There are 3 main ways in which technology can be used in education. One of them is horrible. One of them is neutral. One of them is great. One of them is used extensively. One of them is increasingly being used. One of them is not being used enough. One of them is technology being used to demonstrate an idea. One of them is using technology as a replacement for pen and paper. One of them is using technology to be creative.
No matter what happens in this tumultuous world of ours, life goes on. It invariably finds a way to adapt and stay in balance. The human race is no different. Yet we are still unable as a society to create a structure that is solid and maintainable. The recent activity in Tunisia, Egypt, Lybia and a growing number of other Arab states is proof that no matter how strong a government is, it's people will keep it in balance (maybe not instantly but it will happen).
What if true magic were discovered today?
Think about the past. In times of yore, witches and those suspected of witchcraft (magic) were treated very poorly. In medieval times large scale witch hunts led to tens or hundreds of thousands of suspected witches being executed and many others were imprisoned, tortured or banished.
Our current model of education hasn't changed in quite a long time. We have the basic structure where you have classes and each class teaches a different subject. Each subject is taught as a series of topics and at the end you are assessed to make sure you have reached a minimum level. This is very rigid but has the advantage of being easy to manage.
The reality is however that everyone has a different set of strengths and weaknesses and interests. We are entering a diverse workforce where we have the possibility to do many different roles requiring a plethora of different skills and knowledge sets.
Our education systems don't currently reflect this.
I don't know about you but when I ask many of my friends what they've been up to lately I tend to get the all to familiar:
"Oh, I've just been busy with work..."
It seems that we are getting busier and busier. Technology was supposed to make our lives easier and better but it largely seems to be having the opposite effect.
Beauty is like creativity. It's not tangible yet it's extremely valuable. It's hard to define yet you definitely know it when you see it. It's all around us yet we miss a lot of it. It is an extremely important trait that we should strive to understand better.
There are a variety of view on what beauty is. To get your mind running, here are a few different ideas on the matter:
Our world is the world it is today due to an unfathomable number of events, all leading us down this particular path. We could very easily have gone down countless other paths and ended up with a world vastly different. A great number of these are random events that were completely unplanned and unexpected yet had dramatic effect in shaping our future. One could go so far as to say that these accidental discoveries play an integral part in how we have advanced as a society.
Some of these random yet world changing events include:
The discovery of penicillin as an antibiotic
Steve Jobs stumbling across a class on Typography which later heavily influenced the Mac
Post it notes (the failed result of trying to create a strong adhesive)
Rules and incentives are put in place in order to try and prevent people gaming the sytem and catastrophes such as the global financial crisis. Yet as we see time and time again, people will find new loopholes and new, unforseen effects will lead to new catastrophes. Inevitably we end up with more complexity and we start to lose focus and drift away from why things were started in the first place.
Questions are an integral part of conversation. We use them all the time. As a thought experiment, let's flip the rules and state that you are not allowed to ask questions. In this conversation, everyone is banned from asking questions.
This does not mean you may not seek information however.
You may not ask:
What is your name?
But you may demand:
Tell me your name.
We all know that Santa's workshop is at the North Pole. This was actually the brainchild of an American by the name of Thomas Nast who was an illustrator for Harper's magazine from the 1960's to 1980's. While this makes sense from the point of view of being out of the way of most people for most of the year (except for, say, explorers to the North Pole and various scientists), surely it's not the best place to locate a toy workshop of such magnitude. If you were given the job of creating a new toy workshop for Santa where would you build it and what funky features would it have?
Santa is theoretically able to deliver presents in one night to all those lucky enough to be receiving them. Now this was probably a lot easier back in the old days, before America and Australia were discovered and the majority of those believing in Santa were probably in Europe, and the population of Europe was a lot smaller. We'll assume however that Santa's sleigh has upgraded over the years which allowed him to keep up with demand. No doubt trends such as highrise accommodation have also allowed him to dabble in multitasking. Even still, and given that night is spread out as the Earth rotates, it seems like Santa has set himself up an impossible task.
The internet supposedly puts the world at our fingertips. While it technically increases choice does it functionally reduce choice?
There are well over 1 trillion pages out there on the internet and that number is growing rapidly. You have access to just about every product out there. There is too much out there for us to effectively handle as humans, so we fall back to other means to sort this data, to search engines and recommendation engines. We are yet to find an effective means to do this and as a result we have two problems:
Assessment is a vital part of education but what impact is it having? Whenever we have learning we have a desire to measure it. In recent years we have also realised how important learning is to the future of so many and indeed the human race. This has lead to much work being done on improving education.
The world we live in is physical, it's real, it's qualitative. Yet more and more we are trying to define it and interact with it in a quantitative way. We try and describe nearly anything we can in terms of numbers and create reports etc. We define our happiness by how many friends we have in our social networks, by how many inches our TV is, by how many features our gadgets have. We define our success by the number of dollars in our accounts, by our title, by our street address etc.
Knowledge, and what we can achieve and produce as a result of it, tends to move at a steady pace. Every now and then however, someone, or some people come along and cause a spike in that knowledge.
Take for instance:
Apple which recently caused a spike with it's iPad (and may do again with the impending release of iOS 4.2).
Website design and interface which saw a dramatic improvement with the so called Web 2.0 shift.
Teaching strategies which are now moving away from transferring knowledge to instead creating knowledge.
And I'm sure you can think of many more.
Everyone says they are concerned about the environment and that we need to do more.
Nearly every action to date has really been just a token effort however. Sure we recycle plenty but put that in comparison to how much we use. For instance, a coal power plant running at full load can burn approximately 250 tons of fuel an hour depending on it's size and it is expected that by 2030 we will be burning around 9.98 billion tons of coal a year.
Do you think we can really take action on this topic and what large scale ideas could we implement?
What if tomorrow you stumbled across solid, conclusive evidence that there was not a god?
Would you tell anyone? Who would you tell?
Would you choose not to reveal it and conceal of destroy it?
Nature can provide us with many forms of inspiration. On a typical beach there could be billions of grains of sand. Of these we could have many many different sizes, shapes, colours and arrangements of grains. These are also influenced by many different, fairly routine, external influences such as the tides, waves, wind, vegetation and animals. This is a massively complex system that could potentially hold many answers, ideas and inspiration.
Zombies are something we have a fascination with. Just look at how many times they appear in the plots of movies and other media. The outbreak is the most common aspect to be covered. Naturally this is the most exciting part of an outbreak, especially from a movie point of view.
Let's cast our minds and imagination to the long term outcome of an outbreak.