Not long time ago I wrote a post about a real learning revolution. I decided to elaborated it now a bit in light of Sir Ken Robinson’s latest TED talk Bring on the learning revolution!, even though, I actually agree with what Stephen Downes already said about the talk.
Anyway. Here is my advice for local and national decision makers to do the “learning revolution”, caused by the digital revolution. I am sure my “reforms” would payoff, exactly the way learning does: educated people are able to provide higher output, economically and culturally.
Invest on public neighborhood libraries with (1) wide collection of different kind of reading materials (books, newspapers, magazines, electronic materials) and (2) public access to Internet: Wi-Fi and laptops. Do a marketing campaign about the libraries. Let people to know about the services of the libraries.
Guarantee universal (for all) high quality basic education: literacy, math, arts, music, civics, culture. Make sure you will have highly educated and motivated teachers, and seamless access to internet, Wi-Fi and laptops (in every classroom and in every space). Support the schools to have continues effort to develop their operations; pedagogy, school culture, workplace. Request all schools to publish their mission, vision and curriculum in their website and to have a blog with weekly updates about their work.
I think Universities are the liver of the society. Make sure that they will function. Research and higher education is there to renew things that should be renewed and protecting things that should be kept.
Guarantee that all the citizens will have inexpensive access (cheap and free) to Internet, network computers (mini laptops) and mobile phones. Make sure that there is competition that will work for the benefits of the consumer. The markets work only when there is true competition.
Media, Journalism and Free Speech
Guarantee public broadcasting media services (radio, TV, online) that are, as independent as possible, from the markets and the politics. Do not limit the public media to news. Politics, civics, culture, arts and music in a widest possible meaning — including cotemporary and independent pop culture — should be the core of the offering. A strong public media will help the commercial media to renew itself to meet the future challenges. This way the public media is a bit like a liver of the media field (compare to the Universities).
Invest on free and reliable online reference and other educational content, like Open Educational Resources, Wikipedia and Wikimedia. Bring the content of museums and archives online (Wikimedia may help museums in this effort).
Support peer-to-peer online learning and teaching communities. The open education movement is fast moving to the direction where people are self-organizing themselves to learn together online. The P2PU is a good example of this. People learning new things is almost always good thing. Still, to avoid people to do “home chemistry”, it might be a good idea to provide people something a bit more “guided”.
Support community colleges and open universities online and on campus. In addition to the online learning we also need the “traditional” community colleges. Still, one should help (and force) the community colleges to go online. In Finland, Otavan Opisto is a good example of a college that is strongly online (and on campus).
A long wish list? It is and it will cost a lot of money. A good thing is that it is not a risk investment. The economist know that these things have a high return of investment. It is true that to get the return for the investment may take some time — 10, 50 or 100 years — but it will come.