Below is a tentative writing of a short introduction of the Knowledge Engine and the learning platform supported by it. It is difficult to put many things into short paragraphs. So I will keep working on it in the following two days.
The goal of this project is to experiment and explore whether using twitter-like snippets as the foundation of learning process and building blocks of knowledge will cause a fundamental change in people’s learning. Actually it is not to change people’s learning per say, but to bring out the true face of learning. Actually we think this is the meaning of how breakthrough of technology can change society.
So in what ways can this twitter-like snippets change people’s learning?
What’s in the center of learning is the ability to feel of oneself and feel space (society, for example) around oneself, e.g. the self-reflection habits and skills. What compulsory schooling has done the most to damage people’s natural learning capacity is to destroy people’s ability to feel the space. With our early users, this twitter-like learning platform has proven to be able to restore or strengthen people’s ability to reflect and to feel of themselves, which has changed their learning completely in a very fundamental way.
Learning happens everywhere. People’s learning needs in real life are very rich. Only by satisfying people’s need to learn in real life, can people learn how to learn. Skills and knowledge needed in the industry cannot be well grasped and understood without a strong capacity of real life learning, not to mention to apply and explore knowledge creatively, which is highly demanded by future economy. Knowledge built on top of twitter-like snippets and constructed from people’s daily learning experiences can really foster the real life learning and can truly make learning mobile and happening in-time just as how it is naturally in real life.
How about the learning-teaching relation? We think that self-learning should be the basis, and the final goal of teaching is to let go so the learners can learn by themselves. When presented with good knowledge structure and rich learning resources, learners know how to learn best by themselves. Knowledge Area (a term in the platform) built on top of twitter-like snippets and constructed from people’s daily learning experiences provides such knowledge structure and learning resources. And they are from teachers who really have rich learning experiences in this area. By giving those teachers the flexibility and convenience to open courses on the platform and to become teachers, we empower everyone to become a teacher and thus change the profession of teaching fundamentally. This is the market force we rely on in this new system of education, and where we build out business model.
With our experimental work, we have proven or partially proven above hypotheses. We are sharing our work with the public. The envisioned future may happen in one platform. Or it probably will manifest itself in more forms. We hope people who deeply care about education can also see this future and join us together to bring this future to us sooner.
Openness is very important. It is highly valuated in the west. When I was in the states, it was amazing to see how open the western society is. This is quite foreign to us orientals. I do think that openness benefits the whole society, and we should be as open as we can. Although I can understand openness doesn’t mean simple-minded and people should still be able to decipher hidden msgs of the nature, for the general beings and the whole society, openness is always better.
Peace and equality are the most important things. Zen is called art of all arts, including Martial Arts of course. But even in Martial Arts, it is still about peace, and the highest form of it cannot be achieved without peace. Peace and equality are in everything we are doing. For example, when we are playing, either with objects or with other people, it is peace and equality at play. But life has a stage of initiation at the beginning, which you can say something is wrong.
This world has many imperfections. You need to learn to deal with and live with these imperfections.
Religion is not important. We can do without religion. As the westerners are trying to learn from the wisdom of the east, they should not forget their own wisdom (science, for example). Actually I don’t think they will forget. It is just that Buddhism hasn’t reached the best minds in the west yet (some, but not enough). Buddhism, together with software, can help science break its current dilemma and become more complete, just as Christopher Alexander said in his book Nature of Order.
Together with science, Buddhism can help us understand better of mind and its material basis. Understanding ourselves should be the major topic of learning in the future. The contemplative methods, aided with software, can help the mass better understand themselves and learn better. Human learning will be transformed fundamentally and true face of learning will emerge!