Education Should Be COLLABORATIVE — Introduction to AGES Part II

Martin Rezny
Words of Tomorrow
Published in
6 min readFeb 22


Saving the world with an Alternative Global Education System


How much can you accomplish on your own, while having access only to the contents of your own brain? However much that is, it’s certain that you can accomplish a huge deal more with the help of your friends and with access to the internet. Why is it that at school, during all tests and exams, you’re on your own, when in the real world, for which the school is supposedly preparing you, you’re not alone and can have all the help?

Even before I heard all of the problems with education succinctly formulated by Sir Ken Robinson in his famous TED Talks, I had already questioned how tests and exams are done at school. I even openly clashed with my math teacher. My reasoning was, if my job depended on math, when would I ever need to calculate anything alone in minutes?

Moreover, at that point, personal computers and the internet were a relatively new thing in my country, but one with which I was already familiar. When would I ever, in real life as part of a real job, need to do calculus on paper? The whole test scenario made exactly zero sense to me.

Turns out I wasn’t wrong. There are myriad more problems with how math in particular is taught at high schools, but the simple fact then and now is that in real life, in real jobs, outcome is what matters, not how specifically one achieves it, as long as they aren’t doing anything illegal or unethical.

Most commonly, projects are realized by teams of people, not isolated individuals, and any tools that are available that can make the job easier most definitely should be used. If for no other reason, then at least to decrease costs or to lower the level of stress and burnout of the workers.

Work smart, not hard, is the new motto, but it seems that most educational systems still haven’t gotten the memo. Although in the case of how schools frame the standard testing scenario, it’s not even about working hard, it seems to be more about failing dumbly while stigmatizing failure.

In my experience, during my studies in my country, the only academic community that was able to see reason were the lawyers. During all their exams, students of law at Masaryk University in Brno were allowed access to lawbooks. This was the only field where I encountered anything like this.

In any sensible modern system of education, I believe we shouldn’t have a major cognitive dissonance between the classroom and the real world. Since the ability to work well with others is an essential capacity, and since working without tools is sheer madness, students should be allowed to use tools and collaborate with others to prove their worth to their community.

The second of four core principles of what we call Alternative Global Education System (AGES) is collaboration. What follows are specific systemic features that will enable it. If you’re interested in perusing the whole thing, see the state-of-the-art version of the AGES charter.

Collaborative education system must be…

Promoting Teamwork

Most existing academic systems are built around the concept of individual excellence, which is a desirable goal, but one arguably best achieved by letting students help each other and be helped by each other, or in other words, through teamwork.

Cooperation at achieving goals is essential in everyday life, in order to take the maximum advantage of everyone’s strengths, while allowing people to compensate for each other’s shortcomings. This natural, efficient process is typically seen as cheating and is punished at school, due to the requirement that every student needs to be equally excellent at all of the aspects of any given study program and must be able to prove it in isolation.

There certainly are some fields or skills that require a high degree of individual self-reliance, which will have their learning and certification programs customized accordingly, but most of the learning will happen in small, self-selected groups of students mentoring each other, which will in many cases take tests as teams.

The students will also be tested as members of the global community, meaning they will have access to any resources while passing a test by themselves to which they would have access in the real world while doing real work in the field.


The first stage of the project will essentially be a website with the purpose of aggregating all of the globally available online learning resources that are freely accessible or generally affordable.

Gradually, an interactive system of dynamic learning paths will be created that will integrate the available learning platforms and their particular classes, study programs, and certifications into one educational system.

However, the goal of this integration is not to standardize or centralize learning, to control the curriculum; the goal is to maximize synergies between otherwise disparate programs, to serve as a learning potential multiplier.

Since many learning paths will include courses, resources, or tests from multiple different platforms, the students won’t miss any of the best educational content, and no single platform will have to be perfect at everything. In other words, integration of platforms has the same benefits and makes the same sense as teamwork of individual students in the educational context.


Most official academic systems and programs in the world are highly centralized and standardized. This has historically been the case primarily because this way, government or school administrations can have ideological control over the curriculum.

This is indoctrination, which is antithetical to the primary objective of this project, which is the maximization of the potential of both individual human beings and the global community. One may argue that indoctrination is no longer the primary reason for standardized curricula in the developed world, but the other possible reasons for it arguably also don’t stand up to scrutiny.

Centralization and standardization are sometimes implemented for reasons of economic or organizational efficiency or convenience, but computer science has made such administrative concerns obsolete. Alternatively, the most recent pushes for academic standardization were motivated by IQ research (to pick students with the highest innate intelligence) and by making it possible to compare the quality of teachers or schools within a system.

Regarding IQ, this project is aiming for universal free education, so that the naturally disadvantaged aren’t further systemically disadvantaged. Regarding the issue of standardized testing as a basis for comparison, this has proven in practice to create hostility between teachers and students and between schools, while we believe that promoting collaboration is desirable; it creates a stressful, psychologically unhealthy environment; and the content of tests becomes the sole focus of learning, if the test results in any way matter to the careers of the people involved, which restrains the potential of learning. Standardization also presupposes that all learning outcomes can be measured and compared objectively, which simply doesn’t appear to be the case in any of the humanities or arts in any meaningful way.

For all of these reasons, we believe that a more effective educational system is one in which students are allowed to follow divergent learning paths, dynamically customized based on the individual student’s preferences, specific progress and goals, and unique experiences.


One of the main problems of traditional academic systems is that as long as a study program’s content is locked in for its whole duration, the program may become obsolete before the students finish it. Students then receive degrees that are already outdated and don’t actually qualify them for any real-world job.

This is most pronounced in certain high-tech fields, particularly in anything to do with computers, but the pace at which technologies are evolving in the current age is so rapid that who knows how much will change in any given four or five-year period.

Not having fixed-duration programs is one part of the solution, as is the ability of students to course-correct on their learning paths at any time, but ultimately, all of the learning content and learning pathways need to be adapting to the changing situation in real time.

Thankfully, the same technologies that are driving the change, like networking or automation, enable us to keep up with it. Whether through cooperation of human beings or with the help of AI, or most likely through cooperation between humans and AIs, the learning content and pathways will be continuously updated, while keeping track of the whole history of previous versions.

If you’re interested in helping us develop this program further or in any other way make the world a better place, visit the website for more information or support me or the project on Patreon using the support links under this article or on our website.