Future Trends and Efforts in Education

I’m tabling the discrete-event simulation framework effort for today to provide a list of materials concerning the ongoing changes in the field of education. I compiled this list in order to share it with a few individuals over the past couple of months.

Many of the items are of interest to me because they involve automation and the universal and ongoing trend of continual improvements to providing the best resources at the best cost and with the highest degrees of personalization and feedback. As always, the point is not automation for automation’s sake, but to provide increasing value to people everywhere so they can develop and leverage their human potential to the greatest possible degree. Activities should be automated where that is the best use of resources, and human guidance and feedback should be employed where it adds the greatest value. Society can, should, and will continue to explore this process from all possible angles, even against resistance from some quarters.

Here is the list, without further comment:

In college I wrote an interactive (supposedly) artificial intelligence-based system to train student how to solve certain classes of engineering problems. This has inspired me to remain continually aware of developments in the fields of both AI and electronic / automated education systems since I did this work in 1983 and 1984. A longer description of the work is here.

Dr. Sugata Mitra’s Hole-In-The-Wall Project
His famous TED talk is here.
Mitra’s work illustrates that kids largely don’t need the overhead associated with traditional schooling.

Pauline Dixon has done a bunch of research on small, private schools all over the world, including in the poorest slums where conventional wisdom says such things cannot exist and cannot function effectively. Check her book.
An interesting interview is here.

James Tooley did similar work and has produced this moving book in the same vein.

John Taylor Gatto is a former New York State Teacher of the Year, largely denounced by the State of New York and right-thinking educators everywhere. Gatto eviscerates traditional public education (especially in New York City, but really everywhere). I especially recommend his books, Weapons of Mass Instruction and The Underground History of American Education. One of the things he emphasizes is getting students involved doing active things in the community rather than just sitting around passively soaking up information.

Praxis is an on-the-job apprenticeship program meant to replace traditional college education.
An interview with founder Zachary Slayback is here. Note the link to a book by him and several education-related links from the Tom Woods site.
T.K. Coleman is also associated with this effort.
A local (to D.C.) version of this is here.

From the Department of the Obvious:
Khan Academy
See also this, which is germane to any type of remote instruction and not just the Khan Academy. Also look into the concept of gamification in conjunction with these elements.

If I had kids I would be using (parts of) the Ron Paul Curriculum. The model is interesting and involves having the children teach themselves to the greatest degree possible from a fairly young age. That said, I would almost certainly get my science courses elsewhere, or handle them myself.

There are many online sources of training in every imaginable field. I have used a little bit of stuff at Code Academy but I love Udemy.com.
A friend of mine did well with The Learning Tree, which in many cases has the virtue of getting students together with other people as an aid to feedback and concentration.

Universities are putting all kinds of stuff online:
Carnegie Mellon
The elite schools and the big state schools will survive (possibly at lower cost). The third rate schools with fourth rate instructors are toast.

There are more dedicated (and expensive) models out there. For example, I got my Six Sigma training and certification through Villanova Online. This program includes discussion forums, online multiple choice tests, a proctored project, and weekly online lectures by the proctor — a little bit of everything.

This seems like more of the same, but I have no experience with it: Udacity

There are also a bunch of coding bootcamps out there, though their effectiveness is increasingly being called into question.

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