Monday, February 6, 2017

A City In The Cloud

I have just find out that Microsoft is developing a system within its cloud to help city agencies to help their constituents. For an interactive demonstrations click here. These city agencies in general can be about education, health, transportation, utilities, safety, and in general anything that could have an impact on the life and well being of a city.

We are at this moment in our history going through dramatic and critical changes, maybe that is how it has been all along, but what is important is that this is our time, this is the moment that we can do something about it. There is nothing we can do about the past as the past is unchangeable, or the future as it is ahead of us. But we can make a future now based on what we do now, and that is in fact what we do all the time. Regardless of knowing how we are affecting the future, or the fact that we might no be intentional about some of the effects we are having in the future, we are modeling the future with our present actions. These ideas are of course redundant in some way but I wanted to be clear of how regardless of our actions we are affecting the future.

With this in mind let's think about education. We can't continue doing the same things in the same way as we have done for many-many years. But as we think about changes we must also think about what can't and will not change. "Human Nature" will never change, as long as we are humans we will have basic needs, and fundamental values that define us as humans. Values like freedom, justice, and respect for life are inherent in all cultures around the world. Even though the definition of these will in some respect depend on cultural context and connotation. Say freedom, in some cultures women ware costumes that cover them almost from head to toe, even though it appears that they are forced to do it, the cultural value insist that the reason behind that apparel is to free the women from male desire, or something like that.

Anyways, coming back to the idea of changing the way we do things related to education. It is clear that technology has induced a lot of changes, from the use of information that it is available online in many cases for free, to the hardware use in classroom and in online courses. So we have to stop, step back one step and evaluate what we are doing and how we are doing it. It seems to me that in most cases we are using these technologies reactive in response to the technological innovation and not proactively with a particular design, purposely with specific goals in mind, goals that have to be clearly assessed and evaluated.

The question I'm posting now relates to this intentional, proactive design of change in our education system. What are the processes that we need to define content in order to prioritize our goals?  

1 comment:

Emily Amner said...

I agree with you when you say we are not using technology within education "proactively with a particular design" ... for example, yes, online homework, quizes, group discussions, and exams are easier for a professor to grade, but this is indeed more of a response to the educators running short on time and energy-- its easier. But what are their students real life affects to doing online quizes and online readings/homework? did the teacher craft any of the assignments or tests? or did they merely purchase it from a company. does it help students learn? or do they rush to get it done, and perhaps would have spent more time absorbing material if they had to show up and turn something in on paper... yes, maybe the cheating rate goes down with virtual education, but maybe the comprehension of material actually goes down? important questions for an important time.