Education needs a reboot too

The internet makes the world a smaller place and a stronger community. For this, I am thankful.

I’ve started an interesting conversation with Max Marmer about higher education, ways in which it is currently unsatisfactory, and what can be done to fix it. Here’s his idea:

Force For the Future is an action oriented youth network that uses the tools of foresight to augment its impact. One of our main goals is to accelerate the impact of young people by connecting them with like-minded peers, and seasoned professionals interested in mentoring the next generation. And aims to provide a tangible, action-oriented form of learning that most high schools, as of yet, do not.

Many young people are struck by an unbridled enthusiasm to “change the world”. The problem is this momentary enthusiasm is rarely converted into any kind of action. Very few actually to get to a stage where they are making a difference. Force For the Future aims to lower the barrier to entry by creating a support network comprised of mentors and organizations.

He argues that there are three primary reasons he’s forwarding the project: too many students love learning and hate school, there is very little correlation between success in school and success in life, and that students need to be more entrepreneurial with their knowledge.

I think he’s preaching to the choir.

The tenets are pretty well established: open, networked, and transparent. Now it’s time to start experimenting. Shane, DJ, and I have an idea for a social tool to enhance networked learning. The goal is to connect knowledge seekers to connect with knowledge holders, and build an economy which measures the capital of knowledge transferred. We should start doing this in small trial runs, and then scale up. Roughly, the tool would use profiles so that the seekers could search out the holders. For instance, if I wanted to learn how to install WordPress, I could search and find a person who held that knowledge. It would allow me to find a time and location to meet with that person. To quantify the knowledge transfer, there would be a karma system to quantify the value of information transfer and allow both parties to exchange capital. Additionally, the tool would allow groups to coalesce for longer periods of project-based, experiential learning like the Sadhana Clean Water Project and ODA’s water project in San Pablo, Peru.

My favorite of all of this thus far? Max mentioned that he keeps his iPod regularly stocked with TEDTalks. Back when I was in high school, dialup at home forced me to download the two regular podcasts I could find, Adam Curry’s Daily Source Code and On The Media, at school. That was less than five years ago. Just think about what type of information transfer devices and bandwidth will allow five years from now. There’s huge potential, and others agree.

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