This post begins with a request—if you would, please assume for the sake of argument that your current job is going to be automated away in the not-too-distant future by some version of artificial intelligence. Then, please also assume that you’re still going to have a good job.
If the pro-AI side is correct, the preceding scenario will mean having a great deal more time available for putting your mental and emotional energy towards vastly more productive and creative things than you might otherwise be stuck doing. For example, instead of wasting four hours of time driving your car in commuter traffic because you live in an area with no viable public transportation, you could be sitting in a self-driving car writing, coding, talking, thinking, dreaming, inventing, what have you.
The world of education is full of binary arguments, with perhaps the broadest and most tenacious being the ongoing debate around “traditional” vs. “non-traditional” systems. Other examples and variations include “academic” vs. “vocational”; “online” vs. “classroom”; “university” vs. “non-university”; and “public” vs. both “private” and “charter.” But when it comes to education, it’s not about “traditional” vs. “non-traditional” anymore, and true education disruption means going beyond the binary to promote lifelong learning for a learning economy.
Beyond The Binary
Many educational futurists would likely agree that these binaries are no longer truly relevant to the issues we face in education today. In a recent article by Dr. Liz Alexander (Co-founder, Leading Thought) entitled Women of Foresight: Changes in Education for Future Student Success, Anne Boysen (Founder, After the Millennials) refers to “an artificial boundary between theoretically and practically-based education”:
Young women of Chicago! If you are unemployed or underemployed, are struggling to pay for college, and have an interest in computer programming, freelance work, and the possibility of a technical career, you have a new champion of your cause, someone who is working just for you and wants to empower you through learning.
I have worked with a lot of independent contractors and small business owners over the years from many different fields—from HR vendors and alt-currency app developers to Americana songwriters and organic winemakers—and while the respective worlds are often seemingly very different, one objective unites them all: the goal of offsetting debt with revenue.
As educators with a mission to democratize education, we are concerned with issues of affordability. As providers of technical content designed to equip students with specialized skills, we are concerned with issues of accessibility. As a career-focused organization committed to seeing every student we teach emerge from our courses informed, inspired, and in demand, we are concerned with issues of equality. As a Silicon Valley company founded in the tech space, we are concerned with issues of inclusion. As a global company, we are concerned with issues of opportunity.
Introducing Our Diversity Series
The word diversity invokes so much, it’s almost impossible to imagine accomplishing a comprehensive understanding of the subject. What we can pursue, however, is an understanding of diversity issues as they inform — and are informed by — areas of critical importance to our mission, and to our organization.
With that in mind, we are launching a series on our blog that will chronicle some of these investigations, so that we can share the concepts we’re wrestling with, the challenges we’re facing, the discoveries we’re making and — hopefully — the changes we’re instigating. This post is our introduction to this series.
People are talking about education. Parents with kindergartners are talking about education. High school seniors are talking about education. Mid-career professionals are talking about education. Military veterans are talking about education. Politicians are talking about education. In fact, as we swing into the election season, presidential candidates from every corner are inevitably turning their heads towards the nine-million-pound elephant-in-the-room that is education. Everyone is talking about education.
Mind you, not just education. Online education.
We know students must come first for true education reform to be meaningful, and a democratized model made possible by technology offers empowerment opportunities unlike any we’ve experienced before. The candidates know this. Recently we’ve seen major education announcements from the Clinton camp that incorporate very favorable views of online education, and we’ve seen the same from the Rubio team and others.