Thursday, May 15, 2014

Rifkin's new book continued

Continuing from this post.

Chapter 7 on education is eye-opening. It is being transformed from the authoritarian top-down model where the teacher has all the answers to collaborative learning experiences with teachers as facilitators. Critical and holistic thinking are encouraged over memorization. Previously learning was thought of as a private, autonomous experience where the knowledge was one's exclusive property, and that one had to hoard it to compete with others for grades and jobs, just as in the capitalist paradigm. In the collaborative era knowledge is something to be shared in a community of peers, thereby creating a public good for all.

Virtual, online classrooms are currently supplementing brick-and-mortar and may eventually replace them. Pedagogy is also having students provide services in their local communities, as well as engage in environmental projects. Again this encourages moving education from a private affair into seeing how one empathically relates to others, their communities and the world at large. Such online classes also cost considerably less than attending universities, sometimes even free, thereby making an education available to a much larger portion of society. One of the primary requisites for a functioning democracy is an educated, informed and active public, and this new model is 'paving the way'* toward that end.

*As an aside, that is more than a metaphor. In OOO terms, this model is actually creating infrastructural educational pathways which enact an entirely different worldview. And again, it is not a regressive worldview due to the advanced technological and educational infrastructure being used, thereby creating a progressively better and more integrative view.

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