Education Reform

Education reform doesn’t just mean  creating a new business model for distributing the same shit we’ve been distributing since time immemorial (looking at you MOOC’s). I’ve long said that ‘corporate education’ will never change as long as the ‘education’ our kids go through doesn’t change. Know why? Cause most adults are far less open to their creative sides than kids and if we can’t do this for kids then we aint gonna do it for adults. This isn’t some post on creativity and finding our passion. I’ll leave that to Sir Ken Robinson.

I’m tired of hearing the talk. I’m really tired of our industry’s so called thought leaders criticize things like Apple’s business model and their products yet endorse the tools and technologies that keep education and corporate education submerged in the depths of digitized classrooms (I have my eyes squarely on rapid development tools). The truth is we don’t know how to reform education because the business of education and the governance by elected and non elected officials over education’s direction is a puzzle we cant crack. That being said, its chilling to think about what Dr. Tony O’Driscoll pointed to during a keynote he gave where he compared various systems and technologies throughout the ages, showing the great progress that has been made EXCEPT the classroom where ancient images are exactly like the contemporary ones. Think about it. Look at cell phones. They’ve been around for what…20 years or so? Look at how much they’ve changed. The classroom? Any change? Any change from when your parents were in school? Any change since Aristotle?

So let me put a stake in the ground and propose some ideas for dismantling the spoken and unspoken bureaucracy of education. To me these are all things that happen before design, before development and are the disruptive ideas that future design and development should account for.

Rule #1 – Education and Life are not separate events – The classroom is part of life that we have to endure but life doesn’t seem to enter the classroom. Computerized technology is merging the biological with non-biological, has removed the proximity barrier for social interactions, has brought one’s personal life into work and the time to merge the classroom with life is now long overdue. Teaching and learning can happen anywhere. If education is to develop the minds, bodies and souls of humans then we must imagine ways to merge classrooms into life and life into classrooms.

Rule #2 – Learning can not be measured, but it can be inferred – First of all, the only definition of learning that I’m prepared to accept is the physiological description of changes to the brain as a result of the learning process. The end never justifies the means, since we’re only tracking what we measure not what we don’t. Physiological changes to the brain can be measured but they won’t tell us the what. So, lets stop trying to measure learning and lets start tracking to help us build inference. In other words I don’t need to know how much you’ve learned. I need to be able to infer that you are able to do whats needed and are developing into the perfect you.

Rule #3 – Hierarchy is bullshit. People play roles and being in a role doesn’t make you better. It gives you a role within a system. The job of every person playing a role within a system is to make the system stronger not themselves. There are teachers and students but only as roles within the system. These roles change frequently and people can play multiple roles in a single interaction. When playing a role, help others as a way to make the system stronger.

Rule #4 – The opportunity in education is not the distribution of a single voice to more people. The opportunity in education is to get rid of a single voice and connect a single individual to the global voice and harvest the many teachers around.

Rule #5 – People need to know they can be happy without following rules. So if you don’t like these rules, lay down your own but share em.


And for what its worth, none of these ideas are entirely my own.

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