Why this is the best time to be an educator?

Why this is the best time to be an educator?

Reflections on the first day of the New Year 2018:

To an observer whose sights are on the developing technological horizon of Big Data, the Internet of Things, Robotics, Drones and enhanced Machine Intelligence competing with humans, it is clear that as we enter the last years of the 2nd decade of the 21st Century, the next 5 to 10 years are likely to emerge as a new Renaissance in education.

We now realise that the Teacher is far more important than the expert consultant, because an expert can demonstrate his or her skill in context, but it is the Teacher that creates an expert practitioner out of an initially ignorant or incompetent person. Education is increasingly becoming learner centric and knowledge is mutually created by the teacher and learner.

In fact, Science the most glorious of human endeavours flourishes because it is a community of Scientists that drives it, and not a hierarchy of bureaucrats and politicians.

We must prepare to move from the ‘art of teaching’ to ‘the Science of learning’, and just as the microscope, telescope and other instruments aided Scientific progress by providing data to be put into contexts, patterns and insights, it is the Computer, Internet, variety of sensors and allied technologies that will drive this transition from a qualitative uncertain authority based model to a data driven one that allows every learner to learn.

The pedagogy of mobile education with adoption of Heutagogy, managing the learning of self-directed life long learners will become one of the important competencies of the new age teacher.

We call this emergent model ‘ The Augmented Classroom Lecture’ which performs a space shift, device shift and time-shift of the traditional classroom lecture.

It incorporates the ideas of ‘flipped learning’, mastery learning and personalisation of the learning experience. We will get more drawn to the significance and importance of ‘social learning ‘ a component that gets significantly enhanced with technology and the size of the learning cohort.
Teachers were at some point in history respected as much as Gods, and teaching was a ‘calling’. In the industrially dominated era, they were often treated as ‘machines’ to produce trained humans who could carry out those functions in factories that could not be carried out by machines. Thus ‘ learning outcomes ‘ assembly line production and quality control processes became dominant.

As we contemplate on the future and specifically of the role of educators and learning, a few insights emerge.

In the foreseeable future, both the human populations and its longevity will be increasing significantly.

“Millennials will have over 13 jobs in their lifetime and the median­ time they will spend in a job will be three years … when they switch from one job to the next, the skills they will need in that next job will usually be something they not only don’t know but in many cases didn’t even exist when they went to school,” said Professor Koller, co-founder of Coursera .
The formal education system, is no longer equipped to cope with the emerging challenges, and the big opportunity is for educators to emerge from the background and take centre stage in addressing the challenges.
Education is constrained by a tradition of preparing clergy for the church or academics for the academia, and is not readily able to respond to the challenges of a very rapidly changing world.
Even in the classical space of learning and research there are many examples of non-recognition of talent or brilliance. For instance John Gurdon was while at Eton considered completely unsuitable for learning Science ( in fact his report card said that this would be a ridiculous idea, and a waste of time of all concerned) would later win a Nobel Prize in Medicine.
The biggest anomaly is that while we teach a number of subjects, we still do not teach learning. Nor do we have a proper system of assessment, and no examination Board declares the error margins inherent in the design of their systems.
It is said that the Internet changes everything, and accessing the Internet through the mobile, even more so. There is a movement in the developed world that ‘ sitting is the new smoking’ which basically draws attention to the fact that sitting at desks ( whether at the office or at School or College) beyond brief periods for rest is significantly harmful, comparable to the harmful effects of smoking.
So we need of have new learning spaces outside the classroom where learners can move around and explore. With handheld devices for content flow, and assessment spending time in the real world rather than in the cloistered existence of academia may be the way. Such spaces are well described as ‘co-learning’ spaces rather than as classrooms or laboratories.

In the context of law ( especially criminal law) it is said that ‘Ignorantia juris non excusat (Latin for “ignorance of the law excuses no one”).

But in real life ” ignorance itself is no excuse”.

So learn, all that you can learn. You never know when not knowing something can be harmful.

The role of the educator is to remove ignorance. Sometimes the learner may know what he needs to learn. But more often in the mode of Socratic questioning, the educator takes the learner through the 4 stages of unknown incompetence, known incompetence, known competence and finally unknown competence. And learning happens in several ways from multiple sources.

There is a saying that ‘when the learner is ready, the teacher will appear’.
And the role of the educator as subject matter expert is secondary to the role of creating conditions in which learning happens. For this the future educator has to blend nature, technology, data and human and machine intelligence to ensure that every learner is able to achieve his desired learning goals.

The main point is that education as a cure or remedy for ignorance is the new reality, and is equally applicable to health, justice, relationships and nation and world building.

With millions of screens on which educators can be viewed both synchronously and asynchronously, we should not be surprised if a decade from now ‘educators’ will become the new celebrities.

Who can believe today that great actors at one time worked as salaried employees in theatre companies and film studios.

In a decade or so, salaried teachers at School or College will be a thing of the past and celebrity RockStar teachers and professors will have millions of learners from all over the world following them on YouTube, Facebook or Twitter.

Educators who shape minds ( not only young minds, but throughout the life-span as well) are therefore very important now, and now indeed is the best time to be an educator.

Happy New Year 2018 !!!


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Weekend courses in February 2018

February 2018: Scheduled Weekend Whatsapp Courses

1: Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th February 2018: LW1: AI & ML in Education: Applications and Implications

2: Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th February 2018: LW2: What is worth learning?

3: Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th February 2018: LW3: Awaken the Innovator within ( you)

4: Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th February 2018: LW4: Preparing for a hundred year life

B: For each of the courses LW1,LW2,LW3 and LW4 remit the fee of Rs 1000/- and GST @ 18% of Rs 180/- ( total Rs 1180/- ) by PayTM to: MM Pant : 9810073724
Then send a Whatsapp message to:
MM Pant : 9810073724 with the following information:
1: Name: First and Last
2: Mobile phone number linked to Whatsapp
3: Course Code and course name. Please make a separate transaction for each course.
4: PayTM transaction number/ screenshot
5: Your brief profile ( optional)

You will be added to the list of registrants for the course. Please perform a separate transaction for each course.

Each course group will be activated on the previous Friday before the course schedule, and closed on the following Tuesday after the course is over.

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Featured Whatsapp courses for December 2017

The schedule for featured Whatsapp courses For December 2017:

1: Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd December: LW1: Overcoming Maths Phobia
2: Monday 4th December to Friday 8th : MMP01: Becoming a lifelong learner

3: Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th December : LW5: The Rich Indian Learning Heritage
4: Monday 11th December to Friday 15th December : MMP07: Making sense of Artificial Intelligence

5: Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th December: LW3: Preparing for a 100 year life
6: Monday 18th December to Friday 22nd December : MMP12: Computational Thinking

7: Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th December : LW4: What if you lost your job tomorrow?
8: Monday 25th December to Friday 29th December : MMP15: Finding Meaning and purpose in your life

9: Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st December : LW2: What is worth Learning ?

Detailed course structure:
MMP01: Become a lifelong learner:
Day 1: The importance of becoming a lifelong learner
1.1:Why lifelong learning is so important now?
1.2:UNESCO and World Bank on lifelong learning
1.3:Lifelong learning for career success
1.4: Lifelong learning in an era of increasing longevity
1.5: Well known and successful lifelong learners

Day 2: Awaken the learner within
2.1: The habit of reading: learning from literature
2.2:Knowing what to learn?
2.3:Expanding the definition of learning
2.4: The characteristics of a lifelong learner
2.5: Grit, perseverance and a growth mindset

Day 3: Steps to becoming a lifelong learner
3.1: Become a more curious person. Ask questions.
3.2: The do’s of lifelong learning
3.3: The don’ts for lifelong learning
3.4: The journey to lifelong learning
3.5: The future of work

Day 4: Improving your lifelong learning abilities
4.1: What is worth Learning?
4.2: Learning at different stages of life
4.3: Applying what you learn
4.4: The Feynman technique for learning
4.5: Making learning stick

Day 5: How to learn anything?
5.1: Learning how to learn
5.2: Strategy and Plan for learning anything new
5.3: Learning resources on the Internet
5.4: Using YouTube for learning
5.5: Learning from Apps and MOOCs

MMP07: Making sense of Artificial Intelligence:

Day 1: What is Artificial Intelligence?
1.1: The Genesis and the present Landscape
1.2: The rapid rise of the under-achiever (AI).
1.3: The Technology: IBM Watson, Google Tensorflow and Apple AI neural engine
1.4: AI and Robotics
1.5: The Turing Test

Day 2: AI: a many splendoured thing
2.1: Narrow Intelligence, General Intelligence & Super Intelligence
2.2: AI, Machine learning and Deep learning
2.3: Approaches to machine learning
2.4: Big Data and AI
2.5: The search for a master algorithm

Day 3: What can AI do today ? Applications of Deep Learning
3.1: Recommendation Engines
3.2: Speech Recognition
3.3: Computer Vision
3.4: Autonomous Transportation
3.5: The Mathematics behind the AI

Day 4: Chatbots:
4.1: What is a chatbot ?
4.2: A taxonomy of chatbots
4.3: The process of building chatbots
4.4: The popular Chatbots
4.5: Tools for Building chatbots


Day 5: Ethical Matters
5.1: The ethical challenges arising from AI
5.2:World economic forum on ethical issues in AI
5.3:Threats to privacy and human dignity
5.4: Singularity: the future of AI
5.5: Resolving the classic trolley Problem

MMP12: Computational Thinking

Monday : Day 1: What is CT?
1.1: The origin of the term CT
1.2: Various Definitions of CT and their elaborations
1.3: Computational Thinking as automation of abstraction
1.4: CT in the age of Artificial Intelligence
1.5: CT and Deep Learning

Tuesday : Day 2: Computer Literacy and similar phrases
2.1: Computer Literacy and its use
2.2: Computer Programming and benefits of knowing it
2.3: Why does knowing CT matter?
2.4: Information Fluency
2.5: A contrarian view

Wednesday : Day 3 : The main elements of CT
3.1: Decomposition
3.2: Pattern Recognition
3.3: Abstraction
3.4: Algorithms
3.5: Evaluation

Thursday : Day 4: CT and Complex Problem Solving
4.1: CT in the Physical Sciences
4.2: CT in the Life Sciences
4.3: Modelling and Simulation
4.4: Data Analysis and Visualisation
4.5: Computational Thinking as Liberal Education

Friday : Day 5: How to develop CT skills?
5.1: CT at Elementary School
5.2: CT at Middle School
5.3: CT at Secondary School
5.4: CT at University level
5.5: CT for lifelong learners: MOOCs

MMP15: Finding Meaning and purpose in your life

Module 1: The meaning of one’s life?
1.1: An unexamined life is not worth living: Socrates
1.2: Nietzsche: He who has a ‘why’ to live can bear almost any ‘how’.
1.3: The Japanese concept of Ikigai
1.4: Does life have a purpose ?
1.5: What is the path ?

Module 2: How will you measure your life?
2.1: Why do I exist ?
2.2: Career
2.3: Relationships
2.4: Integrity
2.5: Seeking Inspiration

Module 3: Aids to find your purpose in life
3.1: What motivates you ?
3.2: Your intrinsic/inherent nature
3.3: Overcoming despair
3.4: Achieving happiness
3.5: Other questions to ask ? Do my life activities have any lasting value?

Module 4: Approaches to finding your purpose:
4.1: What kind of life is worth living?
4.2: The Venn diagram technique
4.3: The exhaustive list technique
4.4: The eulogy technique
4.5: Spirituality

Module 5: Aligning your living to your life’s purpose
5.1: The transition/evolution approach
5.2: Adopting an additional way aligned to the life’s purpose
5.3: Taking a leap ( quantum jump)
5.4: Introspection and Reflection
5.5: Maintaining an attitude of gratitude

LW1: Overcoming Maths Phobia:
Day 1: Understanding the challenges
1.1: Myths and misconceptions about learning Maths
1.2: The what and why of Maths Phobia ?
1.3: Symptoms of Maths Phobia and a scale for its measurement
1.4: Causes/ drivers of Maths Phobia
1.5: Maths as solving mysteries

Day 2: The action plan : overcoming the challenges
2.1: 21st century methods of learning Maths
2.2: Good Learning habits and other strategies of overcoming maths phobia
2.3: Mastering the vocabulary of Maths and tackling maths exams
2.4: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
2.5: Wrapping Up: The solution to maths phobia is gaining confidence. Become one who knows and knows that he knows

LW2: What is worth learning?

Day 1: The overarching questions?
1.1: Utilitarianism: Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill
1.2: Useless Knowledge: Bertrand Russell
1.3: What not to do?: The Sabre tooth Curriculum ,Tale of the parrot And The Dragon Slayer Curriculum
1.4: The Harvard Classics
1.5: Learning at different stages of life


Day 2: A learning plan
2.1: Timeless Lifeskills
2.2: Contemporary Knowledge and Skills
2.3: Urgent Skills
2.4: Creating a ‘to learn’ list
2.5: Wrapping Up

LW3: Preparing for a 100 year life
Day 1: Understanding the Ageing phenomenon
1.1: Drivers of increasing longevity
1.2: What Science says about ageing?
1.3: Lifestyle to promote healthy ageing
1.4: Ageing Gracefully
1.5: About death and dying: Free radicals ; Telomeres

Day 2: The action plan : old age a blessing not a curse
2.1: Become a lifelong learner
2.2: Finding meaning and purpose in life
2.3: Financial arrangements for old age
2.4: Emotional and relationships issues
2.5: Wrapping Up: Developing a Lifestyle plan

LW4: If you lost your job tomorrow?
Day 1: MegaTrends affecting the future of work
1.1: Drivers of job losses and job displacements : not if but when ?
1.2: Assessing your entrepreneurship potential
1.3: Aligning yourself to the Gig economy
1.4: Re-Skilling yourself ( what is worth learning?)
1.5: Search for your Ikigai

Day 2: Managing the transition :
2.1: Become a lifelong learner
2.2: Re-skilling
2.3: Financial arrangements for the transition
2.4: Emotional and relationships issues
2.5: Wrapping Up: Developing an action plan

LW5 : The rich Indian learning heritage

Day 1: The Diamonds in our heritage
1.1: A survey of our knowledge management practices
1.2: Natya Shastra ( nava rasa) & Sangeet
1.3: Shilp Shastra ( with vaastu)
1.4: Ayurveda ( including Paak Shastra)
1.5: Nyaya Shastra

Day 2: Ahead of the rest of the world
2.1: Mathematics
2.2: Science
2.3: Medicine ( Shalya Chikitsa)
2.4: Jyotish ( astronomy)
2.5: Discourse ( the argumentative Indian)


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Learning weekend 2017:

The Lifelong Learning Weekend WhatsApp courses  which are scheduled for November and  December 2017 are listed below:

The Sunday in person meetings for both these will  be held at the same place, the WOODs, Greenwood City, Sector 46 Gurgaon. The WOODs is located opposite Unitech Cyber Park, between Vista Villas and Residenct Greens.

Participation happens with prior registration by sending a WhatsApp message to +919810073724 and sending RSVP for the specific W4LL event at Meetup.com

Time Schedule:
Rolling in and Networking : 9:45 to 10:00 am
Session 1: 10:00 am to 11:15 am
Tea and Selfie Break : 11:15 am to 11:45 am
Session 2: 11:45 am to 1:00 pm

On the Saturday preceding the scheduled Sunday in person event, a two day WhatsApp course is planned to be run on the same topic. The schedule for these WhatsApp based courses is also listed below:

Saturday November 11th Sunday November 12th   : Learning  Weekend: WhatsApp course on ‘What is worth Learning?’

Sunday November 12th  : In person meet on ‘ What is worth Learning? ’ from 10am to 1pm.

Saturday December 9th and Sunday December 10th : Learning Weekend : WhatsApp course on ‘ The Rich Indian learning heritage’

Sunday December 10th  : In person meet on ‘The Rich Indian learning heritage’ from 10am to 1pm.

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Coming of Age in the 4th Industrial Age:

Coming of Age in the 4th Industrial Age:

The video of my TEDx talk gives a very brief outline of concerns related to the 4th Ibdustrial Age: My TEDx talk on Education in the 4th Industrial Age

This program ‘ Coming of Age in the 4th Industrial Age’ is directed at the young ( both boys and girls) who are coming of age (turning 18) in the years to come. We are aiming at the age group of 18+-2, that is from 16 years to 20 years.
This is about the same age group that pursues the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, The A levels and the Senior Secondary stage of the CBSE and other State Boards. Younger persons may not be able to benefit from the program, although students in post secondary courses ( general BA, BSc, BCom or Professional courses such as Engineering, Medicine or Law) would find this program helpful in preparing them for their future.

There is really no upper age limit for an enquiringly mind with the disposition of a life-long learner.

About the 4th Industrial Age:
It was at the World Economic Forum 2016 at Davos, that the phrase 4th Industrial Revolution was proposed by Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum in his book ‘ The fourth Industrial Revolution’ launched at the Davos 2016 drew attention to the possibility that we have just transcended the 3rd Industrial Revolution into the beginnings of the fourth Industrial Revolution.

The program : Coming of Age in the 4th Industrial Age:

If this program is pursued sequentially, and without a break, the program can be completed in 4 months. With some slack, it can be done in 6 months.
Cluster 1: Learning is earning
1.1: Time Management
1.2: Learning how to learn ?
1.3: Learning from Mobile Apps and MOOCs
1.4: Financial Acumen

Cluster 2: Emerging Technologies
2.1: Big Data : the Big picture
2.2: Blockchain : Demystified
2.3: Machine Intelligence : what is it and why it matters?
2.4: Quantum Computing ( a Primer)

Cluster 3: Complex Problem Solving

3.1: Creative Intelligence
3.2: Critical Reasoning
3.3: Mathematical Modelling
3.4: Computational Thinking

Cluster 4: Being human ?
4.1: Homo Sapiens : a primer on human evolution
4.2: Ethics and Values
4.3: Emotional Intelligence
4.4: The future of work

To enrol in this unique and timely program, please send a mail to mmpant@gmail.com

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An investment in Education is the best Option

An investment in education is the best option:

I had written an essay with the above title in 2007 and 10 years later it seems to have become even more true now, at the edge of the 4th Industrial Age. That set of essays is now available here:


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Archived Newsletters :

We had produced and distributed a weekly newsletter on matters Educational


here is the link to the consolidated set of newsletters:



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