On Education

A lot of reflection has happened lately, and I’m looking forward making it into a concrete project and prototype.

My 3 1/2 years old son is now at school, and this is has revived a deep interest I’ve had for the last decade in education. A lot has changed since I was experimenting with accessible computers : touch screen are everywhere, computing power is ubiquitous (in the western world).

New approaches to education are blooming faster than most educators can cope with. But before anything truly changes, our mindset has to move away from fear, resistance and ignorance.  A new generation of tools and communities is also needed, and this is what I’m looking at now.

If we look at kids with benevolence and love, we have to be careful with experimentation and not see them as the next frontier to hack.

I’ve identified some bad reasons that draw entrepreneurs and parents to education:

  • it’s a big market. This should never be the foundation for any attempt to produce any education material
  • lack of confidence in the ability of schools to do their duty. This is bad for teachers, so this is bad for kids : how can a children feel confident with someone if his/her parent doesn’t trust him/her. Teaching is an extremely important activity and we should do whatever is needed to restore confidence and respect. If we fight the system, all we get is resistance.
  • hopelessness. Many many people feel bad about the world (environment, wars, economy, ….). It looks like for some the only hope comes from children, and they have to be gifted in the best possible way (with the help of some new learning technology). That is a  pressure they should not bear.

On the other side many teachers feel overwhelmed by:

  • the pressure of ever changing programs and directions from hierarchies disconnected from the classroom
  • the flood of new approaches and technologies, some that are imposed upon them with no proper training. Face it, currently using a computer or a tablet in a classroom still requires Mc Gyvers’ skills (event though it is a 1000 times better thant 5 years ago !)
  • expectation from parents who have access to a broad literature and tools and may distrust the system

Technology enables some new use cases, flip teaching becomes possible at all ages, interactivity is definitely a boom to learning. And this is welcomed, as it also enables new possibilities of interaction between teachers and learners. It may also enable new interaction with parents.

With a benevolent and well thought approach, teachers-with-technology will empower the youth and enable them to find new ways to adapt to a world changing at such a fast pace. And this is very welcomed.

I have started a wiki in order to mature the founding ideas of my experiments. I hope to have a few people’s insight when I start sharing very soon.

Take care,
Alain


Stay foolish, stay Hungry
Steve Jobs