Monday, June 11, 2007

Give Me My Civilization

I am a prospective scientist, IT programmer, e-publisher, and one-time rock musician. I have worked in all levels in US IT companies, and seen cultures ranging from Boston to Budapest (and Istanbul). New locations, new continents, exotic vacations, cool venues, art, politics, internet bubble, research centers. Been there, done that.

I also have seen enough of the old culture of industrialism to know that it's very presence it's abhorrent to me. Its people, its music, its way of life, or any of its mass products - they can go to hell for all I care, and I could not be any happier... But what's next? I started to get a feeling of this of late, and now I am constantly on the lookout for countries who can give me the island of e-life I need. That new utopia that is in fact possible with the new technologies. I am talking about that new state of being... That new civilization.

In order to get this civilization, I declare myself available to any country who will provide me with the kind of support system I need. I want this not for myself, but for children I am planning to have, and will not have in the current support system, as long as it continues to be what it is. That giant bureucratic meat machine. For as long as I live, I will fight this system and try to bring about or find the e-island of life.

What do I not like about the old system? First off, education. The meat machine gave us our current school system - I have lived through it as well as many people of my generation, and the ones before it, and the ones before it.. But, my generation has lived through something else - the computer revolution and based on what I learned on my own using this "meta simulator" and how I am earning money off it now, I decided the old system has given my nothing to prepare me for my work, and in fact continous not to do that, as though nothing has changed in the world of technology.

No, I do not want my children to go through this factory style education where they sit on their ass for hours on end, get information "crammed" down their throats for no other reason than some central mechanism decided so, and have to "be" somewhere at certain "time" to "follow" some stupid information direction that will accomplish nothing for noone.

Tests? Forget it. Schools? Why? So my kid can get into some popularity contest and have one more reason not to concentrate on studying? Teachers? For who? I want personalized help, not one-size-fits-all blanket help that is too much for some, and too little for others (and I guarantee you it will be too little for my child).

Hence, my wish from my future country's education system is that it be very strong on guidance but very lax on control.

Guidance would give my child an expert for his/her questions, control would give us teachers. I don't want the "push" style information overload that is %95 irrelevant. I want personal project driven "pull" style guidance that lets my child his/her pace. Let me tell you why. I have mentioned I have been a programmer. Maybe it's now time to mention what kind of programming I've done over the years. My niche has been distributed and multi-user systems for about past 10 years. People, information come in and out of these systems non-stop, from all directions and wildly irregular patterns. In essence mfy job has been to write that one piece of code that will handle all. The direction of information, usage patterns are essential in accomplishing this.

So when I say "push" and "pull", that is an information technology term - sometimes outside world must push information on to you, but sometimes, you get it as you need it.

I argue that learning must take place in "pull" mode because when it is pushed, the processor (student) is overburdened with the need to process this information and storing it. But, imagine the kids interested (= is better at processing) concept X, and if given the chance to pursue that direction, s/he will go and seek out that %5, spend less time processing and less space for storing. Overall, the outside world will be better of as well, because now the learner is also contributing a working project to the outside world - student is learning by doing and creating.

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