I was wrong and I’m sorry.
Teach with Reach’s fundamental core is about fostering and enabling a life long passion for learning.
I used to think it was about fostering paradigm changes in Education, but that just translates as ‘we think stuff should change’, but doesn’t give any direction.
With this new core principle it becomes obvious that techniques such as gamification should be use very carefully and cautiously. They are often a source of extrinsic motivation and once that motivation is removed the drive for students to learn drops, whilst focusing on intrinsic motivation helps with the core aim.
An example of the above is parents who pay their kids to when they get an A in their subjects. Remove the monetary incentive and they aren’t likely to go back to wanting to learn. Contrast ‘getting an A in French‘ to ‘Wanting to speak French’. Very different motivations which have long lasting impacts.
For those of you who aren’t TEDsters and haven’t watched 700+ TED talks like I have you probably won’t know that Sir Ken Robinson has the most watched TED talk where he explains that schools kill creativity. It’s on the must watch list for everyone.
The amazing people at opencolleges.edu.au recently released this awesome infographic about education in Australia and the correlation between the income gap and achievement gap. Hopefully companies like Khan Academy, Teach with Reach and others can help reduce the correlation, allowing anyone with Internet access the ability to learn.
I’ve been working out various business model ideas for being able to make the education revolution dreams a reality, which requires the right balance of openness and collaboration with also being able to make enough money to ensure that some great, high quality, in-depth work gets done. The type that only happens when people can dedicate their full time focus to something for many years.
One of the great resources I came across recently was a talk from 2008 by Kevin Kelly about the Web 3.0. I’d seen the talk back then, but it is still relevant to today and has some interesting points.
What the Internet does is make lots of copies. The only real way to make money is to make things which aren’t copyable.
These are :
Immediacy – Getting it now.
Personalization – Having it tuned to you or specific to you.
Interpretation – Software free, manual $10,000. An example would be gene sequencing. Having a digital copy of your genes isn’t as useful as knowing you have a hereditary disease.
Authenticity – Ensuring you got the legit version which is bug free and awesome.
Accessibility – We will be happy to have others tend our “possessions” by subscribing to them. Basically rent instead of buying, so you don’t have to worry about maintenance. The backing up is done for you.
Embodiment – Nothing gets embodied as much as music in a live performance, with real bodies. The music is free; the bodily performance expensive.
Patronage – Users WANT to pay creators. But they will only pay if it is very easy to do, a reasonable amount, and they feel certain the money will directly benefit the creators.
Findability – When there are millions of books, millions of songs, millions of films, millions of applications, millions of everything requesting our attention and most of it free — being found is valuable.
This great TEDxUFM talk by Douglas Thomas has a really good explanation of content versus context and how the generation of today don’t trust anyone, they see that all explanations have a context and bias so look for multiple sources.
To bring the matter down to earth, a system of education that prepares people for “careers” rather than for life in all its dimensions, especially its tragic dimension, will readily lead its graduates into Thoreau’s trap of “improved means to an unimproved end”. We will unthinkingly build bigger and supposedly better mousetraps that do little or nothing to improve the quality of our lives or that even make them worse.
Without judgement – the ability to assess the nature of the reality that confronts us, to conceive the likely consequences of alternative courses of action, and then to weight the delicate balance between ends and means – we are little more than skilled barbarians whose short sighted and imprudent decisions will terminate in ruin.
There’s some educational science which shows that how you learn things should be in a similar way to how you use that information.
Compass with North, East, South and West listed
A good example of where this often doesn’t happen is when you are trying to use a mnemonic, acronym or song to remember a list of different things. For example I learnt about the directions of North, South, East and West by using the phrase “Never, Eat, Soggy, Wheatbix”, or another being “Never, Entertain, Sexy, Women”. This makes it easy to learn the directions but harder to recall them. For example I have my private pilots license and you have to use the compass directions a LOT, yet I still could only work out South or West after having played in my head the other two directions. Whilst I got much faster at going around the compass in my head I still couldn’t access it randomly. I couldn’t relate to it with the speed that I think about going forwards or backwards or left vs right.
Basically I learnt the list in a linear way but I want to access in a random way. Chemists learning the periodic table often have the same issue.