Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Teacher Training

[ first posted to Synergeo #39693 ]

So the idea is to run these like summer camps and/or inservice trainings for teachers wanting to have the right stuff, based on both state of the art standards and popular stereotypes.

Thanks to Hackerteen and such, kids expect induction into the mysteries of the Internet rather early, so if you're not talking IP numbers in grade school (nothing to do with intellectual property -- namespace collision), that might mean you're in one of those pre-21st century institutions (more like prison -- do they block Youtube even for teachers? a telling sign).

The private sector, somewhat in competition with the military, is hungry for students who actually know something about how the world works, information not liberally shared in most workaday schools, where the old management philosophy was to train 'em for factory jobs or other rank and file occupations, with college not the default (those were called prep schools). Of course nowadays everyone expects college, but with high tuition that's still not really normative.

Per today's blog post, we in the Silicon Forest (there's that we again), are chomping at the bit to revamp the K-12 experience such that it's more up to date as to the mix of skills it teaches, even as we stick to many classical topics, such as trig, some calc, stats, and metrology (the art of measuring). Geography ties it all together on some level, in that we always start with the spheroidal planet, zoom in on applications of interest. Google Earth plays a big role, other KH-derived services.

What teachers get selected for such training? I'm thinking the military will try to set up a pipeline for some of its own teacher-trainers, but this won't preclude collaboration at the federal level, as there's tax money involved either way and traditionally the private sector is allowed to synergize (make a profit) by field testing and/or guinea pigging in that area. However, I'm thinking the military mission will become more like what NGOs already tackle daily, in terms of disasters, with the violence quotient far lower, given its inappropriateness as a reflex (earlier / recent threads). That's why as a Quaker I'm not so bent out of shape about all the cold war baggage we're inheriting as next generation Fuller Schoolers. Cold war means psychological, and we Quakers don't preach against so-called "inward weapons" only outward, i.e. jihad, in its less uncoordinated (awkward) sense, is ok, has many parallels even in Buddhism.

The military and civilian spheres have long overlapped in medicine, where the job of physicians is to tend to wounds, however inflicted (in whatever theater). The direct relevance of open source engineering principles (a form of design science -- plus we've already had more than a decade of it), to healing the wounded, doing medical things, is just starting to become obvious. The old legal system, which had no concept of "legally free" (as in "criminal to be selfish with"), had less to offer good doctors than the spanking new legal system of today, which owes a lot to the engineering community.

Greater Portland, hailed by Christian Science Monitor as an open source capital, is well positioned to pioneer in this area between biochemistry, electrical engineering, genetic science, and front lines medicine. We're not that dependent on the traditional military economy, which is mostly a junk recycling business these days. That frees us to think outside of that box, and we're doing it. The education system is adapting pretty quickly I'd say. Looking forward to the Bucky play in October. Stay tuned.