Wednesday, March 20, 2013

CS Education Empowerment

I make it a point to tell everyone that has ears and is interested in the education of young people that they must understand that the public education system in America is not really about "education"... it is about "employment". The experience and methodology of being a student is affected by this reality profoundly. From the unions that guard employee interests, to the established goals that deliver diplomas aimed at qualifying a students prospects as an employee... public education is an employment system.

How should you process this information if you are a parent, or a student, or even a teacher looking to make an educational impact with skills you possess to inspire young minds? Well, it starts by realizing that in order to gain access to the critical skills and ideas required for self-produced success in this world, Individuals need to seek beyond the confines of the traditional classroom. A philosophical shift is required to understand self-empowerment. Standardized testing environments do not operate with the goal of creating excellence expressed on an Individualized basis... instead, they aspire to raise the average. In school, the average is the context of achievement. In real life, this thinking will harm the quality of your life, and the progress of Society.

Computer science education is really suffering in American schools. School boards often fight to keep CS out of schools so that more important and germane topics get prioritized. I know, I am in schools every week adding opportunity where it does not exist. We use "making games" as the enticement to catch the interest of young people, and our classes are filled to capacity. Along with the subject matter of learning to code, I also wrap entrepreneurship education into the mix, giving students a context for the work they are engaged in both as a class and Individually. Entrepreneurship being another topic that is absurdly missing from our public school agenda. Consider this in the context of this commercial, now roughly 33 years old:

This idea is further driven home by this exceptional story detailing the experiences of Vietnamese students in learning about CS by Neil Fraser.

In it, he further demonstrates an app example, very similar to the tool I have been using to engage 6 year old students in the process of learning how to code.

Public education in America has an indictment pending against itself; reform is desperately needed. As one of the people who believes he was mis-serviced by our current system, and its credentialing manifesto, only to be rescued by out-of-the-box entrepreneurial leaders who introduced me to tools and ideas that allowed me to define my own educational process, I am motivated to bring this perspective back into the system that is in need of being reformed by this message.

At kidOYO, we teach kids how to "own your own" education. Our approach places CS and technology generally as the infrastructure of learning that a child engages in. By mixing entrepreneurial education with this self-possessed creative tool set, we ready each child for a future wherein education is a continuing process, not a credentialed outcome, and the goal is self-empowerment, not systemic edification.

There are many paths to reform, and many tools will help with this process. Whether they bear names such as Mooc, or personal clouds, at the end of the day, this reform is about control and the meaning of participation. Students are not cogs in a machine, they are self-directed leaders, and teachers need to start facilitating the process of creativity that is so desperately lacking from their current job descriptions and systemic methodologies.

Otherwise, the disturbing trend of kids going to school for day care until they come home to learn will continue, and accelerate. And that will have a devastating effect on the integrity of our Society.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Robotic Cloud Engine

Zhenerbee Farms believes in the power of robotic technology. Our now 8 year old farmer has been learning about, building and programming robotic systems for a couple of years now. Moving processing powers to the cloud is an effective way to keep local costs down in our search for knowledge and capabilities over robotic systems.

It is important to remember however, especially in this naive stage that our technical Society exists within, that Human integrity can be destroyed by robotic systems and artificial intelligence. As educators, parents and mentors, there is an important piece of knowledge that is a precursor to robotic system intelligence.

As a direct counter-balance to the below, consider a personal cloud infrastructure that espouses and enables a Human sovereign identity structure and local personal control over the data assets that robotic systems may often be built in servitude of. Teaching young people about private ownership over personal data is becoming a critical piece of intelligence in the construction of Society. Indeed, it is going to be a distinguishing factor between the "Have's" and the "Have Not's" of the next century.

As a leader, you can not wait for teachers, political leaders or corporate leaders to distill this knowledge and pass it forward. Opportunity does not work like that. Advanced understanding must be sought, fought for even. When you discover crumbs, seek the source that they come from. "Sovereign Identity", "personal clouds", "vrm" are such crumbs. Whether you seek to understand and gain personal control over medical data, education data, consumer data, or any other social or economic context of data production, the structure of your data-driven life is going to affect the results you get from living in a robot-enabled world.

Zhenerbee Farms Ledger