How can we REALLY make a difference with Education?

I believe wholly, that education is the most important system our world has in place. And it’s done a fantastic job so far, creating citizens who are much more capable of making an impact in the world. But it needs updating, just as our ever expanding technologies need new firmware. The world is a changing environment, and we need education that adapts.

Firstly, let’s analyze how our society evolves, what makes us move in different ways. The answer is technology. It is what gives evolution the most momentum, and any number of articles written on new tech could prove evidence for this. More so, think of how far we’ve come since William Wordsworth’s poem on the impacts of industry, London 1802. In two hundred years we’ve moved from disease filled streets and mass poverty to a much cleaner world model… Even if we’ve caused a lot of destruction to our environment in that goal. And technology evolves at an exponential rate, things we thought weren’t possible are becoming a reality, Science Fiction changed to Science Fact. But that puts a responsibility on us as a society to educate our youth to make smart decisions for the greater human future.

All of this and still education seems underfunded and target for budget cuts amidst a struggling economy. It is imperative now more than ever that this change.

What is the real expanse of what technology means? Technology means innovation and innovation applies to more than just engineering. It means new literature, and new art that inspires us. Education has the power to improve the Economy, Morality and Society, but it needs a better model to do so.

So… How can we do education better? We can use the power of the Internet, the power of our expanding technology.

Technology → [Innovation] → Art | Literature | Engineering

The beginnings of this is in K-3 grade education. This is where our roots of learning take place. The basics behind studying science (Scientific Method), Basic Arithmetic (Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division), Reading and Writing (Great emphasis here as reading is what opens up greatly the creative processes), Language (Broad, more than simply English, allow students at a young age to attempt other language programs when beginning to learn language/break down the barrier of miscommunication), and Music/Arts (Broadens social ideas, and early training in theses fields = a lifetime of knowledge). If we provide an online knowledge graph (of skills) for parents to analyze their children’s progress, and make it fun enough for the children to analyze their progress the amount kids can learn in there youth would make a huge difference in the way they view education. We need to inspire learning, not force it.

The way education is currently is actually very close to this model sans a knowledge graph to make it all readily accessible. I argue that we should make a knowledge graph that is available 365 days a year that students grades k-12 can always view. These charts would have a ladder system embedded showing where kids can further apply their knowledge and learn new things. The idea being if they find a niche they really enjoy, they can always access new material for learning rather than wait a whole year for the teacher t0 present the material to them. Allowing for multiple languages to be studied at once allows kids to break the barrier of miscommunication and really learn something they can keep for life. If all students learn the hundreds of different languages in the works… who knows… a new hybrid language may form combining rules. That would be interesting to see! Language can bridge over to new subjects too. Computer programming is largely based on ideas of learning a new language, and hopefully as kids grow up they will want to broaden their minds to encapsulate these growing fields.

As the student goes through k-12, teachers should push for them to learn more and more as we do today, but from the earliest age all information would be available for them to learn. Let’s push the boundaries of education and see how much students can learn in a small time frame.

What about after k-12? The college years? In our society the level of education we have to learn is always on the rise. It used to be you had to hold a high school diploma to get work. Now, a 4 year degree or a bachelor's program meaning you would enter the workforce at age 22 or 23, now an additional 2 years are needed as we are required to go to Graduate school and obtain a master’s degree. This means entering the workforce at age 25. These numbers are projected to rise even more. But why should education end really? I argue that what college really means is a specialization of what we learn in our k-12 years. And the way college is structured isn’t necessarily pushing us to this end. What I mean is once we get into school, typically we are slowly introduced to our program of intent, while also taking on prerequisites that may not even apply to our study. This makes degrees which could actually take 3 years of fulfilling study for the student (fulfilling because it is what they actually want to be studying) last 4 or more years. All this leads to is more students dropping out of college because they felt the information wasn’t actually designed f0r them. Instead what we should preach is learning a specialty, and perhaps taking on electives to broaden ideas on other fields as all studies are interconnected at some level. Then, maybe a system in place where alumni could return to their schools to help progress other students in their original fields, and also taking on new studies to enhance other areas of their life. There is no reason an art major can’t also be the world’s greatest neurosurgeon. A degree should simply be seen as a certificate of knowledge, and the highest degree of research in a particular field.

Using the internet we can bring down the cost of education to a level all can afford… for life. Students could engage in fulfilling work during their tenure at School. Teachers could become fellow collaborators, and students teachers. Earning a degree could just be one step to a deep web of knowledge and understanding of society.

As this is a wide scramble of ideas, I’m sure I may have left out a thing or two. I’d love to hear other ideas on the subject, arguments to my conclusions, and healthy questioning. Please share!