Thursday, February 25, 2010

Changing "Education"

It's about time -- and hopefully, the colleges and universities won't be far behind.

What's important is the understanding (proficiency), and not merely looking busy and doing the most work -- because real understanding and insight into a process, should always reduce the amount of work and effort required.

But the old school was about effort, and struggle, and learning things one really wasn't interested or ready for, which is always non-productive and creates the (discipline) problems of the education system. A person has to be ready (prepared) to accept any learning -- and it is the learning itself that is critical, and not the teaching, and the job security and benefits of the teacher and instruction, which is only what the education discussions are about anymore.

The highest level of learning is when a person teaches themselves -- and we now have that capability to keep track of where the different students are -- rather than arbitrarily demanding that everybody must be in conformance with the program, on exactly the same page.

Fifty years ago, before computers were readily available, educators were already developing individualized instruction like this -- before the education professionals realized it threatened their own job security, and denied such a thing was possible or permissible. That was still the era of centralized data processing in which everyone had to await the availability of the lone IBM mainframe and data processing department to tell us the result of anything.

The field that should be most greatly impacted by the development of the information and communication technologies of the past 50 years, and especially the last ten, is education, learning, lifelong discovery -- yet that is traditionally the defenders of the existing status quo, of the institutions, schools, universities perpetuating themselves forever -- and so they've become the rearguard of culture and society rather than the avant-garde. We no longer process or transmit information and communications through them anymore.

Information is exploding all over, with nobody capable of tracking and controlling it all, and learning the obsolete, is not just as good as learning the state of the art, which is really is the only thing worth learning -- that implies everything else. But in the schools, they start chronologically so that they require people to learn the old before the new -- instead of just the new.

The old traditionalists will still insist that everyone must learn Latin in order to improve their understanding and use of English -- which old schoolers will nod their heads as though such a thing made sense, because there is so much to learn that one should learn what one wants to for a specific objective, and not just the walking encyclopedias of useless information -- who when you ask them a specific, targeted question, answers you with all they know -- which is not helpful, and wastes a lot of precious time, energy, and resources.


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