The future of learning in a networked world, hive mind or free mind?

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A talk about ecological, economic and social/political forecasts, some educational models in response, and then grounding it all in to a real practical educational development for Travel and Tourism …

A talk about ecological, economic and social/political forecasts, some educational models in response, and then grounding it all in to a real practical educational development for Travel and Tourism Sector and Education. With references to key global economists, environmentalists and political scientist (names TBA), and to innovative educational models, we will finally ground big picture thinking into real hands on developments between Otago Polytechnic, Illawarra Institute, and Michigan State University and their development of new curriculum.

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  • 1. Hive mind or free mind? http://
  • 2. Networked learning in nature
    • ‘ Consider the behaviour of a swarming beehive., a common metaphor for society among the economy-as-ecosystem crowd.’
    • ‘ A few bee scouts fly off to check new locations for the hive. Upon returning home, they report their findings by dancing on the resting swarm.’
    • ‘ The more suitable the place, the more ecstatic and compelling the dance.’
    • ‘ The most compelling dancer convinces deputy bees to check out the spot it has found; those bees then return to express in dance their own endorsement of the site.’
    • ‘ As more and more bees go to see it, more and more follow. A feedback loop has been set in motion, increasing in strength until the entire swarm takes off en masse for its new location.’
    • The hive has chosen & the honey can be farmed by the farmer!
    • Ref:
    • and Kevin Kelly ‘Out of control’ book
  • 3. Behavioural engineering & data farming/ Web 2.0 Information flow & alternative media
    • Much like the bee example we’ve had an evolution of the web with new swarming technology given to us for free
    • People are using swarming technology Web 2.0 and mobiles to form social networks and share information
    • In return service providers analyse and record behaviour and target advertising and sell the farmed data to other commercial interests.
    • We appear to be really comfortable with openly sharing personal data online
    • Payoff – Huge educational benefits in enabling creative expression through alternative media, enabling information flow outside of mainstream media.
    • It can be argued that the user behaviour is engineered and predictive through the design of the technologies as part of a business model. Facebook example
    • Over time users we can be socially conditioned, for example to think nothing of openly share personal information and therefore farmed as part of the knowledge economy.
    • Ref: Once-wary Australians accept their daily lives being monitored, writes Damien Murphy.
  • 4. Emergent 2008 technology as system’s of control Brain scanning emotions RFID chipping students Biometrics: Fingerprinting teachers and students ‘ The system will let managers monitor workers' performance by measuring heart rate, body temperature, brain signals, movement, facial expression and blood pressure’ Ref SMH: Microsoft’s system for worker bees
  • 5. Will the network enable important information flow that can be acted upon
    • Real life economic, social and negative changes are on the horizon. It could be argued that the excessive existence within an online network is a distraction from dealing with reality, for example through:
    • Lack of self reliant knowledge and skills
    • Dissolution of real life community relationships  to support each other
    • For many lack of awareness of what's happening in the economy and politically and how it will affect them by instigated ignorance through the mainstream media and powers that be.
    • In terms of addressing these issues online networks simply don't cut the mustard. People need community.
  • 6. Look to history for the purpose of education in the industrial economy
    • Mass schooling students and teachers as servants of corporate and political management i.e ‘The fourth purpose’:
    • "In our dream...people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present educational conventions [intellectual and character education] fade from our minds, and unhampered by tradition we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive folk. We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning or men of science. We have not to raise up from among them authors, educators, poets or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians, nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen, of whom we have ample supply. The task we set before ourselves is very simple...we will organize children...and teach them to do in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way."
    • John D. Rockefeller’s General Education Board, Occasional Letter Number One (1906) See John Taylor Gatto for more information
  • 7. Ending of industrial age business model bring on the knowledge economy
    • Student’s and teachers as worker bees (30 year time frame)
    • The hive mind – i.e. No you! As they say on Star Trek, resistance is futile?
    • Marketing to public has begun, based on efficiency, entertainment and safety
    • “ We would perhaps become more of a hive mind - an enormous, single, intelligent entity.“
    • Ref: US report foretells of brave new world
    • And ‘Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance Paper’
  • 8. Bee movie: The other three purposes of education
    • Following on with Bee theme consider Bee movie, the gist: about a bee who doesn’t want to be held back by the conformity of the hive, thinks for himself and wants to experience life. Cute. In this context what education values would foster this fictional character.
    • ‘ If modern schooling has a “Fourth Purpose,” there must be an earlier three. Traditional forms of instruction have three specific purposes:
    • To make good people
    • To make good citizens
    • And to make each student find some particular talents to develop to the maximum. ‘ John Taylor Gatto
  • 9. Institutions Need Networks; Human Beings Need Communities
    • "The humming of the great hive society foreseen by Francis Bacon , and by H.G. Wells in The Sleeper Awakes , has never sounded louder than it does to us right now. Put kids in a class and they will live out their lives in an invisible cage, isolated from their chance at community; interrupt kids with bells and horns all the time and they will learn nothing is important; force them to plead for the natural right to the toilet, and they will become liars and toadies; ridicule them and they will retreat from human association; shame them and they will find a hundred ways to get even. The habits taught in large-scale organizations are deadly."
    • John Taylor Gatto
  • 10. Consequences
    • "Only a large-scale popular movement towards decentralization and self-help can arrest the present tendency towards statism," he warned. "At present there is no sign that such a movement will take place." Aldous Huxley – ‘Brave New World’ foreword
    • "The middle classes could become a revolutionary class, taking the role envisaged for the proletariat by Marx," says the report. The thesis is based on a growing gap between the middle classes and the super-rich on one hand and an urban under-class threatening social order: "The world's middle classes might unite, using access to knowledge, resources and skills to shape transnational processes in their own class interest".
    • Quote from DOD DCDC 2007 -2036 strategic trends report *