Scientific management yields Scientific schooling

Work is learning, and learning is the work – that’s what’s currently on this site’s masthead.

You could add the tagline – life is learning, and learning is life – to Seth Godin’s comprehensive piece on the state of public schooling, Stop Stealing Dreams.

This 30,000 word article echoes many of the sentiments of Paulo Freire, Ivan Illich, John Taylor Gatto and Ken Robinson in calling for systemic educational reform.

As is becoming obvious, the network era is here, and Godin reinforces many of the ideas found in Connectivism:

22. The connection revolution is upon us

It sells the moment short to call this the Internet revolution. In fact, the era that marks the end of the industrial age and the beginning of something new is ultimately about connection.

The industrial revolution wasn’t about inventing manufacturing, it was about amplifying it to the point where it changed everything. And the connection revolution doesn’t invent connection, of course, but it amplifies it to become the dominant force in our economy.

Connecting people to one another.

Connecting seekers to data.

Connecting businesses to each other.

Connecting tribes of similarly minded individuals into larger, more effective organizations.

Connecting machines to each other and creating value as a result.

In the connection revolution, value is not created by increasing the productivity of those manufacturing a good or a service. Value is created by connecting buyers to sellers, producers to consumers, and the passionate to each other.

This meta-level of value creation is hard to embrace if you’re used to measuring sales per square foot or units produced per hour. In fact, though, connection leads to an extraordinary boost in productivity, efficiency, and impact.

In the connected world, reputation is worth more than test scores. Access to data means that data isn’t the valuable part; the processing is what matters. Most of all, the connected world rewards those with an uncontrollable itch to make and lead and matter.

In the pre-connected world, information was scarce, and hoarding it was smart. Information needed to be processed in isolation, by individuals. After school, you were on your own.

In the connected world, all of that scarcity is replaced by abundance—an abundance of information, networks, and interactions.

An article this long may not be read by most people, especially those who need to read it. However, there is a lot here to foster further discussion and it is presented in clear language. This article, or manifesto, can and should be used to call for a new approach to public education, because making the current ineffective system merely more efficient would be a waste and a shame.

A new economy needs a new approach to education.

96. Big companies no longer create jobs

Apple just built a massive data center in Malden, North Carolina. That sort of plant development would have brought a thousand or five thousand jobs to a town just thirty years ago. The total employment at the data center? Fifty.

Big companies are no longer the engines of job creation. Not the good jobs, anyway.

What the data center does, though, is create the opportunity for a thousand or ten thousand individuals to invent new jobs, new movements, and new technologies as a result of the tools and technology that can be built on top of it.

There is a race to build a plug-and-play infrastructure. Companies like Amazon and Apple and others are laying the groundwork for a generation of job creation—but not exclusively by big companies. They create an environment where people like you can create jobs instead.

Pick yourself.

Every section in this article can be the subject of its own debate and discussion. Each one made sense to me, and while I may not be an education expert, I have spent a good part of the last two decades studying and practising in the field. Godin concludes with a very simple piece of advice to anyone who wants to change the way things are.

132. What we teach

When we teach a child to make good decisions, we benefit from a lifetime of good decisions.

When we teach a child to love to learn, the amount of learning will become limitless.

When we teach a child to deal with a changing world, she will never become obsolete.

When we are brave enough to teach a child to question authority, even ours, we insulate ourselves from those who would use their authority to work against each of us.

And when we give students the desire to make things, even choices, we create a world filled with makers.

“The best way to complain is to make things”


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