Rebuilding our Bypassing our Institutions? @ AC2005
This panel discussion really demonstrated the forward thinking schools ... from around the globe. There are many new types of programs that are being introduced into traditional education.
Right now, the speaker from Tamkang University in Taiwan, Dr. Shun-Jie Ji, is describing their requirements in Future Studies and STEEP - Society, Technology, Economics, Environment, Politics. It's very cool to see the multi-disciplinary aspects of what they are teaching ... from sciences to health and medicine ... all forward looking and exploring the future. He is committed to creating stronger leaders who have the ability to accomplish more in the future world.
The next speaker, Sr. Denise Lawrence, Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual Organization, talked about The Role of Meditation in Intelligent Learning ... yet another new twist in education. Their experience is that meditation alters the quality and process of thought. These thought processes become influenced by inner stillness, intuitive clarity, creative insight, and innate moral wisdom. Intelligent learning is then enhanced and able to emerge from this experience.
The final speaker (I missed the first one!) was Robin Raskin, Digital Mom, Author, Raising Digital Kids, and her comments are around not forgetting many of the core values of life. As technology continues to accelerate, we seem to be moving away from "responsible computing". To her, it appears that children are learning from adults that things are more permissible in the virtual world that are not "ok" in the real world. She gave examples of where it is no longer about children being exposed to "naked people", but instead people who - in one case - encouraged a teen age girl to commit suicide by providing not only the chat room encouragement, but the detailed instructions on how to do it! She feels that in the current overly scheduled, overly competitive world ... children actually see cyberspace as the last place to escape their "helicoptor parents" and hectic lives.
Most of the "guides to parenting" have fallen far behind in communicating about cyberspace. Children have started to lose the distinction of what a "friend" is ... they claim a friend, but often don't really know who that "friend" is in the real world. Robin feels that as corporate dollars are now flowing into Friendster, MySpace, and other social networking sites they are becoming the same as on-line bars. The Pew Institute just released a study that showed that only 38% of people - old or young - can distinguish paid vs. unpaid content!
Robin really had to rush to fit her presentation into the time allotted, however she had some very good points and statistics ... the impacts on children, and then blurring of lines in cyberspace ... have got to be causing long-term effects in society that we have yet to see.