Disruptive innovation in education:
The urgent need for disruptive innovation in education can be appreciated by recalling the SDGs ( sustainable development goals) which were set up in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly (UN-GA) and are intended to be achieved by the year 2030. Goal 4 of these, pertaining to education is to “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. SDG 4 has ten targets which are measured by 11 indicators. The slow progress in achieving SDG Goal 4 so far is reminiscent of another important target, about 140 years back.
The U.S. Constitution required that a population count be conducted at the beginning of every decade. This has been happening since the year 1790. As the country grew, each new census required greater effort than the last, not merely in collecting the data but also to compile it into usable form. For the processing of the 1880 data, it was realised that it was nowhere near completion until 1888. It was then that a new technology of Hollerith punched card was introduced and the count then proceeded so rapidly that the work was completed very soon. This later evolved into the famous IBM company. IBM led the way in perfecting card technology for recording and tabulating large sets of data for a variety of purposes. It heralded the era of computing in many areas of our activities. And even today it is among the leaders in the emerging field of Quantum Computing.
To achieve the desired goal of a high quality education for all, we have to first move from the art of teaching to the Science of learning. And the Science of learning is best built upon neuroscience. To scale the solution we need to use intelligent automation, or Artificial Intelligence as it is more popularly called.
There was a time when long tedious calculations were done by humans, who were formally designated as computers. This is no longer so. Similarly human teachers standing in front of a class, delivering lectures to a prescribed syllabus will be automated and the erstwhile educators will move up to the more important role of cognitive development facilitators: https://mmpant.com/2021/09/04/when-teachers-were-human/
The futurist ThomasFrey (https://youtu.be/McV9AMV2LiI ) has said “If we continue to insert a teacher between ourselves and everything that we want to ( or need to) learn we cannot possibly learn fast enough to meet the demands of the future.”
It is inevitable that the future will soon become the present regardless of how well we are prepared for it.
Like human computers were displaced with machines called computers, we will see that soon human teachers ( https://mmpant.com/2021/09/04/when-teachers-were-human/ ) will be replaced with AI powered learning Apps like Duolingo ( for language learning) and Ecole 42 as places for learning.
The traditional role of a teacher standing in front of the class, providing content according to a prescribed syllabus will be upgraded to the role of a cognitive development facilitator.
For a traditional teacher to evolve to the role of a cognitive development facilitator, the following set of 11 WhatsApp delivered courses would be helpful.
Of these, 3 are monthlong courses ( LS2L: Learning to Self-learn, MSAI: Making Sense of Artificial Intelligence and QR: Quantum Readiness), 4 are weeklong courses ( TCOM: The concept of measure, COME: Complexity and emergence, EHC: Exploring human consciousness, and TSOI: The significance of Information) and 4 are weekend courses ( FAST: First Principles and Scientific Temper, THYL: The 100 year life , TLCM: The language called Mathematics, EOCF: Enhancing Own Cognitive Fitness).
Educators are life-long learners, who develop other life-long learners. They are peace time neuroscientists. The wartime neuroscientists are in the hospitals, taking care of patients.
I have been during my long innings as an educator, being doing various innovations that go beyond the standard model of ‘lecturing’.
One recent innovation is the idea of a “ Learning Prescription” in analogy to and along the lines of a medical doctor’s prescription. A prescription, often abbreviated ℞ or Rx, is a formal communication from a registered health-care professional to a pharmacist, authorising them to dispense a specific prescription drug for a specific patient. Every prescription contains information about who prescribed the prescription, who the prescription is valid for and what has been prescribed. Whether it is a tablet, a syrup, a powder, an ointment or an injection is specifically stated, as also it’s dose and time for taking it.
I had been earlier espousing the idea of a “ to learn” list in analogy to the “ to do “ list that is now well known in project implementation.
The five-hour rule was initially adopted by Benjamin Franklin and evangelised by Michael Simmons,who has written about it widely. The concept is wonderfully simple: No matter how busy successful people are, they always spend at least an hour a day — or five hours a work week — learning or practicing. And they do this across their entire career. For more read here : ……https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/317602
When you make learning a habit, you’ll very likely be more successful and productive across different areas of your life. By investing in a reading habit, you can ensure you’re growing yourself — and your company — every day.
Prescriptions have a better possibility of being acted upon and followed, than mere advice or exhortations. I am developing this concept, as learning is eventually personalised. Here is a list of
11 topics for which I have created learning prescriptions. More will be available in due course.
1: Visualising a future world
2: Becoming a self-directed learner
3: Reading effectively
4: Overcoming Maths Phobia
5: Making Sense of Artificial Intelligence
6: Building Learning Power
7: Critical Thinking
8: Becoming anti-fragile
10: Post Quantum Cyber-Security
11: Opportunity Cost
These 11 topics are those on which lots of people want to be informed and it is somewhat difficult to find quality introductory materials. In due course these prescriptions may become as popular as Anacin or Saridon of yesteryears or as Dolo 650 of the last year.
AI empowered autonomous learners within a learning community of “ Independent educators”, serving as cognitive development facilitators will emerge as the ecosystem for future learning, I have named it “Learning 321: Learning in the 3rd decade of the 21st Century”.