“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” ― Nelson Mandela
We are in the dawn of a new era. No longer is the attainment of knowledge out of the reach of any determined person. We have a society that has reached the point of global education, and anyone who has a computer and a connection to the internet can learn virtually anything. We can learn our entire K-12 education though Khan Academy, we can learn to cook nearly any recipe through dozens of top cooking sites, we can learn to write code, learn to create websites, learn nearly any life or business skill, all online. The vast sea of knowledge that is at the fingertips of everyone would be considered a dream just 50 years ago.
Another resource that most of us in first world countries have is miniature computers called cell phones. The power of a cell phone that has an internet connection is astonishing. And the fact of the matter is, these little gadgets are often overlooked. Just inside of our pockets, we have the sum total off all human intelligence assembled into one spot. We all have access to a resource so large that it would put the Library of Alexandria to shame. But what do a lot of people use them for? Playing games and looking at pictures of puppies and kittens.It is unbelievable how easily overlooked what it is that we actually have. If knowledge truly is power, then we all have unlimited power at our fingertips.
With our rapid advance of technology, we are about to extend beyond the level of education that is currently offered in many parts throughout the world. Any man, woman, or child that wants to learn has just as much as an opportunity to learn as anyone else. All we have to do it provide them the resources to do so.
How Education is Changing
Education is changing throughout the world. A shift has begun to transform the normal of public education into a global system of intellectual equality. We are integrating technology with traditional learning, and just as we can take college courses online, we will eventually be able to integrate all learning online. Khan Academy must be commended for their work. They are pioneering education for the world by teaching most of the subjects that one could typically only learn through public and private education.
The standardized education system that we still use today was manufactured during the industrial era in order to have people fill roles that are no longer needed. We trained humans to be machines and to go through a system that is beginning to crumble around us. No longer is what we are learning in K-12 completely relevant to the real world. The basics must always be taught, everyone should know math, science, and English, but that is no longer enough for a person to succeed.
We need to teach people how to think, not to absorb. It is time that we are all taught life skills rather than school skills. Let’s educate our children on the ins and outs of starting a business and the steps of managing your finances. Let’s educate everyone on how to be creative and to imagine the life that they want for themselves. We need to push creative capacity and link the practical with the possible.
The Importance of Global Education
We cannot simply just change how people learn, we need to revolutionize who learns. Education needs to be taken global and in a way that provides an equal opportunity to each and every person on this planet. Whether you want to learn about physics, languages, how to start a business, how to code or how to play the guitar, everyone deserves and equal opportunity to learn.
Education is the single largest change that we can give someone. Properly educated, the sheer amount of people on our planet would revolutionize every industry, create technologies that we can only dream of, and stimulate an atmosphere of growth. The progression of human evolution can be measured through the intellectual growth of our species, and by allowing everyone on our planet an opportunity to learn and to achieve, we would be creating a massive shift towards a sustainable world.
Learning as a Child
To really help ensure the shift towards global education becomes a reality, we need to begin with educating all children. There are two reasons why this is so important: curiosity and capacity. Children are the most curious creatures on the planet, and they stop at no bounds as they learn. Have you ever observed a toddler? They touch everything, taste everything, smell everything. I know that when I was a child, I was constantly trying to eat everything that came my way. Why? This behavior is instinctive in all humans. We want to learn!
Children also have the capacity to be able to soak up and retain large amounts of information. The earlier a child begins to learn and experience, the sooner they will begin to retain and file away all of the information into their heads. This is why the younger generations always seem more intelligent, they always seem to “get it.” The idea that any generation is more intelligent or more connected than the last one is simply a reflection of the technology that has been developed. Give a child a computer and they will be coding within a week. Give a grandparent a computer and most will have a difficult time turning it on.
This quick adaptation is a result of a child’s brains ability to learn so quickly. With all of the technology that we employ, children are being raised in a world that was considered science fiction two generations ago. The act of learning is also a skill, and just as any other skill, it can be developed and honed into a powerful tool. Teach someone how to learn quickly and efficiently, and they will be able to replicate that success over a lifetime. Young minds adapt, and they adapt fast. As children are our future, we must treat them with the utmost care.
The Problem with College
As our children get older, they become prepared to tackle one of life’s largest hurdles: college. College has long been considered the pinnacle of education. It is where we all get to choose what it is we want to learn and do for the rest of our lives. However the issue with this environment is that most teenagers who begin college have absolutely no clue what it is they want to do with the rest of their lives. And as the number of college grads who are unemployed or working in a different field than their major continues to grow, it shows that a lot of students who graduate still don’t know what they want to do even after they have invested $100,000 and 4 years of their life.
College needs to be restructured as an environment for growth. The purpose of a institute of higher education is to allow its attendees to discover who they are, and be able to chase their dreams. For myself, college was a very routine experience until my last year. That is when I finally realized college for what it was, an experience. College no longer was this placeholder in my life for attaining the information that I thought I needed to know. College was a place for me to develop myself and to learn who I really was. That alone is worth any price tag.
Moving forward, universities should restructure what they teach their students to apply more practical life skills and personal development courses. Most of my peers had no idea what they wanted to do with their lives, and today I know many of them are still uncertain with what they are going to do. If we could teach creativity, social skills, business skills, and a whole variety of practical subjects focused on the experience of college rather than the specific information, many students who graduate would have a much higher sense of their purpose and passions in life.
Creativity as Education
Creativity as a form of education is very often overlooked. If we are all to find our passions in life, it will be from our own creativity. A mathematician is just as creative as a designer, we all just create what we enjoy in our own ways. In primary and secondary education, we currently teach the basic subjects of math, science and languages. These are all more heavily taught compared to the arts and humanities. But if we allow everyone to be creative and express ourselves however our minds best work, then we will see far more success stories and far fewer dropouts.
Some people are scientists, some are writers. Some are also actors, dancers, painters, singers, the list could go on. We each hold inside of us our own unique skill set and natural talents, and we need to devise a system that allows us to express our own talents in the best way possible. There is no point it telling a nurse to edit an editorial, just as there is little value in having a painter do financial projections.
Education Applied in Business and Practical Issues
After we have inspired our future generations to be creative and expressive, we then teach them how to apply that creativity to their lives. This is where we can mix business education with the creativity capacity of billions. The future of global commerce will not be large corporations supplying jobs to the world, but people like you and me who supply ourselves with our own jobs. Just as we can teach people how to learn math or how to write, we can teach them how to be successful in business.
To apply ourselves in business, we need to look at the why and the how. This is what took me so long to discover with my own life. I knew the why but never seemed to figure out the how. My own why is for the sustainability of our planet and the education of the world. But how? That took me a very long time. 22 years to be exact. The how is through business and through discovering my own passions in life, then applying them in ways that are going to benefit not only others but myself as well. It is very important that we all are able to provide for ourselves and support ourselves. This the key step in building million upon millions of micro businesses all over the world ran by people who are passionate about what it is they do.
The thing is, we can teach everyone how to do this. We first educate everyone on the core subjects and how to express their creativity. After this, then each person can choose a more specific field to go learn about, and lastly we teach everyone how to turn their passion into a functioning company, all before they graduate high school. My dream is to see every person graduate from high school with a profitable business and a clear vision of what they love in life and how they want to pursue their passion.
What We Can Do
To change education we would be embarking on a massive task. This task all starts at one key point: inspiration. We must inspire others to do what they love and live a life driven by passions and dreams rather than the practicalities of the traditional life flow from school to college to career.
If you can inspire one person to change their lives, then you have done something beyond powerful. Changing ourselves is one of the hardest things to do. We all know what we want, but few can look at the how to get it and why we want it. Once someone does that, they have the tools necessary to take the leap of faith and pursue what it is they really want in life.
Since the future all comes down to children, we can easily allow them to learn what they want and accumulate the knowledge and life skills to build their dreams. Everyone is creative and everyone deserves the right to live a life full of happiness, experiences, and success. We are all here to empower others to find their own everlasting joy and lifelong education.