Because of this education, now being provided to far more than half the world's children, poverty is slowly declining, population growth rates are receding, emerging nations are becoming new centers of wealth, and the problems of energy, pollution, and food are being solved because everyone who has this resource has learned to think logically, creatively, critically, and clearly.
We are fulfilling the promise of a good education being the birthright of every child through innovative experiential educational technology by fulfilling another promise, that of technology to transform learning from the 18th to the 21st century — finally! By so doing, we will transform our world.
Someday, learning will be very different than today’s learning, which is essentially unchanged over hundreds of years. Technological and societal changes such as the printing press and universal education have had transformative effects on education, but these are minor events compared to the future.
Until recently, people went to school for a number of years and then went out to make a living. No more schooling was necessary and only infrequently was done. The combination of the rapidity of technological change and globalization have altered this status quo.
Not only is specific information learned today likely to be less useful and even less accurate tomorrow, it also is readily available through today’s enhanced communication. While a foundation remains necessary, learners today must build a number of thinking skills on these basics.
Today, you can find more computing power in a greeting card than was in the early computers that often filled entire rooms and used vast amounts of power. Today, over one billion people use the Internet. Today, even poor people in America’s most challenged rural and urban areas have cell phones and use texting and search features.
Education is far behind this developmental curve. Yet, education is an area that could benefit the most from all of these technological miracles. Alfred Bork, a professor emeritus at UC Irvine had a vision of a computer tutor. This development is unlikely to be realized soon, but equally exciting innovations can make this concept unnecessary.
We, at Smart Science Education Inc. are building highly interactive experiential learning systems to which we are adding adaptive learning and collaborative learning in a truly natural way. We believe that learning isn’t a game, it’s serious. However, serious does not mean dull or boring. Serious learning can be exciting, engaging, and empowering — so much so that students cannot wait to come back for more. Learning is natural for humans. It stretches our mental muscles and opens up new horizons for our lives.
The old learning of facts and figures must give way to a new learning of thinking and learning to learn. Few people truly learn to think. They make their decisions lazily with their guts. Sometimes, a well-informed gut can fortuitously make the right decision, but real thinking requires more.
The learning of the future will enlist people’s minds in rational thinking, critical thinking, and creative thinking. The mental muscles required for these modes of thinking often are atrophied in people, who find real thinking to be an incredible chore. Yet, just as with actual muscles when you use them, they become strong, and the effort to use them shrinks until it’s actually joyful.
Our software will help everyone, from the youngest to the oldest, exercise those mental muscles and appreciate that thinking is fun rather than an unpleasant chore performed only by nerds. Thomas Jefferson said that democracy required an educated electorate. He could not imagine the problems that the world would be facing 200 years later, but I’m sure he would agree that making the world a safer and better place for everyone requires an educated populace. He could hardly imagine the technology of today, but I am also sure that, as a scientist, he would approve of what we are doing to make this dream into reality.