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Education in Our Network

Education in Our Network

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Published by bigwheels

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Published by: bigwheels on Mar 05, 2010
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05/12/2014

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Education in Our Networked Future
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As we enter the Connected Age, our education systems are increasinglyfalling short. We have carefully crafted and refined the education system, schools,vocational colleges and secular universities, but they are edifices of a different age.There are three reasons why I say so.First, we have moved from a time of information scarcity to information abundance.Today's challenge is not to access information, but to check its credential and to be ableto use it in context. But our prescriptive education is mostly about 'knowing' things rather than 'discovery'. The school system is designed to discourage inventiveness andquestioning. The students are still required to write memorized answers rather thanGoogling the facts and building independent or collaborative coursework.Moreover, the education system today is built as Value Chain systems. The focus is onthe Process, and the whole idea is to add value to a student who turns up at the beginningof the semester so that she can meet the end-Semester requirements. But suchstandardized processes are, by definition, inflexible to accommodate diverse learning preferences of individuals. The mass produced education also discriminates against nichesubjects and special interests. This education system fails to meet its societal need - because making accountants out of artists does not sound like a smart idea any more.Finally, today's learners come to college after seeing a computer at home for their entirelifetime, having their mobile phones since their school days and most, if not all, havetheir best friends on Facebook or Orkut. They come from the long tail world of endless,special, personal possibilities. So, the college, the classes, the tutorial batches aresuddenly very alien to them. The only way education can become meaningful to today'slearners is by connecting back with life.So, at one end, I hear the teachers complaining that students were texting or checkingemails on their mobile while the class was on. I sat in a school board meeting to decidewhether students should be expelled from the class for using Facebook during thesessions. At the extreme end, there are complaints of abuse, disrespect, physical violenceagainst the teachers. While this may be a symptom of a wider social dysfunction in somecases, these are also indicators that the education does not seem to be delivering value.So, privatise! This is the modern perspective to solve the education problem. Privatize thewhole system and watch the magic: suddenly, new shiny computers will transform theclassroom and make it a fun place. Modern, ready for Facebook generation. But mostefforts in privatisation has not changed the system, they merely tried to improve it. Thetraditional value chain model was retained. The choice declined, with demands for more
 
 profitable courses crowding out the niche ones. The whole system resembled more like afactory, with greater focus on process efficiencies.But an alternative model of education is quietly emerging. This is a model, which onewould call a Facilitated User Network. This is different from Value Chain, because, here,value does not reside in the process or the person, it resides in the Network. Like atelecom network, where the network becomes more valuable with each new personconnecting to it. Or banks, which recycle deposit as investment, and insurancecompanies, where one pays into the pool and dips into the pool when in need.In the context of education, think this as a chain of interconnected libraries with peer guidance and expert mentoring, but the learner decides what she wants to learn. Theartificial limitations - you can't enter the class because you are Fifty or did a graduation inSanskrit - will be gone.If I want to train myself in psychology, I should be able to enroll tomorrow, regardless of my background or age or even physical location. Then, I should be able to access atechnology-facilitated learning which will guide me through the essential resources andallow me to do the coursework in the context of my life using the information I had.I would learn to connect up with people across the world with similar interests and persuasion. I shall collaborate, connect and co-discover. That's what our education systemwill look like. Soon.Sudhakar Ram is Chairman and Co-Founder of Mastek , a leading IT solutions company. He haswritten articles on transforming India, corporate governance, financial markets and governments.He believes that we have the potential to create a sustainable world and live in harmony with our environment. However, this would require a fundamental shift in our mindsets - the "constructs"that drive our attitudes and actions. The New Constructs is his initiative to leverage Connected Intelligence in realizing the Connected Age. Please share. Stay active, stay engaged.Article Source:http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Sudhakar_Ram
 
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