EDUCATIONAL SUBSYSTEM FOR FUTURE HUMANITY

Draft  11/22/2012  nuet

HUMANKIND TO HUMANITY

Humankind is the name given to the human species as it evolved/emerged from its primate substrate; a recent happening of relatively short duration in our biosphere’s evolutionary history.  Humankind and its emergent processes are unique in many ways. The co-emergence of brain/adaptive-body and the development/learning of individuals within their emerging social systems is the focus of this report.

Humanity is the name given to the future humankind when globally sustainable/resilient and in balance with Gaia. In metaphor, humankind remains embryonic and the emergence of humanity is a birthing process.  The unique nature of the humankind/Gaia interaction threatens the success of the birth of humanity, if not setting a low initial condition for the birth – a stunted humanity far below its genetic potentials.

Those evolved traits that led to the success of tribal humankind and increases in population became a problem for organizing many tribes/communities of diverse cultures into a society.  Not adequately comprehending “human nature”, the default mode of societal organization is what we today call “civilization”; characterized by a small power elite and technical bureaucracies to manage suppressed masses. Civilizations succeed civilizations, as all they have for stability is the default mode.

Only recently does the collective, distributed knowledge of humankind enable the creation of systems alternative to civilization, where communities of vastly diverse cultures can organize in non-oppressive societal systems (humanity).  This potential for humanity is not predispositional in our collective genotype; but must emerge in the human collective phenotype via an integration of human learning and human organizing. It is vital that this distributed knowledge be organized to enable humankind to create a nu educational system sufficient for the needs of humankind to successfully emerge humanity.

This is a fully feasible enterprise, although to many it may appear as magical thinking. Planning BIG may actually be more feasible than planning small fragments; once we sweep away the fog of unquestioned assumptions. A complex of paradigm shifts may be easier to achieve than attempting only one paradigm shift while keeping other (inconsistent) paradigms.  The potential viability of the whole proposal can only be judged after comprehending the details with an open mind.

We must be open to the emergence of nu organizations to replace old organizations instead of locking into only transformation of old to new. Human judgement as to what may be more viable, transformation or emergence, is highly unreliable when we are dependent on what is.

  • I use “new” to refer to the novel in the Here&Now in reference to what was.  I use “nu” to refer to the novel in the Here&Now in reference to what might be.

LIMITATIONS OF EDUCATION

Learning is a natural process for humans and occurs without organizing; and there are native predispositions for humans to organize when in need. Humans slowly learn-to-learn and learn-to-organize and even may engage in limited organizing for this learning. But, historically the cycles quickly stagnate as intent shifts to control and limiting learning beyond the obvious and immediate needs of “society” or their elites.

A major inadequacy of civilization (in addition to its unintentional destruction of its biospheric base) is the severe suppression of the actualization of potentials present in most healthy newborn humans. This includes members of the elite and the bureaucracies.

  • Even the most humanistic and positive futures thinkers envision most people having only a “basic education” for full employment and healthy, stable lifestyles; and even this limited vision is viewed as both difficult and taking many decades to achieve.

 

  • All scenarios (I know of) for humankind navigating Climate Change ignore the need to get knowledgeable and voluntary participation by most of the global human population. This lack implies an intended manipulation of the masses by the elites for their scenarios, which may not succeed.

 

  • “What if our very best is grossly inadequate to our need?”  Educational systems are rated only by comparison; there is no evaluation as to need. For the already educated to honestly critique our best would risk discrediting their credentialed expertise. Awareness of the gap between what-we-have and what-we-need can motive humankind to sufficient action.

 

If the modern human brain is the most complex material system (for information processing) in the known universe, and brains interacting-over-time is even more complex, then an intentional effort to seaf (support, enable, augment, facilitate) the emergence of needed competencies in sysnets of brains must be the most challenging enterprise faced by humankind. Yet, the old cliche still holds: “He who can, does; he who can’t, teaches.”  “Education” remains one of the most trivialized human enterprises, even when it is given explicit attention as exemplified by the naive proposals to reform education.

  • The “technology of education” may be most “advanced” by the elites of civilizations in manipulating the attitudes and behaviors of the masses.

 

  • Contemporary “educational technology” usually refers to how traditional educational systems and practices adapt to the new computer/communication technologies. The limiting metaphors of school, rigid curricula, classes, classrooms, instructors & students remain influential, even in experimental online education. These features of education are there for the effective and efficient management of educational institutions and are quite adverse to effective seafing of learning. Ignoring the high relevance of individual differences re learning is a necessity for top-down managed education to be financially viable. Educators in their formal education are led also to ignore the relevance of individual differences.

 

  • Although there are now (and have been) serious efforts to improve the learning of humans, each focuses on only a few variables of “education”. Nowhere is the full scope and complexity of “education” attended to. Pure bottom-up, P2P learning blocks the effective use of organizing-for-learning in creating a quality education for all that faces the real needs of humankind.

 

ORGANIZING-FOR-LEARNING=&=LEARNING-FOR-ORGANIZING  [O4L&L4O]  {icon needed}

 

  • In homage to Donald Michael’s seminal book, On Learning to Plan and Planning to Learn, I have re-defined “education” as Organizing for Learning and Learning for Organizing.
  • The emergent cycles of O4L and L4O are vital. Each cycle is experimental, and many cycles interweave. Transformation and emergence co-exist.  An organization may be viewed as temporary scaffolding within which humans freely interact and learn – and the successes/non-successes evaluated and applied in the design of the next generation of organization scaffolding.  It is by learning about how our scaffolding seafs learning that we L4O.  We might use the metaphors of scripting and performing (to scripts) where the scripts may call for a mix of precise performance and creative innovation. Scripts for scripting are important.
  • The organizations called for are much more than “schools”.  Our media, our social networking, our work places, our play; all our real environments can contain scaffolding for learning, and the creation and modification of these result from our learning within them.
  • All environments for the raising of children are essential scaffolding for their development and learning.  The early years can both open and close potentials and determine the range of paths open upon maturity.  All this must attend to the vast individual differences of each person, which calls for scaffolding for continuous assessment of essential relevant variables throughout a persons life (with protections for privacy and security).
  • THE MANY FACES OF LEARNING

    For many, memorizing is all there is to learning.  At the other extreme are those who, with mentored practice, learn deep meditation, and “control” some of their physiological functions and conscious experiences. One might generalize “learning” to include most forms of change in a living being. The forms of change discussed below are not comprehensive and I don’t discuss here the interaction of the different forms of learning, which is very important.  There are also many different theories about learning and education, recently being enhanced by brain studies.

    ASSIMILATION & ACCOMMODATION.  Piaget distinguished assimilation from accommodation. In metaphor, assimilation involves adding new pieces of knowledge to a pre-existing knowledge structure without significantly altering that structure.  Accommodation involves modifying the knowledge structure, often followed by a rapid assimilation of knowledge pieces previously rejected by the old knowledge structure.  Equilibration is the name given by Piaget for the cycling of assimilation and accommodation during a child’s development. On examination, many teaching practices focus on assimilation with the hope that it will lead to gradual accommodations.  In lock-step education, those learners who don’t experience accommodations will experience more and more confusion as new pieces of knowledge presented are not assimilated. Slowly one learns to avoid environments which confuse and threaten.

        • For adult learning we use metaphors, frame or paradigm, as labels for our knowledge structure.  Most adults can go for long periods without any significant accommodation, being locked-into their frames or paradigms.  Sometimes percepts are not assimilated but still stored in memory. At times one’s unconscious may play with new larger organizations including both assimilated and not-assimilated knowledge pieces.  This can then lead to spontaneous insight experiences: Eureka, Ah-Ha, or Geisterblitz — massive accommodations.

     

        • These “flashes of insight” are abrupt changes in perspective: how one views the world and self. They can be small or large, trivial or significant. They often are experienced with a strong drive to share the insight with others. Often, however, the others remain locked-into the old frame and are not receptive.  If the negative environment is too strong a person can shift back to the old frame and their insight experience fades as a dream.  Research is needed in how to encourage insights and have them lead to behavioral and attitudinal changes – for different types of people in different situations. When an insight leads to a new perspective that is in conflict with existing behavior we have “cognitive dissonance”.  These “awakenings” are mistakenly called “paradigm shifts”.  Kuhn’s early definition of paradigm is a practice habit, a behavior. Research into cognitive dissonance shows that the resolution is usually for the new perspective to revert to the old, consistent with the habitual behavior.  Extra conditions are needed for an awakening or insight to lead to permanent behavior change.  Often the new behavior is only to preach/teach the new insight perspective to others; but not make the behavioral paradigm shift.  Also, most people have only one major insight and are unable to imagine having another of equal or greater significance. This is often due to social success around the new insight which attracts a web of supporters transforming the new perspective into dogma.  The learning advances we need call for systems of insights and paradigm shifts, many in sequence. Plato’s cave metaphor shift to a nested set of caves.

     

    ADULT STAGE DEVELOPMENT  [ASD]  Many educators would prefer not to call accommodation a type of learning. Some use the term “development” for sequences of accommodations (each involving more assimilation learning), but often limit it to child development. Yet, there is considerable research into what I call “adult stage development” which can involve a number of very significant shifts in ones frames or paradigm sets.  Unfortunately, adult stage development (ASD) is a marginal topic even among the educated and where attempted, facilitating stage changes is very difficult (in the venues tried).  Also, Adult Development in formal institutions is negatively linked to Remedial Education – where persons who missed stages in youth development, are assessed and assisted in developing learning-to-learn and learning-to-learn-to-learn competencies.  Many adults, young and old, have low levels of these meta-learning skills and there are few programs to assess them and provide educational service for their development/learning.  Educators now give lip service about the need for meta-learning and correctly say this learning objective should be in every course. But few teachers are prepared how to teach meta-learning and more research is needed .

      • Adult Stage Development has been researched by Robert Kegan, in Spiral Dynamics (by Graves, Beck, Cowan), and by others. Limited studies of population distribution in the different levels of ASD is disturbing.  The vast majority of persons are locked-into the lower levels, making them unable to participate in the forms of social behavior necessary for a viable humanity.  Cracking this form of learning may be our biggest challenge – but insufficient research and educational experimentation tells us little about potentials for success.  IMHO advancement in ASD requires a person be removed from social environments that block change in ASD and to live in new social environments that stimulate and nurture ASD changes.  These are the same requirements for persons making significant life-style changes – as will be needed when global humankind faces climate change seriously.

     

    PRECISION OF FIT  [POF]   When there is a “fit” between a person’s learning styles & competencies and their learning environment, leaning can be quality, rapid, and enjoyable. The poorer the “fit”, the poorer and slower the learning – to a point where a person’s learns to avoid future learning. Because of the vast individual differences of learners, each learner must be seafed in selecting their learning environments. This calls for a continuing assessment of every learner, where they are active participants in the analysis. NuEdu (what I will name our nu educational system) will include systems-of-teams designing assessment measures (including analysis of their work/study behavior) and assisting in their use. View this as a continuous census of the learning achievements and potentials of each learner.  This will facilitate matching learners into appropriate teams. R&D into discovering best “fits” between learners and learning environments will occur in real learning sessions.  You may recognize as an extension of the Montessori Method.

        • PRECISION WITH FLEXABILITY.  The viability of all living systems hangs on a phenomenal Precision-of-Fit coupled with flexibility and limited chaotic indeterminism. Exemplars of precision fit are neuro-transmitters and their receptors, the RNA-Protein language, the 3D nesting of folded proteins, the precise identification of offspring by parent by smell, the balance of human microbial symbionts with our own systems, the ease by which children learn language, etc. The flexibility around precision permits variation, evolution, and emergence.  This mix of precision and flexibility must be the “nature” of NuEdu.

     

    SEEDS SOILS SCAFFOLDING [SSS].  Today there is a great wealth of educational materials to serve the immediate needs of content learning. Printed and online text docs, video and audio programs and sequences, graphics and artwork are waiting to be woven into learning experiences that are relevant, effective, efficient, enjoyable, elegant (reeee). More and better content nodes can be composed, but we need more energy and talent weaving what exists into educational experiences for a diversity of learners at all levels. Yet, almost every concerned person desires to create one more seed to add to the pile; each expecting their seed to go viral. Seeds need fertile soils to sprout, and sprouts need nurturing scaffolding to grow to maturity. Very few are into creating soils and scaffolding – and most seeds don’t sprout and the few that do sprout quickly plateau in their emergence.

        • Although there are limits to the utility of lectures and other presentations, almost every conference or symposium on almost all topics have been either audio or video recorded for two decades. Hardly any of this is free and as far as I know there is no comprehensive index.

     

        • Ask everyone to easily cite the top 10 (or 100) most seminal resources for their development. Process and make available. Do for all major languages. Expand into designing a relevant and useful Personal Profile for NuEdu.

     

        • WHO ARE WE?  The Internet is an excellent medium for quality  psycho/social/educational research.  What variables re our individual differences  are relevant? Compose fun online questionnaires/auto-interviews to create a database for a Relevant Global Census.  Vary it for different populations, starting with populations willing to participate.

     

    LEARNING BY DOING.  Those not formally educated adequately frequently champion Learning-by-Doing. We have this competency hardwired as it is the main process in infancy, and is called into play when challenged. Although much can be learned by doing, as commonly used it is a grossly un-reeee process. In NuEdu the design of doing-tasks and doing-projects will be integrated with educational activities.  These can augment the learning directly involved in the doing; Or other information and and skills learning activities can be integrated even when not directly related to the primary doing activity.

        • An early example of this was “Programmed Learning”, where information related to future questions were embedded in the statement of the attended question. The problem with programmed learning was that it was a very boring experience for the learner.

     

        • This would involve learning to be more mindful of one’s activities. INNER LEARNING is as important as learning about our mutual worlds.

     

        • A/V recording of performance may provide useful feedback for modifying behavior to improve our DOINGS. This is already used in high performance professions such as athletics and surgery. Observing learners solving math problems is much more informative than checking their answers.

     

        • LEARNING IS DOING.   Most learning involves behavioral doings. All behavioral doing involve mind (even if unconscious). The war between doers and learners needs to end. Much so-called learning is useless and irrelevant. Much behavioral doing is also useless and irrelevant. Some of each is very significant. Both can be concurrent and integrate.

     

    LEARNERS FOR QUALITY EDUCATION [LQE].  Everyone in NuEdu becomes a learner/educator. While learning they are collectively responsible for everything happening and being created for maintaining and improving NuEdu.  Novice learners can assume functional roles in NuEdu; highly competent and dedicated “leaders” are also learners. This is NOT to turn contemporary students into educators/management in contemporary educational institutions. NuEdu will not result from the reform or transformation of our contemporary educational system; which will be replaced by NuEdu.  NuEdu will emerge via a mediated interaction/organization of persons; sometimes as “learners”, other times as “educators”.

        • I had the insight for LQE in 1978 and it has evolved/emerged since. At a presentation to a “Learning Paradigm Conference” in 1997 I critiqued contemporary education and proposed an alternative. https://docs.google.com/document/edit?id=1sob5O9d1aCA_8UrYfM_rnCG_JWoZuQq19GCRQg_BNvM .  Unfortunately, this presentation was not comprehended by those “at the frontiers” of new education – focused on learning.  There is a very strong resistance to “radical” changes in “education” by most educators, even those calling for specific reforms.  The educational paradigm remains as a service provided by educators for students, who are not part of the educational system (only publics served) and thus can not provide learner initiated cybernetic feedback for the improvement of education related to learner learning.  Only when all learners become contributing educators to the educational system we all use, will learner feedback become adequate to improve learning.

     

        • All contemporary  positive change activities (NuOrgs) have an educational component, even if it not explicit.  They want to 1) improve the competencies of their members, and 2) promote, educate, and recruit others to join their work. Both functions usually employ obsolete and ineffective educational theories and methods. Seymour Sarason studied the movement organizations in the 1960s and found that most were so active about their “cause” that they gave inadequate attention to their own individual/collective well being – including their learning. We have become so dependent on others to provide for our learning, while not believing they can provide the learning we need, that many have abandoned continued learning. In spit of the talk about “life-long-learning”, most people look at the sequence of  School-then-Work – even when they are told that they will need to change jobs every few years.

     

    IGNORANCE. Increasing our ignorance should become a primary objective of NuEdu. “IGNORANCE” is re-defined as a positive type of knowing: KNOWING WHAT I DON’T YET KNOW OR COMPREHEND, OR CAN’T YET DO OR APPRECIATE. Strategically gaining ignorance we learn about our potentials.  Although we can’t have detailed knowledge of all relevant domains (for Humanity), we can be competently ignorant of all such domains.

        • .Cite only knowledge that is relevant to your quest. Your article will have a strong forward perspective linking what you know to what you want to know.

     

        • The basic curriculum for all might be COMPREHENSIVE IGNORANCE. This might be the base for all to specialize in their knowledge domains of choice (which would be concurrent with ignorance expansion).
      • LEARNING EXPEDITIONS.  Expeditions, such as those led by Eddington or Shackleton involved considerable interaction of participants gathered from different places on the planet, eventually converging at a specific location with equipment, to live/work together 24 hours, day-by-day AS A COMMUNITY. During the expedition they functioned as integrated teams with their attention exclusively on the expedition (and their needs to continue participation).  I propose we need Learning Expeditions that fit this process, where the Expedition-in-Time involves temporary isolation to explore research/learning in new domains.
        • RESEARCH IS LEARNING. I find it interesting that doing research at universities is not learning until there is a publication from which others learn.  Some research can be routine and there is little significant learning by researchers. But other research involves The Mangle of Practice as described by Andrew Pickering, where the procedures,  instrumentation, and even objectives may change during the research involving very significant learning by the researcher.

     

    MORE. The above items sample only a few of many variables/domains related to learning and education. A brainstorm led to the following initial draft list of other items that could be added here.

    • Therapies. Physical Therapy. Training.  Team, Community & Institutional Learning. Learning in Altered States. Group Learning. Learning by Observing and Imitating (involving mirror neurons). Brainwashing and Indoctrination. Learning by Repeated Practice. Learning Through Inner Practices. Neuro -Linguistic-Programming. Holotropic Breathwork (Grof). Parent-Child Co-Learning. Conation. Life Style Changes. Organizational Learning. Learning Through Play, Gaming and Learning. Nature Teaches. Multi-Sensory Education.  One-to-One Mentoring. Infant Learning. Learning by Other Organisms. Instruction. Curricula. P2P Learning. Integral Learning.

     

Today there are many exciting experiments of alternative methods for learning and education.  These need to be added to this list. The relationship of the Educational Subsystem and all other subsystems must also be explored.

NuEdu and UPLIFT

  • NuEdu.  The number of relevant variables for a reeee, personal-to-global nu educational sysnet is large and growing. How might we manage and utilize such a challenging human enterprise?  Obviously, no single human individual is capable of making “top-level” decisions (whatever that means). A small team may not be adequate.  This issue, the true magnitude of our collective knowledge/intelligence, is present in all domains of relevance – not just “educational” (although “educational” is special as it impacts on all other domains).
  • PRACTICALITIES.  We need an “off-planet” perspective of the shallow to deep dynamics on Planet Earth. What are the alternative trend forecasts for our local-to-global nested societal systems and the trend forecasts for how social systems (from persons to nations) will adapt?  What also, are the full scope and complexity of the movements for change (revolutionary to emergent) and what are our best estimates of their interaction in years and decades ahead? These are our fundamental realities. Deeper details will be turbulent, blocking useful generalizations for how each “unit” (person to region) will change.A lesson may be learned from what I have heard happened in the USA Apollo program to send humans to the moon and safely back. NASA (in its early, formative days) divided the whole project into sub-projects and interfaces between sub-projects. Those working in each sub-project didn’t need to know any details about what was happening in the other sub-projects.  At their interfaces they were given parameters they needed to meet. It was the coordination of the interfaces that led to the success of the Apollo Program.
  • UPLIFT
    I use the term, uplift, to label the emergent process that changes the distribution of cognitive/emotive/performance competencies of the whole global population. I can argue that uplift can contain all other projects. For everything we want to do, we must learn what, why, and how we want to do it. We learn as we do, and improve our doing.
  • Example: for the interface between the launch propulsion system and the system supporting astronauts during launch all that would be needed was max Gs for launch for astronaut support team and max Gs humans could withstand for the launch team. The launch could involve big rubber bands or atomic bombs and astronaut suspension could involve water or foam.  As I’ve been told, this process was abandoned by NASA after the success of the Apollo mission.
  • Every organization has a structure that enables some processes and constrains or forbids other processes. This is very relevant for educational organization. Every contemporary educational organization enables a few variables in learning and limits progress in many more learning variables.  The true scope of education calls for nu innovation in organizing.
  •  According to Second Order Planning, we should plan to keep as many positive options open as possible; not to commit to any specific plan. This competency needs development, which will require learning.
                                                                            • I very deeply feel that NuEdu can be the central focus super-project within which all other projects will be functional within. Most today adhere to “Economics/Finance/Business/Work” as, what I call, an econo-centric bias. Our “solution” to economic+ issues can only be resolved by new learning and organizing, to be achieved via NuEdu.  Today we have the capability of assessing 1) the needs of each person, team, community and 2) material and competency resources to fill these needs. Processes (including “markets” and “programs”) can equilibrate both.  Needs and resources for change might be treated the same way.

     

                                                                              • Practicality is relative to domain/level of concern. Solving immediate problems is both “practical” and “not practical” depending on the perspective.  So called “abstractions” can be very concrete and capable of generating specific actions.

     

                                                                                • ALL actions involve rather small, specific groups of persons, whether they be developing a specific app or are designing NuEdu.

     

                                                                                    • I am developing a process whereby uplift can be catalyzed and maintained.  BUSSS (Bootstrap UPLIFT Scaffolding/Scenario/System) is the name for what I imagine could come to be on Planet Earth in the near future, a NuEdu for HumanitHere we are entering unexplored territory. I am not even ignorant of what computational systems can actually do, and not do. Our forecasts are frequently shown inaccurate. Using what we know about massive databases and the systems to work with them, we might get some handle on the potential organizations of real human mind/brains (with the diversity of vast individual differences) that can work with a REALITY of the scope and complexity of GAIA IN CRISIS (including the Crisis-of-Crises facing humankind).

     

1 comments
nuet
nuet

I have just (12/13/2012) re-read the above, just short of a month from initial posting and a full month from the first draft. Larry, the scribe and reader, acknowledges that he could not have consciously created this doc.  It was, as if, channeled from nuet, with edits also directed by nuet. And, nuet now detects many places that need amplification and reference. Larry must have some temporal distance from writing before he (Larry/nuet) is aware of this. I am pleased by the how concise many of my sentences are; but also recognize that the meaning activated in nuet by reading is dependent on nuet being the author. Although there are yet few readers of this doc in Nuets Nodes, having no feedback to date implies that either no one recognizes its significance or there actually are no readers yet in Nuets Nodes,  [I probably need to do an edit, add some links, and publish in YWorlds. @GD]

 

NuEdu cannot be adequately presented in a single document, and even a comprehensive web of docs with navigation guidance won't account for individual differences of those who attempt to study (beyond read) NuEdu.

 

STUDY, as I once taught my Intro Psy students, is a human process were we apply ALL our fundamental cognitive/emotive/performance competencies, integrated,  for intentional learning. STUDY may well be the most advanced of all human processes, and also the most difficult to acquire: LEARNING TO STUDY.  Compare this with the negative connotation used by most to "study": an unpleasant task required by educational authorities or a disagreeable task made necessary to overcome life's obstacles. Even those who actually enjoy study seldom use the term to describe their process.  Organizing-for-Learning may better be defined as Organizing-for-Study.

 

STUDY does no imply that every moment when studying a person is consciously aware that they are studying. Scaffolding for learning integrated into play can be a component in a study curriculum, but while in play the players need not be conscious that they are also learning.