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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

More On Open Education

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This is how I think education should be structured in the future and my case for open education.

In it’s simplest form, Keep Up is merely a collection of philosophies on educating people. At it’s most complicated I hope it becomes a way for communities to take back control of their educational systems.

Core Ideas of The Keep Up Philosophy.

1. Learning and teaching should be organic

Basically this philosophy states that all learning should be done in a manner which is comfortable to the student. People who want to learn should not all be lumped together and expected to learn the same things, at the same time, and all in the same way. People are different and respond to different stimuli.

I believe that younger people (under 10 years old) should be taught the basics, reading, writing, and math are integral as it’s fairly difficult to learn anything else without at least a basic understanding of how to write, read and calculate simple numbers.

I think after someone has an understanding of how to read, write, and do math, they should be able to think critically and learn things without very much supervision.

2.  Learning Should Not Be Graded

I know it’s a stupid idea. We are a VERY competitive culture, the most common thing you hear is “how will my child's education help them compete in the job market?” Nobody seems to give a shit about helping anybody anymore or contributing to society. People are taught from childhood that the most important thing they need to do is compete, and it all starts with school and grading. I think it’s bullshit let me tell you why.

In the REAL world no one EVER gets graded on what they learn. They either make use of their knowledge or don’t, and failures don’t simply mean repeat and try again. They mean you have to seriously look at what you were doing, where you made the mistake, fix it and in the process you learn how to avoid making the mistake again.

Also collaboration is not considered cheating in the real world. If someone else has the answer there’s no need for them to hoard it to themselves as it’s oftentimes much more productive to share what you know with others. To let them “cheat” off your work so they can work on a part of the problem their more interested in. Schools create an atmosphere that leads children to think that ideas are valuable products to be sold and kept secret. Basically their being taught fuck the world get yours and get out. This does not a productive class of citizens make.

The biggest downfall to grading children however is it makes them feel like their to blame for failing something their not remotely interested in. It makes them feel like their responsible for the shortcomings of the educational system they have no real control over. And that leads to dropping out, falling down a spiral of failure you can’t escape, and ending up feeling depressed because you think it’s your fault for not understanding.

3. Communities Need to Take The Power Back

The final philosophy is this. Communities both large and small need to stop relying on the government or private interests to educate us. We have all the resources, and capabilities to put education in the hands of the people who are most qualified to teach, those who love to do it.

I feel like people who are already professionals in their fields and already blogging, writing tutorials and making videos should be the teachers of the future. I think they’re the most qualified. They’re already working and have made and learnt from their mistakes. So they should be the ones explaining what's useful and not useful to know if your interested in a particular field.

I think that parents should be more aware of the materials on the internet they can use in order to help their children explore their interests, and I think teachers should  have better resources to find up-to-date relevant information on the subjects their teaching. 

Overall I believe we now have a freedom we’ve never had before, a freedom to educate ourselves, where we previously had to rely on books and school for information we can now download it to a device of our choice and have it read to us by a text to speech converter.  Instead of having to show up to school everyday responsible children can show up when they want to, and have their class streamed to them live at home or record and watch it later when the don’t or can’t make it to class.

This is most important philosophy of keep up. As it is this philosophy that “sticks” the rest of the ideas together. This is the idea that allows people to achieve their goals at a rapid fire rate. We need support, we need love, we need education and we need to work together. Beyond that anything is possible.


  1. Any technology can't replace teachers ! Everything can be learned through internet is true for mature adults, but it lacks real human relationship. We all had the experience of loving some subjects because of we liked the teachers.
    The capability of self-management and being self-directed are not the normal case for general students before college, especially ... do they really know what to learn for their future ?
    Educators are the important designers for the learning process. A life-long learning teacher is what we need in the classroom. Yes, if he blogs or publishes online, that definitely contributes to sharing and learning among teachers and students.

  2. Technology won't replace teachers, but professionals will. I agree that one need to learn how to read and do basic math before they can really start to learn anything, but once those two goals are achieved there is no point in forcing children to learn things like history, advanced mathematics, or any of the other things they teach you in a structured learning environment. No one needs to be that well rounded, people are gifted in different ways and should take advantage of those goals and not let people tell them that they need to be more like others i.e. well rounded, that they need to learn history, or about Shakespeare or anything they're not interested in. Teachers don't encourage this, they encourage students to pass their subjects and nothing more because if they fail they teacher fails, no one learns anything and everyone feels like a loser. Professionals who can dedicate even an hour or a day to making internet-distributed media can contribute it to a larger pool, which in turn goes into a larger one and so on and so forth. All people need is a common place to go and find this information because as it stands now it's too dispersed. Once that's achieved there will be no reason for anyone to have to go to school and get good grades when they can just go ahead and learn everything on their own. It's how 90% of web designers and developers learned what they know.

    I'd also like to address the fact that your being an ageist, I could give you ton's of examples but I'll stick to an easy one most people already know. As a teenager Mark Zuckerberg was offer $1 Million by Microsoft to sell his MP3 software, which he turned down and then made free he then became what? A programmer amongst other things. You can hardly call a teenager a mature adult and you can't say any teacher taught him how to code Facebook. This is just one example I could give you tons more stories of people who are not 'mature adults' being highly intelligent off the top off my head. It's enough to write a book for sure. What your showing is the ignorance of those in the current education system to what children are capable of. Most people who do what they love are doing something they started and were talented at when they were yes, they do know what to learn for their future, because when you love something you dedicate all the time your awake to learning it and understanding it, be it music or math it will become your future no matter what because you will either do it or die trying, unless you give up and live a depressing compromised life.