When Teachers were human?

When Teachers were human? 

The March of Artificial Intelligence: 

By defeating Gary Kasparov on May 11 1997, Deep Blue made history as the first computer to beat a world chess champion. Kasparov refused to believe that a machine could play better than him and argued that the computer must actually have been controlled by a real grand master. Somewhat like most School teachers are under the delusion that they cannot be replaced, although they are seeing “tuition teachers” and Byju teachers edging them away. 

In the year 2011, IBM Watson defeated Rutter and Jennings who  were till then Jeopardy-winning machines.

A long-standing goal of artificial intelligence is an algorithm that learns, tabula rasa ( clean slate) superhuman proficiency in challenging domains. Recently, AlphaGo became the first program to defeat a world champion in the game of Go, using a novel form of reinforcement learning  in which AlphaGo Zero becomes its own teacher. 

This is therefore a further stimulus to self-learning and avoidance of “taughtitis” a collateral damage that occurs with traditional education. See Guy Claxton: https://youtu.be/JxWybvns1jg

Beyond Games: 

Going beyond games, AI is now able to perform many tasks which were done only by specifically trained humans. Work done by radiologists and ophthalmologists is now comparable to that done by AI. In fact “Deep Medicine” is a book published in July 2019 by Eric Topol that describes the impact of AI on medicine. Robot-lawyers are a reality: https://donotpay.com . Self-driving cars are also now a reality, and so will be self-directed learners : https://mmpant.com/l2sl/

AI systems will be further strengthened with the availability of Quantum Computing to accomplish Quantum Machine Learning. The real big challenges of the world for a sustainable future  are attempted to being solved through Quantum Technologies. https://youtu.be/iB2_ibvEcsE

Quantum Technologies for future readiness: https://mmpant.com/qt4fr/

AInEd Supremacy

The phrase ‘ Quantum Supremacy’  was coined  in 2012 by the Caltech Professor John Preskill to describe the  situation when a Quantum Computer could solve a problem that no classical computer of the day could solve in a reasonable time. In a similar spirit I have coined  the phrase “ AInEd Supremacy” to describe the situation when the AI technology of the day in conjunction with a human educator, an AI fluent SmartEducator: https://mmpant.com/aifse/ ) will achieve learning outcomes that no traditional teacher with traditional technology could achieve.

The AInEd supremacy could be achieved during this decade, with the use of Chatbots, face and emotion recognition, recommender systems, text to speech, speech to text and machine translation. And of course technologies like GPT3. 

Terrence Sejnowski, Francis Crick Professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Director of the Computational Neurobiology Laboratory, says that “ Education is going to be the killer app for deep learning”. 

Sir Anthony Seldon illustrates how the traditional roles of  a teacher will be transformed by AI over the coming decades: https://mmpant.com/2021/03/03/ained-supremacy/

The technology to deploy ‘holograms’ for professor’s presence anywhere ( watch this 4 minute video right now) already exists. With time it will become more readily available: https://youtu.be/auJJrHgG9Mc

Technology powered by AI could even help on resurrecting dead professors : https://theconversation.com/chatbots-that-resurrect-the-dead-legal-experts-weigh-in-on-disturbing-technology-155436

In addition to the help that AI will provide to facilitate the traditional tasks of a teacher, there are a few more results that learning analytics will provide that enhance the teaching quality and the learning effectiveness. For example when the learner is transacting the content, data will automatically be recorded for the time spent at various sections. With permission granted to record facial expressions, there will be very useful data that indicates the level and nature of engagement with the content. The qualities of grit, perseverance etc. referred to by Paul Tough in his seminal work “ How children succeed” can now be observed and analysed quantitatively. Drawing on groundbreaking research in neuroscience, economics, and psychology, Tough shows that the qualities that matter most have less to do with IQ and more to do with character: skills like grit, curiosity, conscientiousness, and optimism.

To help with his class the spring of 2016, a Georgia Tech professor Ashok Goel, hired Jill Watson, https://youtu.be/Y3t-3YeY0sc a teaching assistant unlike any other in the world. Throughout the semester, she answered questions online for students, relieving the professor’s overworked teaching staff. But, in fact, Jill Watson was an artificial intelligence bot, based on the same IBM Watson technology that defeated the human champions in 2011 in the game of Jeopardy. 

Ashok Goel, a computer science professor, did not reveal Watson’s true identity to students until after they’d turned in their final exams.

With more human-like interaction, we may expect online learning could become more appealing to students and lead to better educational outcomes.

Just as professors may use AI as teaching assistants, students could use a chatbot to facilitate individual mastery learning. 

AI and related technologies can help bring the Oxford/ Cambridge tutorial system to any University that chooses to adopt it. While a good deal of the teaching in Oxford is provided in just the same way as elsewhere – through lectures, seminars, fieldwork and practicals – the tutorial system is what sets Oxford (and Cambridge!) apart.

Universities in future could have a physical campus as well as a campus “in the cloud”. Former faculty and graduated students can continue to take part in the “cloud events” when they have left the Campus. 

Universities will continue to support their students with lifelong learning even after they have received their degrees so that they continue to, in the words of Alvin Toffler, learn, unlearn and re-learn. In addition to the traditional degrees, such micro-credentials may be given as ‘digital badges’, which in due course may be managed as ‘ Blockchains’. 

In about a decade from now, the impact of the science of learning empowered with Artificial Intelligence will be seen on many features of the present educational landscape that we take for granted. Every student would have access to the best education in the field of choice, in a time schedule that is optimised for the learner. It is extremely tough to determine as to which teaching method resonates with most of the students. A well designed tutoring programme, with the help of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, can overcome this roadblock in the swiftest possible manner. As a matter of fact, a few tutoring programmes based on AI are already in place and they cater to students across different levels and subjects, such as science, mathematics, writing etc. Though such systems and programmes are not that effective when it comes to high-order creativity, they are extremely efficient for clarity on fundamentals and concepts.

The current state of assessment of learning:

Of the various formats of questions that are used for assessments, multiple choice questions, fill in the blank or match entries from 2 columns are easily capable of being automated and evaluated with traditional ( non AI) computers. Not only can a large number of students be graded automatically, the items can be evaluated on features such as facility, reliability and discrimination index. With good quality items for the bank of questions, it is relatively straightforward to implement an adaptive testing system.

The essay type questions are a formidable challenge to automated machine testing. But recent developments in machine learning, have made grading and assessments of essay type questions possible. 

This is also a time that shows up the irrelevance of the monolithic terminal examinations. Sir Anthony Seldon in his 2018 book “ The fourth education revolution” has analysed why such examinations will no longer be relevant. Sir Anthony, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham, added that continuous assessment would sound the death-knell for exams: “The all-conquering cumulative exam is going to die and we should celebrate its death…The monolithic exam is drawing to a spluttering end.”

Micro-credentials are one of the hot rising ideas in the education space. The root of the idea is simple–you demonstrate a very specific skill, and a badge certifying that micro-credential becomes part of your personal digital file. Some of the earliest micro-credentialing involved computer programming skills, but it has grown far beyond that. To see just how many types of micro-credentials are out there, take a look at Digital Promise :  https://digitalpromise.org.  It offers micro-credentials of its own, but it also provides a platform for other entities to offer their own sets of micro-credentials.

To answer the question of what is worth learning, we need to balance between ‘pure’ learning and ‘applied learning’. The Usefulness of useless knowledge by Abraham Flexner, founding Director of Institute of Advanced Study Princeton: https://www.brainpickings.org/2012/07/27/the-usefulness-of-useless-knowledge/. There are many reports that refer to the decreasing half-lives of useful knowledge. 

From the apparent uselessness of certain types of knowledge, Yuval Noah Harari went on to propose the emergence of a useless class, as a result of workplace automation : https://youtu.be/OMDlfNWM1fA

The antidote to becoming a part of the useless class is to become invaluable, the Ubermensch as espoused by Frederich Nietzsche . And it is indeed possible to Become invaluable , not useless : https://mmpant.com/binu/

Teacherless Learning : 

Thomas Frey, a futurist foresees an AI-enabled ‘ teacherless’ learning system in about a decade or even less: https://youtu.be/McV9AMV2LiI

But as William Gibson wrote  in the Economist in 2003: “The future is already here- it’s just not evenly distributed.” 

 École 42, is a teacher-less coding school first opened in 2013 in Paris, and now in Silicon Valley as well. The model has been adopted across the world. 

To have an experience of what AI can already do for language learning, please explore Duolingo.com. See : https://venturebeat.com/2020/08/18/how-duolingo-uses-ai-in-every-part-of-its-app/

Robots that can help you learn English : https://herobot.app/messenger-chatbot/learn-english-without-any-judgment-with-a-robot-to-talk-to/

AI for improving English : https://mmpant.com/ai4english/

When Computers were human: 

The term “computer“, in use from the early 17th century (the first known written reference dates from 1613),meant “one who computes”: a person performing mathematical calculations before electronic computers became commonly available. 

Teams of people, often women from the late nineteenth century onwards, were used to undertake long and often tedious calculations; the work was divided so that this could be done in parallel. The same calculations were frequently performed independently by separate teams to check the correctness of the results.

Computers weren’t always made of motherboards and CPUs. At one time, they were human! And at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, human computers were a talented team of women who went on to become some of the earliest computer programmers. 

These workers were neither calculating geniuses nor idiot savants but knowledgeable people who, in other circumstances, might have become scientists in their own right. 

“When Computers Were Human”, a book published in 2007 by David Alan Grier ( whose grandmother was trained as a human computer) gives an in-depth account of this little-known, 200-year epoch in the history of science and technology.

These are already several educational applications that harness the power of AI to improve learning in students of all ages – from primary school through to college – and empower both learner and teacher with more avenues for reaching their educational goals.

These should be seen not as the best that AI can do, but as illustrations of the enormous activity in the field, and to form the view that this is not far away. A co-operative symbiotic pursuit by educators and technology developers may achieve AInEdSupremacy in a short time, possibly by July 2022, when we will be celebrating India@75. Around the same time, someone who grew up in the recent past, and whose mother and grandmother were teachers, may write a book “ When teachers were human”……or who knows it may be a successor of GPT3 that would do it, if humans begin to find such book writing not worthy of their evolved human intelligence.  

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AI for learning/improving your English

Using AI to learn/improve your English:

Backdrop:

For many people, not only in India, but in other parts of the world, English is a second language. But it is a very important and useful language. 

While computer languages have changed in their popularity over the last 55 years : https://youtu.be/YqxeLodyyqA, in human languages the usage of English continues to increase. 

Until the advent and proliferation of Artificial Intelligence and mobile Apps powered with Artificial Intelligence, the learning of English as a second language was not only quite expensive, but not readily accessible, and took a lot of time.

But in the last few years, this has changed rapidly and it is much more feasible not only to acquire a working knowledge of English, but continually improve it. Regular use of a language is important in acquiring fluency in it. Athletes do regular training. Musicians train. Performers train. To be proficient in a language ( human or computer) one must practice the skills regularly. ‘Use it or lose it’ is the law of nature. 

To spread awareness of these new tools and techniques, I have created a special Weeklong WhatsApp delivered course. The focus on each of the 5 days ( Monday to Friday) is :

  • Day 1: Why English?
  • Day 2: Challenges in learning English
  • Day 3: AI powered tools to learn English
  • Day 4: Strategies and techniques for better English
  • Day 5: Benchmarking your English

Enrolment procedure:

Fresh batches of this week-long program begin on the first Monday of every month. The next cohort will start from Monday 6th September 2021. In order to enroll for the Programme, please send a WhatsApp message, with the following text:  AI4English to +91 98100 73724.

Please do mention your name and WhatsApp mobile number on which you would like to pursue the programme through WhatsApp

You will be included in the cohort beginning from the nearest cohort to your request date. 

The Programme Fee of Rs. 2500/– (Rupees Two thousand  only) may be remitted by PayTM to mobile number 9810073724 or deposited into the following Bank account:

Name: Madan Mohan Pant

HDFC Bank Account No. : 26451000000301*

*(The account number is 26451 followed by six zeroes followed by 301)

IFSC: HDFC0002645

Address: HDFC Bank, Unitech Cyber Park, Sector 39, Gurgaon

Should you desire to know more, please WhatsApp, your query to :

 Prof. M. M. Pant  at +91 98100 73724

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Greetings on 75th Independence Day:

India @75:

This is the key phrase marking the 74th Independence Day this year. The Prime Minister has exhorted us that the next 25 years will be very important for us. This has tempted me to encourage all, young and not so young to forecast what to expect in the future : in 2030, 2040 and 2050 and prepare themselves accordingly. We are even proposing to have a day every year to be celebrated as “ Future Readiness Day” to make sure that we are on course of being “ future ready” for the coming 25 years.  There is also a sobering warning from Yuval Noah Harari that we may be rapidly becoming part of the “useless class”. 

This is both a National goal and a personal goal for each of us. 

The main Drivers of this exponential change are:

  • AI and Robotics
  • Quantum Technologies
  • Climate  change
  • The changing nature of work
  • The emergence of AI-empowered teacher-less  education

I am sharing below a playlist of some videos that inform you of the current thinking and developments. I am not drawing any conclusions but  suggesting that you draw your own conclusions and plan your strategies on how to make the best of what’s coming.  There is an acronym DYOR ( Do your own research) that is prevalent in the world of crypto-currencies. However, the acronym is not a piece of advice exclusive to the cryptocurrency ecosystem. It is also very important in planning one’s future educational and career paths. 

1: The WEF’s terrifying vision for 2030: https://youtu.be/4jf0xJlJgIo

( a critical commentary on the video at number 3)

2: The 25 biggest technology trends defining the new decade: https://youtu.be/6JOhemCj5Cs

3: WEF eight predictions for the world  in 2030: https://youtu.be/MKwENH-m4oU

4: The world in 2030 by John Andrews: https://youtu.be/TBnNbyi4AN4

5: The world in 2030 by Michigan Kaku : https://youtu.be/219YybX66MY

6: The world in 2030 and 2040: https://youtu.be/h0QjwqLtxLM

7: Our future in 2040: https://youtu.be/wvNKKAFU4oU

8: The world in 2050: https://youtu.be/RNVh_HMX2IY

9: The world in 2050: https://youtu.be/PlSjpRce18s

10: Ten mind blowing technologies that will change the world : https://youtu.be/7vQznLKEfBs

11: The future of education : https://youtu.be/McV9AMV2LiI

12: These will be the ten largest cities in 2030: https://youtube.com/shorts/EKdePZGtXgA?feature=share

13: Two million jobs to disappear by 2030: https://youtu.be/PNWYyaVL01g

14: Humans need not apply : https://youtu.be/7Pq-S557XQU

15: Yuval Noah Harari and the useless class : https://youtu.be/OMDlfNWM1fA

16: The art and Science of trend tracking : https://youtu.be/7boVGRUJ0w0

There are many reports that also anticipate the upcoming challenges and identify the opportunities and paths ahead. The latest in these sets of reports is the sixth assessment report from IPCC ( they were recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize 2007). 

Happy Independence Day 2021 and best wishes for thriving and flourishing in the 2030s and beyond. 

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For the want of a nail

At School I had learnt the proverb :

For Want of a Nail

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.

For want of a shoe the horse was lost.

For want of a horse the rider was lost.

For want of a rider the message was lost.

For want of a message the battle was lost.

For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.

And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

And the breaking news today is that for want of computer chips entire industries (~200) from cars to household gadgets are being impacted. https://in.finance.yahoo.com/news/these-industries-are-hit-hardest-by-the-global-chip-shortage-122854251.html

And for want of learning power ( https://youtu.be/JxWybvns1jg) the youth is likely to become part of the useless class ( https://youtu.be/OMDlfNWM1fA).  It’s time to be reminded of Vivekanand’s exhortation of “ Arise, awake and do not stop till the goal is reached”. 

And the goal is to develop a Scientific temper and become invaluable, not useless. The path is self-learning and learning to learn has been emphasised so much in the NEP2020. Developing a Scientific temper has been mentioned 4 at 4 places in the NEP 2020. 

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CBSE’s progressive and innovative initiatives:

The CBSE has done two commendable progressive and innovative acts recently. One is the new Data Science suite of courses for students from class 8 to 12. The other is the “AI for all” self-learning modules that bring AI awareness (1.5 hours) and AI appreciation (2.5 hours)for all. The program aims to introduce AI to one million citizens. We have more teachers than that number. All teachers should this and be ready for education 4.0. However teachers of today (and tomorrow) need to go beyond just awareness and appreciation of AI, and be able to deploy AI for better learning for all, even when the learners can’t go to a brick and mortar school. I have developed a monthlong WhatsApp delivered course “ AI fluent SmartEducator” that can be accessed with a mobile phone for educators who have received the badges for the AI awareness and AI appreciation module. The course is available every month from 6th September 2021. For further details : https://mmpant.com/aifse/

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Bootstrapping kit to self-learn

BOOOTSTRAPPING KIT TO SELF-LEARN

Guy Claxton identified “ taughtitis” as an unintended consequence of learning at School ( https://youtu.be/JxWybvns1jg ). 

Thomas Fray ( https://youtu.be/E3bUn9-j0yo ) said if we insert a teacher between us and what we need to learn, we can’t learn fast enough to be ready for the future. 

Yuval Noah Harari has drawn attention ( https://youtu.be/OMDlfNWM1fA ) to the possibility of falling into the “useless class” without a concerted effort …..

The NEP 2030 at para 4.6 has emphasised the criticality of “ learning to learn”, but not much help in how to become an autonomous learner has been made available. 

To respond to this need I have developed a WhatsApp course on “ Learning to Self-Learn” ( MMPant.com/l2sl).

I have developed this approach to becoming an independent learner, that is based on a providing the learner with a number of resource kits to learn on one’s own a variety of subjects/skills. 

Self-learning is listed as “ Swadhyaya” amongst the 5 Niyamas of Patanjali Yoga, and is therefore our tradition long before the distortions created by the British rulers. In order to succeed and flourish in the future we need to embrace the emerging technologies of AI and machine learning on our firm foundations.  

One can get a sense of what is involved in becoming a successful self-learner by perusing the bootstrap kit for self-learning. This kit contains the following information, made available as a set of WhatsApp posts. Item 8 is the most useful in these, as it is a curated list of a number of very useful resources for self-learning: 

1: What is this kit for?

2: What this kit contains?

3: Quotations on self-learning

4: How to use this kit?

5: How AI changes things?

6: When teachers were humans

7: Levels of AI empowered self-learners

8: Resources for self-learners 

9: Threshold Concepts

10: What next?

To buy the kit please remit Rs 500/- through PayTM to mobile number 9810073724 or deposit into the following Bank account:

Name: Madan Mohan Pant

HDFC Bank Account No. : 26451000000301*

*(The account number is 26451 followed by six zeroes followed by 301)

IFSC: HDFC0002645

Address: HDFC Bank, Unitech Cyber Park, Sector 39, Gurgaon

Should you desire to know more, please WhatsApp, your query to :

 Prof. M. M. Pant  at +91 98100 73724

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Learning to Self-Learn:


Today marks one year of the NEP2020. One of its key recommendations is “ Learning to Learn”. These 5 videos give a glimpse of the future for which education should be preparing you. For everything that the education policy may not equip you with, you will have to find your own path, ( become आत्म निर्भर) if you want to avoid being a member of the ‘useless class’: 

1: Humans need not apply: CGP Grey (15 minutes)  : https://youtu.be/7Pq-S557XQU

2: Robots and AI: every job at risk (15 minutes) : https://youtu.be/rnBAdnNIIXk

3: Yuval Noah Harari : automation and the useless class (4 minutes)  : https://youtu.be/OMDlfNWM1fA

4: Guy Claxton on Learning Power (15 minutes)  : https://youtu.be/JxWybvns1jg

5: Thomas Frey : 2030 and the future of education (3 minutes)  : https://youtu.be/E3bUn9-j0yo

An hour spent watching these 5 videos could be life-changing. As the Buddha had said “ Be a lamp unto yourself”. 

In the Patanjali Yoga framework, it is listed among  the 5 niyamas as Swadhyaya ( स्वाध्याय)meaning self-learning as well as self-reflection, and resonating Socrates that “an unexamined life is not worth living”. 

Get started with : https://mmpant.com/l2sl/

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Educating Oneself for an unknown and uncertain world:


“Educating oneself for an unknown and uncertain world”

One of my favorite stories that I have been sharing these days is about Albert Einstein and his teaching assistant when he was teaching at Princeton University. He had just wrapped up administering a test to a group of second year physics students when his teaching assistant approached him and asked, “Dr. Einstein, wasn’t that the same exam you gave to this sameclass of students last year?”

Einstein paused for a moment then replied, “Yes, it was the same exam.”

Perplexed by that answer, his teaching assistant then asked, “ How could you give the same exam to the same class two years in a row?”

“You’re right, these are the same questions as last year”  Einstein replied– “but the answers have changed.”

The point Einstein was trying to make, was that due to the number of insights and discoveries in the field of physics, the correct answers at that moment were very different from what they were even a year ago. He had himself during the year published 4 pathbreaking papers, on Brownian movement, Special Theory of relativity, General theory of relativity and the photoelectric effect. And people like Heisenberg, Schroedinger, Neils  Bohr, Max Planck, Paul Dirac, Wolfgang Pauli and others were laying the foundations of Quantum Mechanics as the theory to describe the world. 

I love this story because it’s so reflective of how education has fundamentally transformed over just a year. Our Bharata Ratna Prof CNR Rao had said in a meeting at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in 2015 that 90% of our University Curricula were out of date ( https://www.hindustantimes.com/education/90-of-indian-varsities-have-outdated-curriculum-cnr-rao/story-OqDUW0dbaJc2MeXmbiOSRP.html). Heads of 114 institutions where the President is the visitor were participating in the three-day Conference. But no one took note. 

Now a virus about 100 nm in diameter (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7224694/) has shaken up the entire education system during the last year. 

The Questions regarding teaching are the same but the answers have changed, and many of you will agree, over the past one year. 

The same questions :

  • Who teaches?
  • Where do we teach? 
  • How do the learners access learning? 
  • How do we support learners ( pastoring)?
  • How do we assess learners? 
  • What learning resources do we deploy? 
  • How do we manage their credentials?

 What has changed? 

  • The mobile learning infrastructure : Reliance-Google collaboration with Android Go… the new Operating System. This was scheduled to be announced at the Reliance AGM on 24th June 2021, but there may be some hiccups according to reports. This phone is expected to reach 900 million users ( learners). 
  • From being banned in educational Institutions, the mobile device will become the key learning device. 
  • The 4th Industrial revolution : Klaus Schwab in WEF 2016. 
  • In January 2021 WEF estimated that a billion people have to be re-skilled by the year 2030. 
  • The 4th Education Revolution : Anthony Seldon 
  • The AI recommendation and personalisation engines 
  • Learning Software like AlphaGo Zero and self-driving cars
  • The Pandemic………imposed restrictions in movement and proximity….

What will be the new educational ecosystem?

10 Elements of the new educational eco-system: 

1: Educators who are AI empowered self-learning facilitators

2: Lifelong self-learning communities ( as opposed to age and stage based learning) and co-learning spaces. 

3: AI supported HelpDesks

4: A personal learning chatbot for every learner

5: AI powered learning Apps.( Duolingo, iMath etc.) 

6: An AI powered personalised assessment, monitoring and feedback system 

7: Learning Prescriptions, Learning Capsules and Learning Pills

8: Mobile Learning ( not desktop). 

9: Wearables for self-learning ( AR and VR) 

10: Blockchains and badges for credentials 

Like the development of Quantum Physics, each of these elements are being developed and explored by many entrepreneurs and innovators. From Sugata Mitra’s explorations in SOLE ( Self-organised learning environments: Child Driven Education  )to Teacherless software professional development as in Ecole42 ( https://youtu.be/kskJUR4V4YI)  and Elon Musk’s recent Synthesis initiative (   https://interestingengineering.com/learning-through-play-how-synthesis-plans-to-bring-the-ad-astra-astra-nova-model-to-the-entire-world ) are all progressive steps that give glimpses of the future of education. In due course, they will merge into a new  Science of learning that will be able to function together, and address its  key challenges: the challenge of numbers, the challenge of quality, the challenge of access, the challenge of relevance and the challenge of costs.

The matter is urgent, because various reports have suggested the mismatch between what is expected of educated persons and what we have, to the extent that Yuval Noah Harari has warned of an emerging “useless class” (https://youtu.be/OMDlfNWM1fA)

As was said by William Gibson, almost 20 years back in an article in the The Economist, December 4, 2003…..” The future is already here  – it’s just not evenly distributed”

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Learning Prescriptions:

Learning Prescriptions: 

For about 5 years, since the World Economic Forum in January 2016 described the present era as the 4th Industrial Age, and Anthony Seldon used the phrase “ Fourth Education Revolution”, I have been exploring disruptive innovations in education. While using mobile phones as access devices and WhatsApp as the messaging platform was relatively easy to arrive at, the real disruptive thought was that the emphasis on teaching has to give way to focus on learning. British Universities have a long tradition of two formats, where most undergraduate courses are delivered through taught classes, but Masters degrees can be either postgraduate taught programmes (PGT) or research programmes (PGR).

In today’s time, with an  abundance of digital resources, especially AI powered learning Apps such as Duolingo, the alternative to ‘being taught’ is perhaps more desirable as Guy Claxton says in this video, traditional education causes “ taughtitis” https://youtu.be/JxWybvns1jg

 I have created a WhatsApp course on “ Learning to Self-Learn”. For details follow this link : https://mmpant.com/l2sl/

This has been followed up by the concept of “ Learning Prescriptions” for what is not traditionally taught or not accessible to you. I had been earlier espousing the idea of a “ to learn” list in analogy to the “ to do “ list that is well known in project implementation. Prescriptions have a better possibility of being acted upon and followed, than mere suggestions or exhortations. I am developing this concept, as learning is eventually personalised. It builds upon the concepts of “ Bibliotherapy” and “ CBT: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy” to create a product for self-directed learners, who would want to follow the 5- hour rule and try to stay away from joining the useless class predicted by Yuval Noah Harari 

I just did a short one hour WhatsApp fast a-synchronous session scheduled from 4pm to 5pm on 26th May 2021 for about 70 participants to explain this concept and share a sample Learning Prescription for “ Visualising the world in 2030”. 

In future, this program will be on offer, every Sunday from 4pm to 5pm. To know more, kindly send a WhatsApp message to Prof MM Pant at +919810073724

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The Transformational Term:

The Transformational Term: 

The phrase “ Transformational Term” refers to the period of transformation from adolescence (~15 years) to adult/ youth ( ~18 years)of an individual. It also refers to the transformation from ‘education for the past’ which could be about the Vedic times, the 5th Century, the 15th Century or even the last two decades of the 21st Century, to the future beginning with the 3rd decade of the 21st Century. Most progressive thinkers agree that the future, even the present decade itself, is very different from the entire past. The “Transformational Term” is also very crucial for adult learners, getting ready for the rest of their lives. It is important to appreciate that Future readiness isn’t expensive. It’s priceless. But only around 5% of the youth and their parents are aware and informed about this. 

While there are many evolutionary and disruptive changes taking place before our eyes, I have made a small endeavour to facilitate this transformation for those who wish to future proof their learning and career. 

I have developed and have on offer from June 2021 through WhatsApp a set of six one month long course modules that can be pursued during this transformational term. They are :

1: Learning to Self-Learn ( L2SL) : https://mmpant.com/l2sl/

2: Becoming Invaluable, not Useless (BINU): https://mmpant.com/bi/

3: Making Sense of Artificial Intelligence ( MSAI): https://mmpant.com/msai/

4: Readiness for a Quantum Future (R4QF): https://mmpant.com/qr/

5: The Foundations of Biology (TFOB): https://mmpant.com/fob/

6: Becoming Fluent in Mathematics (BFIM) : https://mmpant.com/fim/

The duration of this transformational term can be customised by  each person and can range from 6 months to 2 months, depending upon the learner. 

A: The six month default plan is to pursue the 6 courses in the listed order. Alternatively after doing the first course in the first month, the remaining 5 courses may be done in any order. So there would be 5! or 120 different routes to do the 6 month program. 

B: The four month plan would have course 1 in the first month, 2 courses each in the next 2 months and 1 course in the 4th month. In this model, the second month courses can be chosen in 10 different ways and the  3rd month courses can be chosen in 6 ways, leading to 60 choices for this model . 

C: The three month plan would have the first course in the first month, 2 courses in the 2nd month and the remaining 3 courses in the 3rd month. the 2 courses for the second month can be chosen in 10 different ways. Even that is a lot of choice. 

D: For the really enthusiastic ultra-learner, this suite of 6 courses may be done in 2 months. The first month pursuing these 3 courses concurrently : 1: Learning to Self-Learn ( L2SL) ; 2: Becoming Invaluable, not Useless (BINU) and 3: Making Sense of Artificial Intelligence ( MSAI). Then during the second month the remaining 3 courses may be pursued concurrently :4: Readiness for a Quantum Future (QR); 5: The Foundations of Biology (TFOB) and 6: Becoming Fluent in Mathematics (BFIM). 

Compressing the 6 courses into a shorter time frame is not recommended, and the first month should always begin with course 1: Learning to Self-Learn. 

We are offering a big choice in the sequence/ path that the learner may choose to structure “ The Transformational Term”. 

Brief descriptors of the courses: 

1: Learning to Self-Learn ( L2SL) : https://mmpant.com/l2sl/

This course begins with drawing attention to the significance of self-learning, describes the attributes of successful self-learners, and explains the techniques ( or you may call them the toolkit) for becoming a successful self-learner. It concludes with sharing how technology in general, and AI in particular can help in making a better self-learner

2: Becoming Invaluable, not Useless (BINU) : https://mmpant.com/bi/

There are several reports that indicate the widespread job losses for educated workers and professionals. The title of this course is a reaction to the 2017 statement by Yuval Noah Harari that the rise in AI technologies would create a “useless class”. The WEF in its January 2020 meeting estimated that about a billion people have to be reskilled by the year 2030. The key to prospering, flourishing and thriving in the future will be to continuously enhance your value and become the most ‘invaluable’ person in your niche. This 4 week course helps build a general ‘immunity’ against knowledge obsolescence by fostering skills considered valuable by various think tanks and forward looking organisations. But the foundation for becoming invaluable is “ Fostering a Scientific Temper”, a fundamental duty cast upon all Indians by Article 51A(h) of the Constitution of India. 

3: Making Sense of Artificial Intelligence ( MSAI): https://mmpant.com/msai/

We are now in the 4th Industrial Age and while Artificial Intelligence has been compared to being the new electricity, it’s availability through the cloud and mobile devices is much more universal. Since AI helps automate tasks which were earlier done by humans, it’s potential to enhance almost all human activities is enormous.  This is an introductory course for anyone who is curious to know what are the various aspects of AI. That is why it has been given the title ” Making Sense of Artificial Intelligence”. This course is a fascinating introduction for the curious, with substantial guidance on more for the serious. 

4: Readiness for a Quantum Future(R4QF): https://mmpant.com/qr/

After the nuclear race, the space race and the AI race, it is the Quantum race that has the spotlight. Quantum Technologies will shape science and the world economy, re-defining the speed, and scale of scientific and technological progress in the future.  Google achieved ‘ Quantum Supremacy’, on 23rd October 2019.

Quantum readiness, therefore, is a very crucial element of future readiness.     

Thus students of all streams, engineering, medical or business are well advised to get an early start on appreciating the quantum world. 

5: The Foundations of Biology (TFOB) : https://mmpant.com/fob/

Biology is the science of life. Its name is derived from the Greek words “bios” (life) and “logos” (study). Biologists study the structure, function, growth, origin, evolution and distribution of living organisms. 

The customary introduction of fundamental biological entities such as individual organisms, cells, genes, catalysts and motors remains largely descriptive. This new introductory course attempts to  describe the foundations of biology in terms of a certain unity of human knowledge that transcends discipline boundaries. 

6: Becoming Fluent in Mathematics (BFIM) : https://mmpant.com/fim/

Galileo said that the book of nature is written in the language of Mathematics.  

Mathematics is humanity’s best tool for trying to describe how the world works; indeed, the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics at explaining the world is a bit of a mystery. It is therefore said to be the Queen of Sciences. 

This unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics is both an asset and a curse. It’s clearly an asset in that it generates interest in the subject to have key problems solved. On the other hand, it’s a curse because it leads people to misunderstand the reason for doing mathematics is its present day utility.

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My Scheduled posts time :

Around Lunch-time:

12:30 to 1:30 pm : Learning to Self-Learn ( L2SL) 

1:00 pm to 2:00 pm : Readiness for a Quantum Future (R4QF)

During afternoon tea-time:

4:00 pm to 5:00 pm : Becoming Invaluable, not Useless (BINU)

4:30 pm to 5:30 pm : The Foundations of Biology (TFOB)

Over Dinner: 

7:30 pm to 8:30 pm : Making Sense of Artificial Intelligence ( MSAI)

8:00 pm to 9:00 pm : Becoming Fluent in Mathematics (BFIM) 

Scheduled dates in June 2021:

1st week : Tuesday June 1st to Saturday June 5th

2nd week: Monday June 7th to Friday June 11th

3rd week: Monday June 14th to Friday June 18th

4th week: Monday June 21st to Friday June 25th

Scheduled dates in July 2021:

1st week: Monday July  5th to Friday July 9th

2nd week: Monday July 12th to Friday July 16th

3rd week : Monday July 19th to Friday July 23rd

4th week : Monday July 26th to Friday July 30th

The schedule for later months will be shared nearer the course offerings, as there may be other changes as well.

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