Tag Archives: education

Cyborg Nation

cyborg

For some time, the focus of education has been squarely on collecting the skills required to obtain a job. I think that this lacks vision and is dismally underserving society. How can we expect our education system to be effective, when that system cannot agree on what the purpose is?

Yes, it is important for students to have core skills. It makes sense to have a focus on STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and math). Especially, when that is where we predict the greatest growth potential for future jobs exists. We do want students to get and retain quality jobs. But, I would argue that if the purpose of education is only to get a job, then we end up with members of society who settle for the standard set for them.

What is the true purpose of education?

This has changed over time.

It is my opinion that education is a civic duty.

We need societal members who challenge the status quo, who think critically about our world’s problems, and are equipped to solve them. Not people who can just work a job.

Every person in an institution ought to be well versed in ethics and their individual responsibility. Each should question what they are told and understand the implications of the choices they make. If the purpose of education were only to get a job, it would seem that all that society wants us to be is cyborgs. Human, but just robotic enough to not cause trouble. But, trouble (something that instigates change) is what we need! We need people who are willing to challenge the way that things are in an effort to make them better for
everyone.

Because the way that things are isn’t sustainable!

Education develops individuals into contributing members of society who are equipped with the tools necessary to make life better for themselves and others. Ultimately, those who are educated can give back.

Educated individuals should give back through payment of taxes, contributing to lawmaking and the legislative processes, and returning to the education system as teachers, and as mentors to those newly entering the work force. This is how societies progress… But, it can happen outside of the institution(s).

While jobs are a necessary component of this process – without which the process fails – acquisition of the job is not the end of one’s line.

We learn… We grow… We progress… We give back.

This ought to be considered in the pedagogical and andragogical models of education.

To those who have received, it is your duty to society to give back.

This passing on of knowledge to future generations is what will cause us to progress forward or fall behind as a society. It is each of our responsibilities to learn as much as we can, so that we are well equipped to give back.

What do you think?
Tell me in the comment section below.

Taking Charge of YOUR Education!

As Students of Metropolitan State University, we share a common interest in our educational goals. MnSCU (Minnesota State Colleges & Universities) is the State organization which assesses and allocates funds to each Minnesota college and university. They also oversee the policy and operations of the public four-year and two-year higher education institutions in Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 7.46.53 AMThe good news is that as students we have advocates working on our behalf to encourage policy makers – at both the state and federal level – to improve legislation and funds allocations to benefit students and lower the costs of attendance and associated living expenses. This advocacy influences the operations of MnSCU; therefore, each individual institution of higher learning; and subsequently you!

Students attending one of the twenty-four public two-year colleges in Minnesota are represented by MSCSA – the Minnesota State College Student Association.

At the four-year public Universities in Minnesota, students are represented by MSUSA – the Minnesota State University Student Association.

Both of these groups are non-profits who by law are entitled to collect a fee from all students to fund their advocacy work. MSCSA collects $0.35 per credit hour. MSUSA collects $0.43 per credit hour.

These fees are automatically calculated into our costs of attendance paid to the school. Therefore, it is critical that we utilize the resources that we are paying for.

Now, I know as students we typically hate paying for anything additional that we can imagine doing without. These fees are worth every penny! They are directly related to the tuition freeze that we currently have in Minnesota. As an alumnus of MSCSA, I can speak to the hard work and dedicated effort with which numerous students volunteer and the time and dedication the staff apply to train students in leadership and advocacy. I worked first hand as the elected platform representative of the seven colleges in North Western Minnesota to develop a platform for the association which represented the views and needs of that demographic.

Only you can ensure that you are represented well.

Each college and university sends delegates from each institution through their student government organization, to represent their school. Here at Metro State, we are represented by a diverse group of students who should be working to represent you. You have the right to attend the public meetings and speak to your student representatives about the issues that are important to you and your experience as a student at Metro.

I encourage you to do so!

Here is how:
You can contact Metro State’s Student Senate Here.
You can also find out when to attend Student Senate meetings Here.

 

What do you think?
Tell me in the comment section below.

Changing Education Paradigms

Sir Ken Robinson is a phenomenal speaker, who is hilarious and insightful in turns. His lectures focus on the challenges faced by public education systems worldwide. During one of his many talks at TED conferences, he made great points about how our current educational systems diligently work to “education people out of their creative capacities” and therefore kills innovation and artistic thoughts/actions.

One video in particular, titled “Changing Education Paradigms”, was so profound that it changed how I think about the public education my children (and I, as a university student) receive.

Sir Ken Robinson’s comments about “children living in the most intensely stimulating period in the history of the Earth” and being “beseeched with information and calls for their attention from all directions” while “we are penalizing them for getting distracted from the boring stuff” we teach them in school truly resonated with me. As citizens of a wealthy and intellectually advanced nation, I often wonder why we are not seeking and demanding more innovative means to educate our children (and ourselves as lifelong learners.)

To bring higher education into the 21st century, I think we need a cultural paradigm shift to change the way we structure our educational institutions, the manner in which we deliver information and more importantly, our attitudes and ingrained thoughts about what it means to be an educated person. I am curious why we focus education on reading, writing, and arithmetic and not incorporating visual arts, dance, drama, music?

Practically speaking, some education needs to be separate from professional work. Students need to learn basic skills (reading, writing, math, science, critical thinking) to allow them a foundation to build future skills upon. However, I believe “education” should come from a COMBINATION of a variety of sources, which may include traditional classroom experiences, courses through engagement with community and civic organizations, on-the-job skills acquired through employment, as well as more abstract skills for learning through life lessons. As a student in my 30’s, I feel better prepared to apply newly acquired information (from any source) that I did in my early 20’s – and that mainly comes from the education and maturity gained through life experiences.

I invite you to watch the 11 minute video by Robinson in partnership with RSA Animate and then ponder the below questions.

As adults, and society as a whole, should we value an education separate from professional work?

What should we do to bring education into 21st century?

What do you think about the following quote by Robinson in his video How School Kill Creativity“?

“Kids will take a chance. If they don’t know, they will have a go. They’re not frightened of being wrong. Now I’m not saying that being wrong is the same as being creative; but what we do know is, if you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original. By the time they get to be adults most kids have lost that capacity and they have become frightened of being wrong. … We are now running our national education systems where mistakes are the worst thing you can make. As a result we are educating people out of their creative capacities.”  (5:27-6:32).