A Future Where Knowledge is Obsolete

On a Ted Talk on NPR, Sugata Mitra, a professor of educational technology at Newcastle University, believes in the title of this post. He hopes to build a School in the Clouds. Warning: the cloud reference refers not to H2O density but rather electronic waves through the atmosphere. From the Internet.

Professor Mitra detailed the history of the classroom tracing it back 300 years to Victorian England. There and at that time, bureaucrats ( his reference) decided that in order to operate factories efficiently, there was a need for human robots (my term) who could plug into any job anywhere in the British Empire.

Reading, handwriting and simple arithmetic were required along with discipline: following directions in an orderly way. That’s it. And so here we are, 300 years later, teaching pretty much the same stuff to a new generation who will most probably never set foot in a factory.

I recall a high school history class during which we were forced to memorize the kings of England in succession. Why? Jeopardy? I recall being punished in grade school by having to work out long division problems with divisors in the thousands. Apparetly she hated math and wanted us to as well. When did I last need to divide on paper!

His school in the clouds idea- computer assisted education- makes perfect sense for today’s tech- savvy kids. However, it will be years down the road because adults, especially the +60 people will yell and scream! How can ‘education’ be like that! Who ever heard of THAT! Why, in my day…

No, rather than moving to an entirely new paradigm in education, we will continue on for decades in the factory school tradition from Victorian England.



8 thoughts on “A Future Where Knowledge is Obsolete

  1. Leftist blithering! Are we going to euthanize half the pre-school and 1 thru 5 grades who can’t meet your pie-in-the-sky learning? turning society over to the riff-raff who have no home training?
    Lets have a Ferguson here, there, and every where? Yes, I know there is racism, in-justice, financial inequality, and social immobility. Do you really think a permissive public educational system is going to cure that? You are pontificating again, my friend. Could it be that you, I, and many of our classmates became successful because we were required to do mountains and long division?

    We were educated to be elitist, and we became so!

    And, please, don’t suggest that I’m against virtual learning. If I recall correctly, I referred you to the State of Florida that is a so-called leader in developing public school virtual learning.

    1. In fact, the ‘troubles’ you listed above are not being ‘solved’ by the current, 300 year old model. It served another era which is now gone.

      You still want reading, writing and arithmetic taught in classrooms little changed from our grandparents? How does this help an inner city kid get a job 12 years later?

  2. JOB? What jobs? Making solar panels and windmills? Oops, the Chinese
    and Danes do that for us already? Hydrogen batteries? Not so fast, the Koreans and Japanese are years ahead of us.

    How about the arms and munition maker for the rest of the world? And, the world”s policemen when the little wars get a little too hot? VIOLA!

    Far fetched? Aren’t we already doing that? Guns, planes, tanks for Israel, and troops on the ground in how many countries? Oh, silly me, Obama says “militaty advisers”. Didn’t we hear that from some place distant in our history. IKE, JFK, LBJ, and Reagan(his 200 dead marines in their beds in
    Beirut after his generals told him it was indefensible!). “We have a President who is too cautious….I agree with John and Lindsay and their Op-Ed that more action needs to be done…” Diane Feinstein, Dem Senator.

    Did you catch Obama’s public rationale for Bombing ISIS in Iraq? Said he had to protect the military advisers there. It was those military advisers he just put there a few days before, and CIA spies, to obtain bombing targets.
    Again, my friend, “not a dimes’ worth of difference” in the rhetoric. What! Is there an election in 60 days?

  3. Hmmmmm……..this post got me thinking about personal experiences. I have attempted to help people get jobs and am shocked (as a child of the 60’s) that so many of them don’t have a clue how to use 21st century technology. Next time you see someone using an electronic device to enter communication, note that most of them don’t even know the QWERT keyboard.

    Jobs today are so specialized that you have to be able to multi-task really good. And to be able to do that in a timely manner requires use of multiple techniques. I guiltily smirk when I see someone showing off their computer when I know they can only use the email and/or search-read functions. For example, they haven’t a clue what “updating” or “firewall” means.

    1. Really? And, our debt is what, $16T? And that is the difference between
      IKE and Obama. In 1954 we were a creditor nation, incomes were rising,
      and there was social ane economic upward mobility. Today, it is the in- verse. Where is the money and the will for “massive infrastructure jobs”?

      Have you seen the latest figure for Syria and Iraq? We have been spending $7.5M per day since about June 15 just in those two “countries”!
      Today, it was announced that Obama has sent 350 more “military advisers” to Iraq. Where’s the money?

      BurgerKing is moving to Canada, and what does your Democratic Senator say to do but boycott BurgerKing and buy from Wendy’s and White Castle. ROFL! Oops pardon me, but is that the best that can be done? Did any one notice that Wendys and WC are Ohio based companies?

      It seems to me that we need to put away our rose colored radical
      glasses and concentrate on meaningful reform. At the top, is debt reform

  4. …so we have money for Iraq, Syria, Greenland, but not enough for the USA? Money for jobs here? Money that will be funneled right back into the economy rather than being shuttered away in a bank in Luxembourg?

  5. Yep…Aint that a bitch

    So, “whats the matter with Kansas?” Yep, the Kansas Republican Sec of State says the Dem candidate for the U.S. Senate cannot withdraw his name from the general election….The Dem did so to throw the election against incumbent Sen Roberts to the Independent candidate, because in the 3 way race Roberts was winning with 32%. The Independent would caucus with the Dems and thereby keep Dems in control of the Senate in 2015….Ahhh, yes, the plans of mice and men!

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