Good morning everyone. My name is Vince Leung and I’m co-founder of MentorMob We’re going to take a trip through the evolution of learning – from ancient societies to today and exciting possibilities in the future
Education ushering in cultural change Early/Ancient Societies Some form of structured education was a necessity for a structured society. But only the governing class, needed or could afford to be educated This was a good enough system for these societies, but problems arose as societies grew, and eventually became industrialized.
Industry The industrial revolution increased the need for skilled/specialized labor. New jobs were being created in huge quantities, jobs like mechanic, engineer, foreman, and manager This created a need for all citizens to be educated, at least on some basic level. Inventions like the printing press allowed for the mass production of educational materials. The current state of education is still largely based on this model of preparing students to live in an industrialized society
Labor, and much of life, in a society based around manufacturing was very standardized. It made sense to build an education system around standardization. If your work performance is based on things like quotas, accuracy, and time, then it makes sense to base school proficiency on things very similar to quotas, accuracy, and time.
But we don’t live in that time anymore. We live in the future. I carry a super computer in my pocket with me everywhere I go. A couple of guys can start a company like Instagram and become billionaires almost overnight. The standardized recipe for success has gone out the window. We live in a world where innovation, problem solving, and motivation are what pays. Not Timeliness, accuracy, and quota fulfillment. Tech Rapid growth in technology, information, and population have presented problems for our current education system. Mostly, maintaining relevance and student engagement The content, goals, and strategies for educating used to be mostly static, but are quickly becoming more dynamic. We are on the verge of a major cultural change, and education will have to help lead the way.
And teachers are expected to engage these children from the future in materials, methods, and standards from the past. And its frustrating. Especially when the teachers and the students both know that its not working and its not what they want. Whether it be because of bureaucracy in the school system, a lack of access to proper resources for students, or student behavioral issues, it seems that teachers are having a harder and harder time in the classroom. Fortunately we are getting closer than ever to solving the access issue through technology, I also feel that behavioral issues will decline as curriculum and teaching strategy improves. Maybe the bureaucrats will even come around, eventually.
Challenges ahead and solutions Access Physical In the past, we have had to overcome resource intensive hurdles to physical access, such as printing and purchasing books, building schools and libraries, and getting the right teachers to the right students. Our current situation is much easier. The infrastructure needed for education in the Information Age is a simple as a WiFi and any internet capable device. This is a much cheaper and easier problem to solve. Most importantly, internet based resources means equality for all students. Keeping a library up to date, with the best materials available, is incredibly expensive. While the internet is, by its own nature, self-updating. It will always be up to date with the most recent information available.
We are at an incredible time in the history of the internet. When the web was first created, we were in a time period known as ‘Web 1.0’, this was a time when the web was mostly “read-only” A small amount of content creators were pushing out their information to a large amount of content consumers, similar to a traditional publishing company. But eventually we grew into the web that you know today, Web 2.0. Web 2.0 is an interactive internet where the line is blurred between creator and consumer. Blogging platforms, video sites, social media, forums, and comment sections have opened the to door for all of us to create and share content.
But this is not without its own problems. This social web, in addition to the rapid pace of scientific discovery, has lead to information being created at an astonishing rate. Google’s Eric Schmidt said, “In the past two years, we have created more information than was created from the dawn of time through 2008.” (find actual source) Frankly, this is more data and information than we can handle. Google has at least made it reasonable searchable, but it is in still no way organized.
Web 3.0 will be all about curation. Making this massive amount of information sorted, organized, and usable. Curation will involve organizing this massive amount of content that is being created. This will keep the user’s web experience relevant and useful. At mentormob, we realized that some people are really good at digging through all of this content to find the best stuff out there, we’re providing them with a platform to link all of the best content together to create a curriculum of the best content on the web. Once this is underway, the problems that school face with access to great materials, will be basically solved.
Behavioral Schools were built with a certain type of person, and a certain era in mind. aOur children are not that type of person, and they are not living in that era. This disconnect is leading to engagement problems in the classroom.
At mentormob, we try to look at real world examples of what engages our children, Things like sports and video games. You don’t really have to coerce a child into loving these things; its intrinsic. In fact, some of these things are becoming more engaging, like video games, while the classroom, for the most part, is struggling to keep up.
What is it about these things that play on our children’s natural motivators? Let’s look closer at what makes up video games and sports They are challenging, and importantly, a good game gets harder as you get better, so it stay challenging They are collaborative, there is a social element, as well as a commitment to others that you will fulfill a role, others are relying on you They have built in short term and long term motivators, hitting a home run is a short term motivator, winning the tournament is a long term
Gamification and social connection will help us motivate current students, and keep engagement high. Blended classrooms will allow us to merge the irreplaceable classroom experience with all that the web has to offer.
The awesome future that we will be living in We are the closest we have ever been to solving the education access problem. Currently, only a small percentage of the world’s population is being properly educated, this means that we are on using a small percentage of the world’s brain power to solve the world’s biggest problems. If every child has access to education, think about what we can do once we unleash the whole of the world’s knowledge potential on these problems. Think of how many engineers, doctors, inventors, and teachers are waiting to be discovered
When we look to the past, we see that educators lead the way towards more complex, equal, and sustainable societies. Richard Smalley, professor of Chemistry, Physics, and Astronomy at Rice University and 1996 Nobel Prize winner identified the “Top Ten Problems of Humanity for the Next 50 Years”. Power (Energy) Water (Energy) Food (Energy) Environment (Energy) Poverty (Education) Terrorism & War (Education) Disease (Education) Learning (Education) Democracy (Education) Population (Education)
ISTE Ignite 2012 - MentorMob
The Evolution of Learning Past, Present, Future Vince Leung Co-founder, MentorMob email@example.com