind of technology. They naturally fear being replaced, just as did the luddites. And that is because they know they cannot actually compete with this technology, both in its extraordinary capabilities, and in its far lower cost of delivery. How these obstacles will be overcome I am not sure. It probably will start with higher education institutions such as University of Phoenix online. Or in the private school system, such as in Montessori schools, which are far more tactile in their teaching methods. It may simply come through consumer rebellion against the exorbitant cost of university education. Or from governments who cannot afford to pay for public education. There will be a few leaders; more will follow. Then there will come a tipping point and the whole thing will switch over and suddenly will become the popular thing to do. This may take a generation to occur, as when Gen X or Gen Y become the decision makers in education and government, and they take the entire system in new directions.

Clearly, there are parallels in what Frank sees with both the current situation described and the solution proposed on this site. At some point soon we must address the transition planning. How will we separate from the infrastructure that is aging in place? Perhaps communities with the oldest facilities should be the pilots. More on that later, but if you have ideas – please share!

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