Build a School in the Cloud

Reference: Subject: Education

You may read the transcript here.

Here are the main points from this talk (February 2013):

(1) The current schooling system was designed to meet the administrative requirements of the far flung British Empire of 1700s, which were as follows,

  • The graduates must be identical to each other.
  • They must have good handwriting, because the data is handwritten.
  • They must be able to read. They must be able to do multiplication, division, addition and subtraction in their head.

(2) This schooling system does not have DISCERNMENT as its requirement. But that is the requirement we need to meet today. We need education that produces people who are able to discern what they study, because they are going to be faced with increasingly dynamic job market.

(3) Computer somehow seems to excite the children’s desire to learn.  Experiments show that children learn to browse and play the games on computer by themselves.  They even learn enough English themselves for this purpose.  They easily learn about computer parts and their function.

(4) In nine months, a group of children left alone with a computer in any language will reach the same standard as an office secretary in the West.

(5) A speech-to-text engine in the computer was able to improve English pronunciation of the children. Children could even learn “biotechnology of DNA replication in English” to some degree when they were told that it was an important topic to know. Their scores improved even further when their efforts to self-learn were encouraged and admired.

(6) Today learning is more interesting and effective through cell phones than through books and schools. We now have almost instant access to information that we need to know. Does that make knowing obsolete? Encouragement seems to be the key to self-learning.

(7) Any threat tends to shuts the brain down. In the age of Empires, it was important to teach how to learn and survive under threat. Today we need to teach to bring out creativity.

(8) We notice from these experiments that learning is the product of educational self-organization. If you allow the educational process to self-organize, then learning emerges. It’s not about making learning happen. It’s about letting it happen. The teacher sets the process in motion and then she stands back in awe and watches as learning happens.

(9) Self-Organized Learning Environments (SOLE) are collaboration and encouragement put together. Ask big enticing questions. Then give the child a hint and relevant materials. He will figure it out.

(10) We can design a future of learning by supporting children all over the world to tap into their wonder and their ability to work together. It will be a school where children go on these intellectual adventures driven by the big questions which their mediators put in. It’s a facility which is practically unmanned. There’s only one granny who manages health and safety. The rest of it is from the cloud.


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