An email to a friend
It good to catch up again last night at the Lancashire Construction Best Practice Club event; This was a really interesting meeting and after I mentioned Sugata Mitra’s new experiments in self-teaching. Here is the link to the TED Talk he gave last year. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dk60sYrU2RU
He has virtually proved that learning is an emergent property when small groups of students have access to information they can share.
I feel we are failing our learners if we do not lever the potential of social media and the internet to liberate the creativity all children possess and largely lose as they grow up with the educational model we have used since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution . Ken Robinson makes this point in probably the most watched TED Talk at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY
Alison’s ideas and work with her Classofyourown Project www.classofyourown.com is similarly inspirational and a vital tool in engaging children in the STEM subjects.
The problem, of course, as Alison has pointed out, is not with the children, it is with the Teachers and the industry, simply because they were not exposed to this concept of ‘emergent learning’ and the unlimited expectations of their mentors as they grew up.
In reality this educational model never served, but in this time of exponential change, where more children will be passing through education in the next fifty years than have ever done, we cannot create inspirational teachers fast enough to liberate the necessary creativity that will enable us to solve the problems presented in the One Planet World we now inhabit.
The other key issue of course is the necessity we have to reduce the resource and carbon intensity of the built environment by considerable amounts. We must liberate the creativity to do this by design, or resource availability at a price we can afford to pay as a society, will do it for us.
In all this a key point is being missed and this is the need to maintain and generate the ‘tacit’ skills our society requires as my generation passes from the scene. These are not created by this ‘Mitra’ process, powerful and vital though it is. Initiatives like Classofyourown are key to liberating these tacit skills as well.
These thoughts apply to all sectors of society of course not just construction, but the built environment does consume 50% of our resources.
Attached are two articles that were in the Professional Engineers’ Handbook in 2005 and 2006. There is no point in my being unduly modest at this critical time and I feel they are both prescient and could have been written last week.
The third article attached is from the May 2008 edition of the CIBSE Journal and addresses the other key issue, our need to understand, as an industry the concept that the sustainability journey is just one of continual improvement towards perfect quality.
Sustainability and the Energy Gap sustainability-and-the-energy-gap2005
Building Towards the Future Sustainability, Building Towards the Future 2006
The Double-headed Coin Double Headed Coin – unformatted – BS