glasses girl

glasses girl
in the front of mosque

Friday, June 17, 2011

Education should open the mind.

Effective learning involves creating and solving our own errors. Go ahead; over-step, stretch, become too enthusiastic. When you make those mistakes common to all high achievers, use them to learn. Then enthusiastically attack again.

Microsoft Corporation in 1978, future business game masters
Pry open your mind, don't let your education rust it shut. Learn to think, not to follow. Combine your learning with action, letting unavoidable errors impel you to seek greater understanding.

Coco Chanel is quoted as saying "In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different." As the bureaucratic age winds down college degrees as requirements are replaceable; independent thinkers and visionary leaders are not. Cultivating a love of learning is becoming imperative for success.

"I know very well that because I am unlettered some presumptuous people will think they have the right to criticize me, saying that I am an uncultured man. What stupid fools! Do they not know that I could reply to them as Marius did to the Roman patricians: 'Do those who pride themselves on the works of other men claim to challenge mine?" - Leonardo da Vinci

Churchill has been attributed with a statement to the effect that "to be young and not be liberal is to have no heart, to be older and not be conservative is to have no brain". If this is a mostly true insight than why must institutions of higher learning spend so much energy shouting long and hard on ideas that students will probably embrace naturally.

If you are a student, ignore repetitious bombast, seek out convincing counter arguments. Then, through synthesis born of contradictory views, make up your own mind. Until you wisely decide to change your mind once again. Open your eyes and observe even as your ears are assaulted.

"If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all." - Noam Chomsky

Question authority, scientifically test and verify answers, embrace fully only self-proven knowledge. If a pronouncement isn't subject to rigorous challenge, repeatedly verified, and made ever more accurate; it is opinion, not knowledge. History is littered with debris of false, expert-authority opinions. Human progress has been accomplished by those that ignored "established facts," doing the impossible, advancing against the scorn of brilliant and highly educated naysayers. A kite rises against the wind, not with it.

We need freedom of expression if we are to discover truth - if like that kite we seek to soar.

Do not remain two dimensional. Question those of us with educational authority. Expand your thoughts to understand all views that pertain to an issue. "We must not allow other people's limited perceptions to define us" - Virginia Satir

We each learn differently

Shouldn't education be forced to discern and approach individual needs? The bureaucratic answer is consistent - "we need more teachers, and smaller class sizes." If each student is taught the same curriculum, regardless of their skills, desires, temperament, and abilities; class size is immaterial (except as it grows the power and wealth of protected education industries and unions).

"Does the inherent impossibility of traditional education, training, and other formal learning processes drive insane all of those involved for too long?" - Clark Aldrich

In commerce the day of one size fits many is just about over, replaced by self crafted solutions. In education everyone must fit our size is still the rule. You have three choices: you can settle for diminishing expectations of programmed mediocrity, you can fight toward a bureaucratic peak of a settling heap, or you can become a powerfully unique individual.

It is your life you are developing.

Your life, and the lives of your children, will prosper to the degree you can openly structure self-directed learning and keep it pleasurable. This is the educational importance of the Internet - you can discover and test thousands of ways to learn, finding what suits you best.

As just one option: in computer based learning we can experience life in a more realistic format than common schools. Play a complex computer game, and you learn not by memorization and testing, but by trial and error - and then perhaps a bit of study to improve results.

People act differently as they disassociate game play from reality; they experiment, learn to sacrifice for victory, compare risk to reward, use personal patterns to enhance development, consider trade-offs and negotiations, plan for the future. These types of skills become useful in meatspace (real life), if thought is used to realize the power of gaming decision trees (flexibly planned development) to our futures.

"If you treat an individual ... as if he were what he ought to be, and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be."
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

I'm convinced Bill Gates played Microsoft Corporation as a business simulator game - and learned to hack victories against ever tougher opponents. William Gates Jr. ended his business career playing deity level games against megalomaniacal governments that kept changing the rules. He changed games, learning how to play a game called Philanthropist.

Bill Gates is trying to be a philanthropic team player with wife Melinda Gates and friend Warren Buffett. They will keep improving their game play, charity will win. They are already beating the socks off jet-set NGOs and unwieldy governments by using logic and creativity rather than cheat codes and politics.

Even if you don't like him (who taught you to despise winners and mock risk takers? Why?), Bill Gates seems to have become what he ought and could be. His magnificent run may have started when he acknowledged his creativity as paramount, dropped out of Harvard, and started Microsoft.

Of course rules are now changing for all of us, including governments, as the Netcohort Age begins.

Since you were likely constrained from excelling at creativity by your coercive schooling, it is up to you to discover what you ought to be and can be -- and start treating yourself that way.
Do the same for your children.

Software is available that tailors itself to the needs and abilities of an individual student.

Better and more appropriate learning is available online than in classrooms. Real change violates industrial learning traditions and the desires of entrenched educational bureaucracies.

Powerful learning tools are played with only in the margins.

Computers are pack saddled to existing educational models in an inefficient pretense. At common schools most technologies are used like hitching horses to a sports car. The horse drawn car does not compare favorably with traditional horse and buggy. It doesn't matter if the modern conveyance is an ignorant or intentional misapplication; it will be better to properly enjoy car and horse separately.

Re-engineering education is not enough, we must participate in re-engineering the way education is re-engineered.

The future will reward the prepared yet adaptive mind. Your life, and the lives of your children can achieve greater accomplishments by a simple process. Find how each individual student learns most pleasurably and effectively, and let them fly.

Provide the resources, and get out of their way. Start a reading, reasoning, and rhetoric adventure with simple learning rules:

  • Don't Follow

  • Take Your Time

  • Think

  • Act

  • There must be more to education than monopolizing ears with boring litanies so students cease to engage their brains. In your life let reason and passion, not memorization and repetition, be your guide.

    Once your eyes are open - concentrate on the positive, there are too many negatives on which to waste your time.

    "My days of whining and complaining about others have come to an end. Nothing is easier than fault finding. All it will do is discolor my personality so that none will want to associate with me. That was my old life. No more." - Og Mandino

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