Education has been on my mind the last year or so. On one hand we have this public push to devalue all college education for not being some kind of magic bullet leading to getting a job in a down economy. While I agree student loans and college prices have gotten out of hand, I think to devalue education and knowledge for not having enough immediate monetary “ROI” is something we will come to regret as a society. On the other hand we have knowledge for the sake of knowledge – completing something for the sake of having done so – these things have merit to individuals and to the world we live in.
I’ve given a few presentations to universities and high schools on using social media in the classroom and in the organizational structure of the school itself, but those presentations largely focused on the mechanics of “school” and “tactics”. It is my opinion that we need to move beyond the institutional thinking and institutional process to really ride this sea change in education. While most are focused on the process, people in their infinite thirst to learn are building a new global process for eternal, immersive, self directed, multi-faceted learning and knowledge that will leave the traditional school system far behind.
Take a look at Twitter, for example. This super simple service has been making its way into the classroom a little at a time since 2007. Twitter has a long history of varied use at the administrative and classroom level (here are 60 quick examples out of thousands), and still makes headlines each time a new school like Wise High School finds a new way to adopt the service. Twitter makes learning accessible in a school environment, and is part of the overall change in the face of education itself. Access to knowledge in your pocket can break the institution of “school” out of the concrete, rigid shell it lives in and turn it into organic knowledge that students yearn for.
Everyone wants to learn something. It’s human nature, this quest to know. Some folks want to learn a new language (the BBC is one of many places offering free immersion language courses), some want to know more about Snooki’s life beyond the Jersey Shore sitcom and some want to learn how to fix a car or quantum physics, but we all yearn for more information and deeper understanding of something beyond ourselves. Innovative schools like MIT, with it’s new free online education program, are beginning to deliver a future that takes knowledge and sets it apart from “school”, putting us in control of what and how we learn, and what quality of learning it is.
Even our search tools are starting to cater to this quest for knowledge – for good, vetted knowledge. Take a look at MentorMob (“Learn what you want, teach what you love”), for example – bringing you knowledge from around the web that is then sorted by trusted sources and people who have demonstrated topical savvy. Will it work? That’s not clear yet, but it definitely stands as one result of this new thirst to know everything, anywhere.
My takeaways from obsessing about education are several:
1) Education will become multi-media (and richly cross platform, moving fluidly from PC to phone to tablet to augmented reality and more not yet imagined)
2) Education will become portable (leaving the rigid institutional “school” structure far behind)
3) Education will become free (eventually)
4) Education will become completely student driven (gone are the days of the rigid, semi-applicable “core curriculum” concept)
5) Education will have two clear and more divergent paths: immediate ROI (job training, trade training) or life enhancing (broad knowledge based)
6) Teachers will become more like mentors or knowledge sherpas than the current system of educational drones chained to the ideas of a school district far removed from the needs of its students
7) Education becomes game-ified
Just think, education is going to be changing so much that the days when you can plug in to the Matrix and learn like Neo are nearly here. Are you as excited as I am for where this is going and how we can teach and learn from each other?
What did I miss? What other cool things are being cooked up in education that aren’t mentioned here? How did I do on my predictions? What are yours?
Updated to add this video from RSA, a unique look at the education system:
We have some great surprises for our attendees this year and the first one came yesterday. By popular demand, we have decided to make Podcamp this year ONE DAY. This means a day packed with learning, and evening gathering of like minds, Sunday to explore the area on your own, and the chance for a great weekend for everyone. Since this leaves many the opportunity to explore on Sunday, we thought we could let you know a few places in the area.
The school The New Hampton School itself is secluded. Not on a busy road, it has a campus that offers everything that a private school can. We have use of the cafeteria, where the meals are delicious and you have a wide selection of food to choose from during lunch and snack times. We also have access to the athletic field where we plan to play Quidditch. There is also access to a library for impromtu one on one or small group sessions (“jellies”). The grounds of the school also have a beautiful pond to sit by and reflect or work. Since this is a PodCamp and the Law of Two feet applies, if you find that there is a time where you need to just sit and work, there are many places to do so.
To get an idea how far from Boston we are: last year PodCamp NH was in Portsmouth (1 hour north on I-95 to Exit 7). This year PodCamp NH is in New Hampton (1 hour and 15 minutes north on I-93 to Exit 23) – only a stone throw farther.
If you find that you have to travel Friday and Sunday there are plenty of places to eat and explore before the PodCamp begins and after it ends on Sunday. Remember to reserve your Saturday night for our after party, however, as it is an intimate chance to really meet each other. There will be more information about this as the event nears. The cute town of Ashland and it’s Main Street of Shops and Restaurants are a short drive from the School – one exit up to Exit 24. The Comfort Inn Hotel is at the same exit. The (original) Common Man, Bullwinkles Bar and Grill are two great Restaurants at this exit. We understand that there is always something going on in New Hampshire and this weekend is no different which is why places to stay may be few and far between.
If you are the outdoorsy type there are hiking trails and campgrounds, places to fish, tree top tours all within a few more exits. There is a Water park, Safari rides and even a train ride through the mountains. There are places to camp nearby complete with cabins, swimming pools, and even playgrounds for the family.
There is also our give away to all of our attendees: gift cards to the Tilton Outlets, so you can go shopping while in the area.
So join us for the entire weekend including a packed and exciting day of great learning and fun at Podcamp NH!
PodCamps were created as the unique unconference which allows all of the attendees to be session leaders. This makes PodCamp NH the place to Seek, Share, and Succeed. With a wide variety of sessions from Blogging to Photography there is something for everyone to learn.
Seek. Whether you are searching for new projects, creative ideas, collaborators, smart new business practices or just a different avenue to take your business, you can learn it at PodCamp. Maybe you are looking for a new project or a motivation to start a project that has been on your mind. Maybe you would like to learn a new skill. Maybe you would just like to seek out new connections.
PodCamps have always been a sharing community. We share communication; we share our knowledge. Everyone contributes.
In the end after a weekend at PodCamp you will feel that you have succeeded at something. It could be the idea or a project that you wanted to create. Maybe it was a new skill you wanted to learn. It could be that you wanted to return home with no business cards left.
I found a great strength in the PodCamps I have attended. I learned a lot. I have been motivated to write blogs. I learned how to make a web show. I learned better Photography. I met hundreds of people. And that is just the beginning to why I attend podcamps.
But I want you to be motivated to learn something new, meet new people, and have a fun weekend.
I want, WE want you to Seek, Share, and Succeed.
PodCamp NH is designed to foster learning, teaching and to strengthen the bonds of the NH community. We’re taking over the dorms at New Hampton School this year. Not just because it’s cool (it is) but because we know that being around creative, smart, savvy, fun people for longer than just 8 hours at a time is going to foster bonds that last far beyond the weekend. We won’t be a bit surprised to see new startups, new film or music projects, new teams, new collaborations and new friendships forming in this PodCamp NH 2010 incubator.
Are you ready? At the end of PodCamp NH we’ll be a better NH, and a better us.
At our disposal:
A theater, smart classrooms with projectors, dorms, full cafeteria with amazing restaurant quality food, music, a master classroom fully integrated with audio and video, a computer lab, a library, a lounge, parking, tennis courts, soccer fields, and so much more.
Who should come:
If you miss college, if you wanted to go to college and couldn’t, if you love to learn or teach, if you have a film or music project you’ve been waiting to do, if you want to make an app, if you want to be a better educator, marketer, government rep or more – this is the weekend to make it happen.