Problems facing the Syncverse in Education

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Problem 1: My stuff is really good – please go ahead and use it (but frankly your stuff sucks so I am not using it) or “Not invented here Syndrome”.

I’ve battled this problem for years. In my book “Transitional Services” I talk about the creation of a Document Lifecycle Management or DLM system that allows IP to move within an organization in a timely fashion and removes IP quickly that is no longer relevant. It however does not address this huge issue of “Not invented here.” For a long time I was one of the people advocating the not invented here syndrome. I built a lot of one off solutions to problems because I could easily produce what I needed. But it wasn’t repeatable or for that matter effective. I’ve learned to embrace the evil that is templates and process because, that is the best solution to any problem. If you know where you started and you know where you are supposed to end up, it is much harder to get lost.

Answer to problem 1: Consistency

If we all start from the same place and improve on the same base then your stuff may be better than mine, but it started in the same place and we are both leveraging the same source. I can easily adopt your improvement because, its better.

Problem 2: We have to test this

It has become the mantra of education – we have to be able to test what we are teaching. The problem is that some children fail tests. So you teach children to take the test. But that doesn’t solve the initial need which is teaching children to think.

I’ve taught a number of adult classes since leaving Elementary Education. I have found similar problems regardless of where I am teaching that have over the years caused me to wonder about the process we use to teach people.

1. Expert Syndrome (you are the expert you tell me what to think)

2. Expert idiot Syndrome (you are an expert? I know more than you do therefore everything you say is wrong)

3. Leader (where the class comes together as a group to follow the leader, which sadly isn’t always the speaker see numbers 1 and 2)

However the governments of various countries have expectations around what is the minimum expectation for a child age x academically. Meeting these expectations requires a system driven to producing test taking students.

Problem 2 solution: Consistency again!

Again with the students starting from the same place they will hopefully be moving along the same continuum consistently. There will always be some variance but they will be close. This allows the system to test for variance and success at the same time.

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Radical Change, The Education for All Proposal (draft)

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The Education for All “plan/proposal”

Vision:
A solution designed to create a common educational repository with the intent of building and developing a worldwide education system where all students in the world start from the same basic knowledge set and to accomplish this using the Syncverse in less than 5 years from 2011.

Scope:

· Leveraging the Syncverse

· Free for Educators world wide

· Consumable from any platform including:

o MP3

o Netbook

o Browser

o PC application

o Mobile Phone Application

o Kiosk

The information teachers need to be successful exists today. The issues of information overload and inability to get to the information is an overall problem. The Syncverse solution in the Educational for All plan involves the following:

1. All material in the Education for All Syncverse is available to all members

2. All teachers and those in education can consume the Syncverse materials

Sadly today the first one may in fact be the hardest to do. Most people throughout the world have access to some form of technology they can leverage for the Education for All Syncverse, and those who don’t a cheap and easily provided Kiosk can give them the access. The problem is of course the nature of who owns the remaining, required information.

Later in this chapter we will talk about the physical and logical configuration of the technologies we will need to build this solution but for this initial introduction we need to talk about the politics of why we don’t share.

I’ve been in and out of the IP business for most of the past 20 years. I’ve helped customers consider where their information was, and where it needed to be. I’ve worked with internal teams where I work helping to improve the ability of our various professionals to build and deliver solutions that both relied and built upon information that we had internally.

During that time I have published a number of articles. I’ve helped build three different architecture certification programs and I’ve always come back to IP/IC as the root of the solution and the cause of the problem.

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The Syncverse and education, round 5

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The Education for All “plan/proposal”

Vision:
A solution designed to create a common educational repository with the intent of building and developing a worldwide education system where all students in the world start from the same basic knowledge set and to accomplish this using the Syncverse in less than 5 years from 2011.

Scope:

· Leveraging the Syncverse

· Free for Educators world wide

· Consumable from any platform including:

o MP3

o Netbook

o Browser

o PC application

o Mobile Phone Application

o Kiosk

The information teachers need to be successful exists today. The issues of information overload and inability to get to the information is an overall problem. The Syncverse solution in the Educational for All plan involves the following:

1. All material in the Education for All Syncverse is available to all members

2. All teachers and those in education can consume the Syncverse materials

Sadly today the first one may in fact be the hardest to do. Most people throughout the world have access to some form of technology they can leverage for the Education for All Syncverse, and those who don’t a cheap and easily provided Kiosk can give them the access. The problem is of course the nature of who owns the remaining, required information.

Later in this chapter we will talk about the physical and logical configuration of the technologies we will need to build this solution but for this initial introduction we need to talk about the politics of why we don’t share.

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The Syncverse and Education Continued…

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Freedom of Information:

A teacher friend of mine once asked me, “what am I responsible for?” The question resonated with many of the other teachers in the room and later when posted into the old DTS-L forum online it resonated there as well. What are teachers responsible for? The natural answer is providing students with the required information so that the student can pass any national test required to move on in school. But is that the right answer?

I don’t think in fact it is. Teachers are guides on the path to knowledge (the slogan of the Society of Dead Teachers was “Kindle the Flame of knowledge” the operative words there being kindle (but light would have worked) and flame. A flame is much more than a spark. In fact the journal the DTS published many years ago was called “Kindle the Flame.” So based on my feelings/thoughts and experiences teachers are responsible for:

1. Learning Environment

2. Mores and Ethics

3. Questioning skills

4. Thinking Skills

As parents we hate the 3rd one (why? Because, why? Because I told you so) but it is a critical skill. The ability for a child to assimilate information, make that information relevant to what they believe and produce a “view” of the information is an important skill that all children should have. My personal believe is that you teach questioning skills for two reasons, the first is the ability for children to understand and place information. The second is to develop the thinking skills that children require to succeed in life. Memorization is an interesting skill but it doesn’t help or promote anything other than the ability to regurgitate information presented previously. Thinking allows us to move up the ladder and synthesize information (make it our own).

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The Syncverse and education continued

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But free information is a risk for many governments. The fear is of course that someone will get a technical or weapons advantage from information. While I agree that there are certain components that must be released carefully, eventually the very freedom of information may be of a greater benefit than holding back information.

1. The information we wish to share would not be of a nature that would provide an advantage to any one nation. Instead the information would simply level the playing field and provide the world with many more people capable of helping move us forward.

2. The security of the solution would be more than required for the information that is in the system.

3. The goal is not to “divulge secrets” rather it is to build a system that allows children to receive a fair and equal education.

Note: All of this said there is of course one fatal flaw in this program. A bad teacher is a bad teacher, and frankly that is a problem throughout the world that would have to be dealt with. The value proposition for schools and countries is that good teachers with good materials can produce even better results. However this side bar only holds relevance if there is no information released. A bad teacher with access to good information and lessons can become an average teacher.

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The Syncverse and Education

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Information Unification

There are a couple of concepts floating around right now – one world and their laptop program is an interesting idea, but what we can do in the cloud is even more intriguing. The value proposition for education with the Syncverse is huge. The Society of Dead Teachers was founded on the concept of “Kindle the flame of knowledge.” The equality of knowledge allows us to create a system that would support the sharing of information worldwide. Creating a Megaverse[1] of educational materials that would allow for all children around the world to have the same baseline for education. It’s not, as Tom told me more than 25 years ago what they think about – it’s how they think.

So how do we get there?

The first is a question of sharing. Today there are a number of fine solutions and systems that have been built/discovered/improved around helping students be successful in school. But they are silos today.

1. Break the silos

The second part is one of cooperation. Sharing is great (throw your stuff into the Syncverse and hope someone else finds it to be useful). But the reality is sharing is best done in a collaboration manner, for the value proposition to be greatest for the educational systems of the world there needs to be a collaboration infrastructure over the top of the Syncverse where people share their date.

2. A system of collaboration

Last but not least and in fact is probably the hardest to accomplish is a universal or structured goals that are similar across all the different countries and school systems. Universal education requires that we are all starting on the same page so that what is delivered allows for local variance, but establishes the highest level structure as the starting point.

3. Common educational goals worldwide

1-3 allows for a common unified presentation of information, goals and a place for educators to talk about what they need from a local or global perspective.


[1] Megaverse, the combination of one or more Syncverse solutions into a single unified information structure

The Syncverse and education

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Teach, Educate, Inform

How could you stop the rain from falling on a specific location in Montana? I was in an interview as an observer when someone asked that question. I have to say I was baffled, not that the person asked the question, rather how would you go about figuring out how to do something like that.

Then I realized it wasn’t a solution question it was a problem question. You ask problem questions when you are seeking a view into the thinking processes of the person you are speaking with. You ask solution questions when you want them to solve a problem. It got me thinking about the concepts of education.

I haven’t thought much about teaching since I moved from education into the computer and IT professions. Not that I do not miss teaching, I do, which is why it is best not to look back. But I was suddenly thrown by that question back to the classroom of a dear friend of mine who used to write those types of questions on the blackboard. Tom would say “I want to know how they think.” “Not” he would say “what they think about.” He was looking for the mechanics of thinking not the outcome. Why?

The problem we have is that we all have different backgrounds. There are different starting points and things we have to consider as we move forward in our thinking. Tom like many teachers struggled daily with the difference (between the top and lowest kids in the class) because the information they had was so vastly different.

Information Unification

There are a couple of concepts floating around right now – one world and their laptop program is an interesting idea, but what we can do in the cloud is even more intriguing. The value proposition for education with the Syncverse is huge. The Society of Dead Teachers was founded on the concept of “Kindle the flame of knowledge.” The equality of knowledge allows us to create a system that would support the sharing of information worldwide. Creating a Megaverse[1] of educational materials that would allow for all children around the world to have the same baseline for education. It’s not, as Tom told me more than 25 years ago what they think about – it’s how they think.

So how do we get there?


[1] Megaverse, the combination of one or more Syncverse solutions into a single unified information structure