Last summer I intended to publish a series of articles on American education, which I presumed had something to do with training young people to participate in futurework. I was on a roll, but only two of several articles had been published when the series was interrupted by the KDE site makeover. In the ensuing months damage control on the KDE site has been unable to resurrect my old posts, while the subject of educational technical innovation began popping up everywhere. And so I left my remaining words, links and research to die.
My intentions were revived after reading the December 19 edition of KDE, wherein educational innovation was being considered. I was frustrated by what I read, not because I disagree with innovation in principle, but because the decision makers, and the manner of their discussion, seemed to be, well, old.
(For those who previously consumed the futurework series, there is suggested herein a hint of plagiarism. And while that's true, I am plagiarizing myself, which I *think* is still acceptable.)
The concept of futurework sticks in my brain like an ear worm, it's the filter by which I view a spectacle of our foundering economy. Our nation, and an astonishing list of nation-competitors, are bound to technology as flesh is to blood, and much maligned US competitiveness depends on how a scarcity of revenue is invested. Because current, sputtering economics rewards only those at the top of an income pyramid (who invest and leave their taxes extra-nationally, thanks very much), I suggest that the 99% should *insist* on revenue redirection, not for charity, but for self-preservation. And the first re-direct, IMHO, is education funding.
Thomas Friedman suggested (several years ago, when gas was around $2/gal) that the US should impose real, significant gas taxes. He suggested that all revenues be pushed directly to education (without exposure to the *general fund*) both encouraging less dependence on combusting dinosaurs and promoting long-term US economic success.
Mr. Friedman didn't intend to fund a temporary gadgets solution or school militias. He, and I, think that teachers should achieve pay parity with, say, doctors, or attorneys, et al. By attracting the best and brightest a competitive advantage might be maintained. Once we have highly educated, motivated, science-believing, literate, well paid young people *creating the future* (as opposed to being subjects of a ruling class) other problems will be more likely to self-heal (like national stupidity).
I'll presume that most teachers aren't improving their technique just to keep a job, but rather they attempt to equip students with life and career skills (whatever a career is in 2013+). However, and even in the light of information enlightenment, many kids are still forced to suffer inconsistent, boring, pedantic, general purpose chalkboard lectures. While it's true that a teaching career has and may still span a lifetime, it's now also true that a traditional teacher's view of what *really* works must be overhauled and updated, particularly when change is forced by technology. Methods must evolve with the times and the times are a'changin'... *really fast.
Next up: More on Futurework...