E-learning and Digital Culture

This blog is part of a MOOC I am taking on Coursera.

måndag 1 december 2014

Education at the heart of humanity - #edcmooc

In the modern age people have put a lot of energy into enhancement of themselves as humans. Merely existing is not enough and has not been enough for quite a while. Every day of our lives many of spend endless amounts of energy trying perfect ourselves by buying better clothes, nicer things, going to exotic places, exercising our bodies, changing our bodies through plastic surgery... We are trying to reach some unattainable idea of of 'good enough' - but shouldn't just being be good enough? When did the human project become so time-consuming?

Even this course now, even this activity of writing this blog post... my goal is to achieve something. And by achieving something I would grow, better myself and come a small step closer to that perfect version of myself. For me education is central to how I see myself, but what's the value of traditional education in our world and in the future world? What's the value of knowing anything when all the knowledge of the world is available everywhere and anywhere? Being a transmitter of human knowledge has become next to meaningless in a world where machines store and distribute every piece of knowledge that ever existed.

But what is knowledge then? Does modern technology change the concept of what knowledge is? Is there knowledge that a machine can't have? How does it feel when a loved one betrays you? Is that knowledge? Is knowledge general or personal? And how do we value education as it is today? Apparently, in the future an education will have less value, but be more important. By that I mean that more people will have access to education, which in turn will mean that competition will be fiercer. And education won't be something you do to prepare yourself for a career, it will be a natural part of your ongoing career - something you have to do to keep up with the fast changes of technology.

The humanist project's ambition is to reach equality, which is something that we are far from achieving, and I believe it's even less likely to happen in a world where more and more jobs require an academic education. The future job market that will grow fastest is most likely the digital one and this will also, most likely, exclude a large group of people. Even with ambitious efforts like the MOOCs, where the thought is to make education more democratic, the near future seems even more challenging than the present for those who are not fully connected to the digital world or academia of the actual world. Is technology changing the world so rapidly that it has become impossible for us to include those who are straddling behind? I hope not. Or rather, there's always hope.

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