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August 27, 2010 / Mike Biggs

Ms Gillard’s Education Revolution is a state sponsored building stimulus; nothing to do with education at all.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard (25)

Image by MystifyMe Concert Photography™ via Flickr

What are we supposed to think an Education Revolution is all about? You’d think it were about education but under the Labour Government you would be wrong.

The current education revolution is an extension of the GFC firefighting stimulus, which on those merits is well and good, but fails to meet any objective attributable to an education revolution.

So what exactly could an education revolution look like?

Firstly let me suppose what the key issues in education are today..

  • Access (mainly physical access, and to a much lesser degree financial access).
  • Expectations of the key market namely Gen Y and their younger peers.
  • True egalitarianism across academia.

There may be more issues, and I am not an academic in the current university system, but let’s work with these for now. If you have any more, then comment and make this a conversation!

To me all of these issues can be solved with the most basic of digital technology that we are currently using in almost every other part of society except education. It seems odd that the most important nation building exercise is being resourced with outdated systems and ideologies.

There is much talk about this subject, on some of the more informed radio programmes, and other media in which they have detailed the way education information infrastructure is setup. And I am thoroughly shocked at how poorly thought out and how incapable the bureaucracy is at true self evaluation and comparison against modern expectations and capabilities.

Universities were once the hub of bandwith when the internet was starting out, now those same conceptual networks are the bottlenecks in the flow of good administrative data, knowledge, ideas and general information. The systems that served a bricks and mortar society is now so redundant the new breed of student doesn’t even realise there is a disparity between the old ways and the new. They expect that all information and learning, should as I can, be accessible anywhere at anytime by anyone. Furthermore the burring of the lines between education, informaiton and entertainment enhance the ignorance to the old ways amongst the new crowd.

Good on them, for they are the ones who are in touch with the real world. They are not the ones holding onto the antiquated filing systems that use lock and key concepts and paper filing cabinets that stop the flow of information, therefore slow the speed of intellectual development in this country.

This is not a political post, but Julia Gillard should be more worried about why we are not using the most basic of business technology in education to increase access, speed, and building the intellectual capital of this country rather than knocking up a few school rooms and lining the pockets of dodgy builders in the process. The two things aren’t even barely connected.

The real education revolution should look something like this (if you ask me):

  • True egalitarian access irrespective of entry marks – this is facilitated by technology removing the limit on classroom seats.
  • All content in digital form, accessible anywhere at any time.
  • Use of well thought out frameworks to pool administration and storage of information facilities (previously known as libraries)
  • True two way conversations amongst academia, students and industry professionals – again technology facilitated

As I say I am not an education expert, but someone else can worry about the details if I am getting the new picture wrong. The point is, that at true education revolution should be initiated but building classrooms is not it. It’s really about how to make the most of the technology we have, and about meeting the very different expectations of modern students.

AND

Don’t even get me started about how there isn’t even a mention of teaching Thinking as a subject at any level of schooling. There are some pilot programmes around, and in isolated situations Thinking IS taught as a valuable ability to have, but it needs to become mainstream.

What could be more important than teaching an individual how to create and evaluate ideas that will improve their thinking and allow true development in their other educational pursuits? I suppose this is the reason that people like Michael Hewitt-Gleeson exists, hell bent on teaching the world to be individual soverign thinkers. And I for one am following in his footsteps so to speak.

I can’t let an opportunity like this go by without telling you to signup to the School of Thinking, learn how to self evaluate, think better, and faster, and it’s free. If Julia Gillard won’t do it, why don’t you help yourself to a little education?

Please leave some comments, this is a hot hot issue 🙂

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4 Comments

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  1. Obi Wan Kenobi / Aug 28 2010 6:51 am

    I agree with some of what you say: outdated technology, the inequality in education, Labour’s stimulus package had little to do with education and more to do with stimulating the movement of money around our sick and tired capitalist system.

    I agree that thinking, like ethics, would be valuable to teach. But I also know that not everyone is interested and many don’t see the value or purpose. I’m at times a deep thinker (though not an original thinker), and it has brought some rewards and many challenges – like many comments I’ve received “Oh, you think too much, it won’t make you happy!” And perhaps they have a point.

    My spontaneous response (which might change tomorrow!) to your musings is that thinking (and consciousness raising) intrinsically demands a move to exist beyond mere survival mode of the automaton. However, perhaps because we have been poorly trained at thinking itself, when some people think (ponder, muse, consider, evaluate etc.) they then get confronted by what they come to realise, and have limited resources to cope with what they uncover and so have to then bear the terrible agony of it with few support structures in our contemporary society that is hell-bent on destroying any sense of community. However what has been revealed will now never go away and it can be a weighty burden to have to carry in isolation. And attempts at shutting it down and going back into the world of ignorance is intolerable if possible at all.

    So yes to training to think – but it has to occur in a context and network of community and support and learning what to do with what arises out of thinking otherwise it will drive us all …

    • Baron Mike Biggs / Aug 28 2010 8:41 am

      I like this comment a lot.

      To me the big point that I take away is that the trouble lies in the inadequacy of our current thinking systems. Or our inability to deal with certain confronting issues be them educational or other life lessons.

      The solution? Firstly we need to recognize that there is a gap between our challenges [all kinds] and our current cognitive capabilities. Only then can we begin to close that gap by working out how we perceive, process, create and evaluate new ideas.

      Thanks Anitra!

      • Obi Wan Kenobi / Aug 28 2010 3:08 pm

        Yes – this morning I have been pondering on the correlation between thinking and intelligence. What is intelligence (it’s a bit like clarifying what is “common sense”!!!), and how does it mould our thinking?

        What happens when someone has the capacity for intelligence (whatever that means exactly) that is not honed through education; be that schooling, study and life experience too?

        Not only is there a gap between experience and cognitive capability, but also between what is created through thinking processes and reality (in the realm of time and matter) achieved in relation to results achieved through action. How do we manage to live in the gap?

      • Baron Mike Biggs / Aug 29 2010 12:15 pm

        Wow how serendipidous that you mention common sense as a key concept. I am currently writing in detail about the very concept and how the idea of common sense is both illogical and flawed while it tries to be the beacon of logic. A paradox really.

        Stay tuned for more of that in a post very soon.

        MB

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