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2. Blankslate Education

Blankslate Education is a series of ideas for what a school of the future will look like. The starting point for the concept is: If we throw away all of traditional education and start from scratch, what will we come up with?
First, let’s get the boring stuff over with and do a simple who, what, when, where, why. The school is designed for the ages of 0 - 17 with a focus on general education. Many elements of the school will additionally be tailored for adults and parents because to really provide the best environment, affecting out of school time will be important as well. Blankslate Education is designed with the potential to be implemented anywhere in the world and the target is to have schools using Blankslate Education before 2030. The reason that I came up with this is because the future is coming fast and we’re not ready for it. Education will play a big role in how we transition to that future.
Note that many, if not most, of the ideas in Blankslate Education is not new. Many have been discussed and implemented in different forms. The difference will be implementing all of the ideas in one school. That will be absolutely radical and if it works, will revolutionize the way we see education.
The approach for this concept is unlike any of the current education improvements that build off of what is already there. Blankslate Education throws away all the baggage and looks at the fundamental issues that education needs to solve. This does two things: 1. The educational ideas and concepts will actually be designed specifically to deal with the fundamental issue. 2. It streamlines the path from where we stand today in education to an education that will solve the fundamental issues.
The fundamental issue that traditional education tried to solve was to factory produce knowledge and capability in humans. This mean training every person to learn the same set of skills as a basis so that a person who went through the system can become useful to society. This was extremely effective during the British Empire’s expansion. Administrative work was absolutely required and the skills that were taught were designed to solve that. That means that going through the education system allowed people to become useful to society. The system worked very well and allowed civilization to expand.
When there were no computers.
That is why it is now a fundamental issue of the past. With the computer age, we have gained access to automation. With the internet age, we have gained access to unlimited information at our finger tips. And with the Artificial Intelligence (big data and big computation) age potentially coming soon, everything will change even more.
The question we need to ask is, what is the role for humans to play in society in the future when almost all the traditional jobs can be done by computers or robots? Manufacturing? Automated by computers and robots. Transportation? Automated by computers and robots. Construction? Automated by computers and robots. Accounting, law, and medicine will all see computers and robots take over a significant portion of current human contributions in the market. Why? Because much of the work is repetitive and will be able to be replicated with upcoming technology. Pretty much any job or role you can think of will have the capability of becoming automated.
To calm down the readers who are jumping up and saying that there will be many things that cannot be automated, yes, I agree. This is not to say that everything will be automated, but you can bet that if it can be automated, it will be at some point. There will obviously still be many bespoke services offered that are not automated since automation, at the end of the day, is often an economic decision. If it’s cheaper with automation, then that is what will happen.
So where does that leave us humans? There are a few obvious roles that will be available. Research into new technologies. Management and maintenance of the automated systems. Roles that provide better results when there is human interaction, like nursing and coaching. In a way, the human interaction is there to help ease others into a future that potentially won’t even need the human interface middle man. And most importantly, communication between different parties, entities, and corporations to figure out how to collaborate.
Previous labor is freed up to do more meaningful things. But the key will be in how to solve the problem of money and jobs. Society will have to rethink these two concepts to be able to transition to this future peacefully.
If the changes in the system are handled properly though, it is a very exciting future. Imagine a future where everyone gets to choose how they contribute to society? Instead of laboring away in something that feels completely meaningless, to be able to explore new things and dive deeper into the things that they love? We could use a lot more historians, geologists, biologists (studying the rain forests, biomimicry), archaeologists, anthropologists (communicating and recording tribes), historians (recording are currently history), journalism, etc. Actual infinite possibilities.
Therefore, the fundamental issues that education will need to solve are concepts that will allow someone to thrive in such a future. Intellectual curiosity and communication skills will be at the core of these issues. And to maintain peace, another fundamental issue will be how we teach our students to become citizens of the Earth.
Blankslate Education assumes the following fundamental issues as the core to what education needs to solve:
  1. 1.
    The ability to understand and connect with yourself
  2. 2.
    The ability to understand and connect with others
  3. 3.
    The ability to understand and connect with the greater community, society, and environment.
I have termed this as the 3 Connections and it will be the central philosophy of Blankslate Education.