Douglas Crets


Giving Credibility to the Shadow Education System

The Future is Smaller Than We Realize, and Getting Bigger

Matthew Mahoney runs this pretty great site called Daily Endeavor. DV is attempting to explain every job on earth. Go to the site and read the “Learn More” tag. Basically, every decision to start a new career starts with a basic question; something like “what do you want to do with you life?” A job is a way of fulfilling a mission in your life. So, it better be a good decision. But often, we don’t have all the right information to make a great decision for a great career. Let’s be honest, we go with hunches. We remember what we learned in school, and then we base our decision on what the education system tells us about our skill set.

What if you could make a decision about a job as if you already worked there? What if forty yards of corporate mahogany table disappeared, and you were sitting at the bar with the portfolio manager?

Inside a job, decisions are made socially

People who have been locked out of the right network, the right group of friends, and the right tone to their pitch, are going to have a massive new chance to get the goods that can get them the job.

Matthew wrote a noteworthy blog post yesterday about the future recruiting system. In the post, he mentions that I have already said the future education system is already in place.

As much as we say education is different from the corporate world, it is the same in that while it is involved in the shaping of the world outside of its system, it thinks that the world it is teaching its user to work in looks just like it does. Michael Horn has said this before in Disrupting Class.

It may be one teacher in front of the class, but there are thousands of teachers

Which is kind of ironic, isn’t it? Since education is social. And social media and social interaction usually opens us up to new and different things.

Education is the combining of ideas, the participation in discussion, the thinking of small groups, and a focused conversation and examination of real world issues.

But where education is completely absent in our world is in the real life performance of business, social work, and problem solving that allows the people in the system to participate in the world.  Its management system is not social, and it forbids the active examination of the world as it is, in real time.

No media. No real use of social networks. No active use of smart tools like mobile phones or tablet devices. Those are largely seen as distractions. If I could, I’d like to create THE media engine for education, to take the outside and bring it in, and to deliver the inside to the outside. Crossing the streams, so to speak.

Teachers, the largest number of employees in the education system, are basically left out of an active engagement in the world, and they do not have as many opportunities as they would like to share their experiences with anyone outside of school. They may want to experiment, but as permanent insiders in what is largely an insiders only game, they have either been trained to think that there should be no innovation, or they are thwarted on political, legal and budgetary levels to not even attempt it. In a sense, they maintain the closed system.

Except for where they are not doing this.

And where they are attempting it is startling. Outside of  the formal education system. In blogs, many on the sidebar of this blog, teachers and lifelong educators with a knack for tech, are reaching around the education system and learning, teaching, conversing like they cannot really do in school. School is now global.

I work for Anthony Kim as a marketing coordinator and social media manager.

Kim is putting together Ed Elements. I’ll let him describe what that does:

Education Elements was founded in 2010 in conjunction with a project to design and open a new model for a hybrid charter school by Fall 2010.  We worked with several organizations which support education reform including foundations, think tanks, and charter management organizations, to come up with an innovative implementation which pushed the envelope on how technology and computer-assisted instruction is integrated in day-to-day instruction.

With the kick-off of this project and the industry’s enthusiasm to support alternative school models to solve for the challenges facing schools today, we formed Education Elements.  Education Elements is aptly named to rethink the fundamental components of the school and the instruction students receive.  We are looking beyond a computer for every child or a computer lab with online content, but making changes to how the school, classroom, daily instruction, and at home learning is defined.  As we navigate this path, Education Elements will adapt and modify our models for hybrid learning.  Our website is designed to reflect the changes and improvements we recognize along the way.

The future is smaller than we think, but also much bigger. With the right devices, some focused system management, and the use of the tools that many now feel are a distraction, education will undergo a massive sea change. Some people call it a tipping point, to borrow a Gladwellian phrase. Others say we are at an inflection point. Still others say it much more simply.


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