Archive for May, 2013

The Centrality of Learning – I

May 16, 2013

Human beings are animals. As biological creatures, we are bipedal primates that wander from one location to another and engage with our environment by walking, running and other forms of active exploration. As living beings of flesh and blood, we are mobile, embodied creatures.

Education, for the most part, tries to take us away from our fleshy heritage. Learning brings forth images of classroom and textbooks, of environments where we are forced to set aside our animal nature.

I think that image is about to change. Recent technological developments are taking us back to our bodies. The experience of using Google is more like navigation than browsing a dictionary ever was. As  computing technology becomes more mobile, more multimedia driven, we will see education becoming less about the classroom and more about being in the world. At the same time, we will also move towards a culture where learning permeates everyday life instead of being secreted away in schools and colleges. 

The posts in this sequence are a series of reflections on the future of learning.


Jobs for the boys

May 14, 2013

When I look at the state of education in India, it brings tears to my eyes. We have one of the youngest populations in the world, but most of us are either illiterate or poorly educated. Really, when I think about it, most Indians have only one skill: moving stuff from one location to another location about 20 feet away, 20 kilos at a time. 

The good news and the bad news is that people’s expectations are rising; we will no longer be content doing what we are told. These aspirations cannot be met by creating armies of security guards and drivers; we need higher skilled jobs, or we will face violence and social dissatisfaction at a scale India hasn’t seen before. 


May 13, 2013

After a seven year break, I am going to be in the Boston for a while, for a sabbatical.  


Praja Factory

May 1, 2013

While we teach children physics and poetry, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that the goal of education is to create citizens who will create a just and flourishing society. For that, not only do we need to teach subjects such as mathematics, we need to teach the art of citizenship itself. I have been working for a few months on a citizenship learning platform called Praja Factory, whose goal is to teach us how to be citizens in the full sense of that term. The site is still in its infancy, but I would love it if:

  1. You give me feedback and/or suggest new topics for the site. 
  2. Register.
  3. Ask and answer questions.
  4. Better if you have an hour or so a week to volunteer and contribute.
  5. Even Better if you are working in a school or a community and want to get children in the school or community involved in this project.