Learning for 2020

My journey to understand what life will be in year 2020 and how we should prepare our next generation to cope with life at 2020.

Location: Melbourne, Australia

Monday, May 28, 2007

What is weighing down learning?

by Harold Jarche

Harold dug up a post I wrote two years ago and highlighted the baggage the current school system is.

However, I would like to take issue with his use of "learning" in his post title.

"Education system" is NOT the same as "learning". In today's education system, our children are learning, albeit not necessarily during "school hours" and not the kind of skills we (here "we" means adults or society) like them to learn. Learning IS an innate ability of human. It is not whether a child has learnt or not. The problem is about "what, when, where and how".

I have left out "who and why" in the above. "Who" is obvious. We are talking about the children - oops, everyone actually because we need life-long learning.

I don't want to ponder "why" we need to learn. It has been covered by too many people and I have no expertise in it. I would rather apply "why" to each of the "what, when and where". Why *we* want learners to learn "what", at "when" and "where"?

When and only when the above questions have answers, education system would be able to address "how" to achieve under the economic and social constraints.

Unfortunately, we do not start from a blank state. There is an existing education system. Can it evolve to the ideal state? Or it is necessary to have a revolution in order to achieve that state?

Again, I have more questions than answers!

[cross posted to Random Walk in Learning]

Thursday, August 10, 2006

"Deliver Instruction"

Chris Lehmann asks
Can someone differentiate when you would say "Deliver Instruction" over the simpler (and to me, more meaningful) term "Teach?"

Mignon McLaughlin says
It means that a teacher can deliver pizza along with instruction. It means that we can objectify teachers' delivery of knowledge--external from themselves--and grade her on her performance. It means that, like a baseball pitcher, we can clock the speed of delivery and that each teacher has her own way of getting the ball over the plate.

I say
Step 1: Unscrew the top of student's head.
Step 2: Deliver instruction into the brain.
Step 3: Replace the top of student's head.
Step 4: Send client a bill for the service.
Step 5: Call the next student in. Repeat step 1 to 4 above.

cross posted to Random Walk in Learning

"The Future of..." - Three Contrasting Views

by Scott Leslie

Scott reports on three "future" visions. Please read his own view by clicking on the title of this post. Here is my own hypothical scenario for 2031: Reflection on the Eve of International Conference on the Use of Books in Education 2031

By 2015, many of the Generation X have achieved executive levels at education institutes and government agencies. Some remembered how frustrated they were when they had to learn from content without support. Some were determined to change the way education should be delivered.

Monday, August 07, 2006

30 years later: Transhuman and learning

I blogged [in Random Walk in Learning] about a post by Christopher D. Sessums who asked "What will learning and schooling look like 30 years from now?" This blog does not try to look that far into the future. However, Christopher's call can actually be acted out today as it is very much about the attitude, rather than technology.

Sunday, Brian Wang posted Transhuman: Iron man versus Borg versus Xmen where he looked at what capabilities that make sense to put into the body and what to leave as wearable tools.

The capabilities that Brian refered to are those we may found in Star Treks Borg, the 6 million dollar man, X-men or comic book character Iron Man. Looking at the list, it seems that many of these capabilities are within reach in near future.

The one last thing on Brian's list is uploading/mind transfer:
There are questions as to how well this would work in terms of consciousness. Eventually this architecture could diverge from the cyborg, genetic enhancement capabilities. The communication between biology and the computer and whether upgrading hybrid biology would be slower than pure computer equipment would be factors in whether architectures diverge in performance.

It seems that there is no magic pill to transfer knowledge/understanding between minds yet in the near future.

What learning is like in 2020 is still unknown!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Future Students

After neglecting this blog for a few months, I am back.

Here are a few posts of interest:

Student 2.0
My shameless rewording of Manager 2.0 by Kathy Siera.
One dramatic difference between traditional schools and the Web 2.0 new schools is the way students are taught. Or rather, the fact that they are not "taught." Most School 1.0 (like, say, where I graduated?) are not only too old fashioned, but their teaching practices are just too old school (and not in a retro hip way) to foster a culture that matches the culture of the new citizens growing up in Web 2.0.
School 1.0School 2.0
Curriculum dictated by a syllabus.Students decide and negotiate the learning area.
Teachers are the keeper of the knowledge. Teachers are the facilitator of the learning process.
Information is limited from those in the textbookInformation are sourced from everywhere, including but not limited to online resources.
How effective is the learning is measured by standardised tests.Effective learning is linked to satisfactory and joy of knowing new knowledge and mastering new skills.
Students sit in rows facing the teacher.Students sit around tables facing each other.
Emphasis on individual learning.Emphasis on collaborative and co-operative learning
Students tightly controlled to do right time.Students free to try new ideas and experiment.
Examination result acts as an external motivation.Students delve pleasure from making and learning new things.
Knowledge in textbook are "king" and cannot be challenged.Knowledge is negotiated and learnt in a community of practice.
Learning effectiveness conducted by external "examination authority".Learning effectiveness is reported as portfolio and demonstrations.
Fixed time table. If a student missed a lesson, she will miss that forever.Learning occurs all the time and contents are covered in repeating cycles.
Scholarship are based on past examination results.Scholarship is based on the ability to learn in a group and contribution to the group.
Repetitive homework are assigned.Projects are negotiated.
Deadline of homework submission in short and frequent interval.Continuous presentation of current state of project.
Students are forced to learn without explaining why they should learn that material.Students choose the subject they like based on career advice.

A series of posts from 2 Cents Worth
Flat Classroom
What about an education system that is challenged to prepare children for their future — and it’s not their father’s future. So what about a flat classroom? Traditional education has been an environment of hills. The teacher could rely on gravity to support the flow of curriculum down to the learners. But as much as we might like to pretend, we (teachers) are no longer on top of the hill. The hill is practically gone. [my emphasis]

Flat Classrooms — Curious Students
Flat Classrooms — Intrinsic Communicators & Influencers
Flat Classrooms — Future Oriented Students
Flat Classrooms — Future Oriented Students (contd)
and a wiki associated with the idea.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Looking beyond 2020 - rendered physical reality

Let me first get some of the terms clear.

Physical reality - the physical world we are familiar with.

Virtual reality - a computer generated 3D-like (albeit rendered on a 2D screen) with support such as head-mount visual display to general 3D images. Recent development include 3D television (by directing different light into viewer's eye to create the 3D visual effect.)

Imagined (created) reality - the sense of reality when you are deeply engaged in a role play simulation such as Fablusi role play simulation. The information you received to create the reality is minimum. Your imagination fills in most of the details. This can also happen when you are reading a novel. The look of the character in the novel is mostly created by your imagination or creativity.

Now, consider this situation, from an Intel webpage, via Better Humans
In a hospital in Houston, two surgeons appear to be performing a difficult procedure on a cardiac patient. In fact, only one of the doctors in the room is real. The other is a replica - a lifelike physical model whose shape, appearance and movements precisely mimic those of a specialist in Tokyo who is performing the actual work.
When you finished using a replica for one purpose, you could transform it into another useful shape. A human replica could morph into a desk, a chair could become a keyboard, a lamp could be transformed into a ladder.

This is what the Carnegie Mellon University researchers called Dynamic Physical Rendering - a rendered physical reality.

Sound impossible? Here is their plan.

The source of the replicate may be captured via 3D motions. Carnegie researchers have already developed
technology that points a set of cameras at an event and enables the viewer to virtually fly around and watch the event from a variety of positions. The DPR researchers believe a similar approach could be used to capture 3D scenes for use in creating physical, moving 3D replicas.

To create the physical replicate, they propose to use "a form of programmable matter". This programmable matter is in fact millions of small spherical catom which, a prototype (much bigger than the eventual version) has been partially* demonstrated in 2004. The final version will use electrostatic forces rather than electromagnetic forces to hold these catoms together or move. This simulation shows how 3D catoms can find other catom.

Obviously this kind of research will provide a very different future for us. The way of experiencing the world and hence forming our understanding of the world will be different. We should be excited and be prepared.

*partially because the prototype is 2D enabled instead of 3D. But the concept has been proven.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Insights from a Techie

by David Warlick via OLDaily

What would it mean for a teacher to be clickable.

This is a question I am most interested in, especially if we want to have an answer which is appropriate in 10 to 15 years.

David continues to outlines three roles a teacher need to become:

First of all, the teacher has to create and persuasively describe the place that the students will want to go, a student-centered outcome that is compelling to young learners. Then the teacher must construct a context within which the students will work with relevant/authentic limitations, and appropriate tools to accomplish the goal. Finally, the teacher becomes a consultant, or strategy guide.

YES! Teacher is NOT the authorative content of a subject matter, but a convincing evangelist of an area of study that demonstrates relevancy to the curiosity of the young and inquiring minds. Teacher contructs challenging and stimulating problems to help the students to continue the scope of inquiry and further the depth of the study. Teacher is a guide, someone who is willing to travel the learning journey with the students helping in every way AND enjoying the discovery and excitement together.

In The Zen Of Being An Effective 'Mod' In Online Role-Play Simulations [see my other papers on role play simulation in http://www.roleplaysim.org/papers], I wrote, the roles of moderator in role play simulation, which is akin to teacher, are

Guardian angel: ...maintain an overview of the general direction of the game progression. As a subject 'content expert' the role of the guardian angel is to help participants with the content, if and only if, help is requested, ... While guardian angels should communicate a sense of support to the roles, it is important that roles do not become over dependent on them ...

Manipulative devil: Given that roles are trying to achieve goals, one tactic to create learning opportunities is to set up obstacles [or new challenging problem in the current context of a new role of a teacher] on the path to these goals.
Resident Teaching/Learning Resource: Perhaps the most crucial of the MOD various dimensions is the need to recognise learning opportunities and transform them into potential learning. Thus when help is sought or a request for a specific action is made, a learning opportunity opens. ... A Resource should promote reflection and consideration of alternatives. When suggesting alternatives (always plural!), it is important to ensure that participants take responsibility for the role's action - participants should own the actions they take. ... On the other hand offering relevant facts for consideration that seem to be unknown to the participant is also useful.
Improvising story teller: .... The MOD becomes a story teller and creates extension to the original design to cater for the situation.

An administrator: ...

While Dave continues with the focus on the role of content, the conclusion is very interesting:
Quoting: ... Content today is the dominant thing. I think we will start to see people who can aggregate audiences in interesting ways.

Woooow! Ok, so it isn’t the textbook? It’s the audience? The class? What is the power of the audience? What is the power of the class? How might we turn the class audience into an engine for learning? What does it look like? Is this where we need to be thinking, in order to drive a bottom-up revolution in education?

Published simultaneously on Random Walk in E-Learning

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Is smaller always the better?

It seems that the computing devices are getting smaller in their physical size and yet there is a converging trends that they are getting more features such as being mobile phone, camera, PDA, personal entertainment system. For example, the Samsung a970 shows here on the left is capable of [from Gizmodo]
capable of receiving multimedia content like 3D games, music videos, and other kinds of programming. It also features Bluetooth, a 2-megapixel camera with 2x optical zoom (plus video cam), an MP3 player, a T-flash memory card slot, a 262k colour screen, and VoiceMode, a speech-to-text technology.

From Engadget: No doubt there are mobile phones which also can run the kind of applications we usually found on "PC", such as Nokia 6803 which
Symbian 9.1 + UIQ 3 platform and appears to feature a 1.3 megapixel camera with flash, SD slot, MP3 player, QVGA touchscreen, and weighs-in at 5.3 ounces.

or Lenovo ET980 with 4 megapixel camera and Windows Mobile.

Two major limitations of small devices are (1) the difficulty of processing of complex information due to its limited screen size and (2) hand-sized interaction inputs.

I would like to have several paper-thin full colour devices with touch screen capability so that I can write and make notes on the display (just like paper, but of course processed digitally like a computer). These devices are networked together so that the information marked on one can be transferred to another, including my notes etc. My main notepad, any one of these, will accept my voice input as well as typing via the tiny keys wear on my fingers (so that I don't need a keyboard). These little keys have track balls built-in as well serving also as mouses when I slide my finger(s) over my desk.

Such a set-up would enable me to process and utilize several complex information with smaller cognitive load on my temporary memory (which can be used for more meaningful task) and with sufficient display resolution. The input devices I wear on my hand (and fingers) would provide a comfortable interface for prolong work.

Is there anyone out there designing such a set-up today?