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Hallo Tegenlicht kijkers!

eyes
Click on image to start video.

Education Futures is receiving a lot of visitors from the Netherlands – supposedly viewers of tonight’s Tegenlicht episode. I enjoyed the interview, and hope that you’ll find the program engaging. I’d like to hear what you think! Also, if you’d like to learn more about the topics I discussed, here are a few resources to get you started:

And, for those of us outside of the Netherlands, here’s what the episode is about (adapted from my quick and dirty translation of Netherland 2’s description):

How can we ensure that talent is fully developed? And what is the importance of our knowledge? Rob Wijnberg converses with Frank Furedi, a British sociologist and author of, among others, the controversial book Where have all the intellectual gone?; Robbert Dijkgraaf, Professor of mathematics and physics and president of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences; and, John Moravec, from the University of Minnesota and author of A new paradigm of knowledge production in higher education. In this last broadcast on the topic of Excellence we meet with a number of experts looking for answers to the most pressing questions with regard to education. What is needed for better talent in the Netherlands and what is associated with more diversity? The interviews are done by Rob Wijnberg, writer, director and journalist for NRC•Next. The main question in the interviews is: What are we really educating children for? a) To perform at the maximum (economic). b) To become happy (personally). c) To maximize contributions to society (citizenship).

One probabilistic computer per child

islate

OLPC may see a new competitor enter the market. Utilizing a new microprocessor technology that embraces probabilistic logic computing rather than traditional boolean logic computing, a team at Rice University is designing a digital, touchscreen, LED slate for deployment in developing countries. Probabilistic computing permits devices to provide correct answers most of the time rather than all of the time, allowing for dramatic reductions in power consumption while speeding-up computations considerably. The reduced chip-based power consumption will allow the device to powered by solar cells.

From Popular Mechanics:

What it is: The “I-Slate,” a solar-powered, stylus-controlled classroom aid unveiled at the IEEE’s 125th Anniversary event on Tuesday. The idea is that this LED slate will replace the chalk slates still used in much of the world, allowing students to learn basic math skills without the need for a literate teacher (something that is in demand in much of the world). The device is being created by Dr. Krishna Palem and his team at Rice University.

[…]

The slate will be able to download coursework using wireless networks. And because these chips should be far cheaper to produce than the high-powered processors found in most new products, making them practical for the third world.

From Rice University’s news release:

Inspired by microfinance, the I-slate’s innovators intend to use social entrepreneurism to create a self-sustaining economic model for the I-slate that both creates jobs in impoverished areas and ensures the I-slate’s continued success regardless of ongoing philanthropic support.

The first prototype PCMOS chips were found to use 30 times less electricity while running seven times faster than today’s best technology. Palem’s PCMOS team includes researchers at Rice and at the Institute for Sustainable Nanoelectronics at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, where the first PCMOS prototypes were manufactured last year.

"Innovation in the field of innovation"

I received feedback from several readers that Arthur Harkins’ reasoning for why we need to Leapfrog might seem a bit too Machiavellian — “us versus them.” I therefore hope everybody will enjoy the contrast of perspective in this next video.

In early November, we had an opportunity to interview Jutta Treviranus, director of the Adaptive Technology Resource Centre at the University of Toronto. Her approach to creating sustainable innovation is somewhat different. Instead of relying on competition, we can operate on an assumption of collaboration for innovation, creating win-win scenarios for all.

The “king of the hill, competitive” type of thinking, Treviranus argues, is contributing to the modern world’s problems. To get past this, she declares we need, “innovation in the field of innovation.” Brilliant!

More in the video:

Arthur Harkins on Leapfrogging

Earlier this month, I interviewed Arthur Harkins on our approach to innovating in human capital development (Leapfrog!). Specifically, I asked:

  1. What is Leapfrog?
  2. What are some examples of leapfrogging?
  3. What are the Leapfrog Institutes?
  4. What are the global implications for Leapfrog?

Watch his responses in this video:

A little background:

Leapfroggingmeans to jump over obstacles to achieve goals. It means to get ahead of the competition or the present state of the art through innovative, time-and-cost-saving means. Leapfrog denotes leadership created by looking and acting over the horizon. Leapfrog creates the future in the present based on what is found over the horizon. Leapfrog first acts to create proximal futures, and then solidly grounds the most promising futures within the present. This process marks an extension of Vygotsky’s and Dewey’s work, while ever looking toward the future.

One example of Leapfrogging is Finland’s jump to wireless phones, saving that country the cost of deploying an expensive copper wire system. Another example is present in some of the Kent, Washington public schools, which now permit students to use wireless Web devices to help them access information to better pass tests. Leapfrogging has become a major strategy of developing countries wishing to avoid catch-up efforts that otherwise portend a high likelihood of continued followership. A similar approach to gaining the lead rather than assuming a persistent runner-up role.

Leapfrog institutions relentlessly disrupt themselves to compete successfully in the global knowledge and innovation economy. They work ahead of the competition in teaching, research, innovation, and service. They avoid playing catch-up.

Additional resources:

Knowmads in Society 3.0

Remember nomads?

In the pre-industrial age, nomads were people that moved with their livelihood (usually animal herding) instead of settling at a single location. Industrialization forced the settlement of many nomadic peoples…

…but, something new is emerging in the 21st century: Knowmads.

A knowmad is what I term a nomadic knowledge worker –that is, a creative, imaginative, and innovative person who can work with almost anybody, anytime, and anywhere. Industrial society is giving way to knowledge and innovation work. Whereas industrialization required people to settle in one place to perform a very specific role or function, the jobs associated with knowledge and information workers have become much less specific in regard to task and place. Moreover, technologies allow for these new paradigm workers to work either at a specific place, virtually, or any blended combination. Knowmads can instantly reconfigure and recontextualize their work environments, and greater mobility is creating new opportunities. Consider this coffee shop in Houston:

The coffee shop has become the workplace of choice for many knowmads. What happens when the investment banker sitting next to the architect have a conversation? What new ideas, products, and services might be created?

The remixing of places and social relationships is also impacting education. Students in knowmad society (or, as I also like to call it, Society 3.0) can learn, work, play, and share in almost any configuration. Remember our videoconference with a fifth grade classroom in Owatonna? The purposive use of technologies allowed standard desks to be removed from the classroom and for students and teachers to instantly reconfigure their social learning environment, allowing for more individualized instruction …and co-instruction among students and their teacher. The differences between students, teachers and colleagues are beginning to blur.

Who are these knowmads in Society 3.0? Workers, students or coffee shop patrons?

(To find out, click on the picture)

Are you a knowmad?

A "New" Minnesota Miracle

This morning, the Star Tribune published a piece on a push by DFL legislators for a “New Minnesota Miracle,” through an injection of $2.5 billion into K-12 education in Minnesota. From the article:

The plan would pour money into basic education funding for schools to use as they see fit. There also would be more money to cover school special education costs, pay for all-day kindergarten for everyone who wants it, and reimburse schools for some of their lost revenues due to declining enrollments.

When I saw the phrase, “a New Minnesota Miracle,” I thought, “hmmm… that sounds familiar.” When I saw state Rep. Denise Dittrich’s name associated with the push, I thought that name sounded familiar, too. So, I did a little digging through the Education Futures archives, and discovered that Arthur Harkins and I presented a pathway for a second Minnesota Miracle to the House E-12 Education Committee Working Group on High School Redesign, chaired by Rep. Dittrich:

A key difference between the Leapfrog pathway and Dittrich’s scheme is that Leapfrog calls for no new money (or very little new money) to be injected into K-12 education by the state. Rather, as knowledge-producing institutions, schools and communities would be encouraged to develop new economic models for funding K-12 education by bonding schools with the innovative workforce. Following our presentation with the working group last January, we were asked how much money did we want. We said nothing – and the panel was astonished. Is it possible that innovation in education can be accomplished without legislative intervention?

At least she’s not calling her spending plan “Leapfrog.”

(And, yes, I think K-12 education need to be fully funded. I just don’t agree that we should expect money to create a miracle… unless if we have a plan. Our plan is Leapfrog.)

Chris Dede: Leapfrog beyond research triangles

Last month, Leapfrog Institutes and Education Futures interviewed Dr. Christopher Dede, Timothy E. Wirth Professor in Learning Technologies, Technology, Innovation, and Education at Harvard University, on what it would take for a state to become a leader in innovation. His answer was quite simple: successful states set up regional economic education development centers. These centers need to focus on K-20 development, rather than on higher education –which is what research triangles typically focus on. His recommendation: Leapfrog over traditional research triangles and build something relevant for the 21st century.

More in the video:

Clayton Christensen on innovation in education

Yesterday, HBS Working Knowledge posted an interview with Clayton Christensen, a professor at Harvard Business School and author or coauthor of five books, including The Innovator’s Dilemma and The Innovator’s Solution. The interview focused on his latest book (co-authored with Michael B. Horn and Curtis W. Johnson), Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns, which focuses on which ideas around innovation can spur much-needed improvements in public education.

HBS Working Knowledge, notes three key ideas from the book:

  • “As an industry, education has certain elements that have made the market difficult to penetrate and lasting reform hard to come by.”
  • “As a general rule, the most promising areas for innovation are pockets or areas that appear unattractive or inconsequential to industry incumbents and where there are people who would like to do something but cannot access the available offering.”
  • “To improve education as an industry, businesspeople might consider investing in technological platforms that will allow for robust educational user networks to emerge.”

More in the interview…