Why Global Learn Day?

An excerpt of a paper from an Early GLD’er… Terrence R. Redding, PhD

Success, as a concept has been addressed at the personal, family, community, national and global level. Global Learn Day concerns success for all of mankind and in particular recognizes the potential worth of all persons. Global Learn Day does this through the narrow lens of learning.  In particular, we seek to recognize the importance of the acquisition of knowledge by circling the globe calling attention to and providing a platform for those with something interesting to say about learning.

Who will succeed in the Information Age?

What will be the difference between those who succeed and those who fail? On both a personal and a national level the difference may be as having to primary components.  The first is access, which is increasingly stated in terms of access to the Internet.  The second may be proudly classified as opportunity. Does an individual’s personal circumstances allow them to pursue knowledge, learn and improve themselves.  Many who have presented in the past and celebrated a Global Learn Day have focused on ways to increase access, or ways to provide greater opportunity to individuals to engage in learning. I would argue that embracing Global Learn Day is a way to focus on those two points, but additionally it is a way to set aside differences and come together as a planet and as one people to seek ways to insure each individual’s talent and genius can be engaged in extending mankind through learning.

It may well be that a combination of access to education, a valuing of self-directedness, and chance will produce those few individuals that will be most adept at guiding their societies through the transition into the Information Age. Just as certain countries are by-passing a copper based infrastructure for their communications needs and moving to micro-wave towers, still others are moving to fiber optics, while still others to satellite based communications — and still others to a combination of all three. — These are nations embracing the importance of education to the point where, in some cases, they pay their brightest to attend school and base access to education on emerging technologies associated with distance education over the Internet.

Online education has fewer barriers and presents wider access to potential student populations than do traditional schools. Students who require special accommodations in a traditional setting (and who therefore may be at a disadvantage) may not be at a disadvantage online. Whether that disadvantage is age, sight, height, mobility, speech, hearing, or whatever, these disadvantages often disappear online.

I am reminded of the commercial for the United Negro College Fund that concludes with the sentiment that “a mind is a terrible thing to waste.” How many minds will be educated at a distance that might not other wise be educated at all? And what of the contributions those minds will make to the human race?

Eight years ago, I had a chance to make a presentation at an educational conference that focused on a Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX) that I had conducted for 3,000 children in 21 schools in seven cities in Southwest Oklahoma. I was pretty proud of myself. I had involved a large number of children in a program that ultimately led to a group of students speaking live to the astronauts in the Shuttle as they orbited the earth. The entire exchange was broadcast on educational television.

A NASA scientist followed me. He described the development of a special wheelchair for Stephen Hawkins, a scientist suffering from Lou Gehrigs Disease, who could neither walk nor speak. This wheelchair provided Hawkins with access to the Internet and thus the rest of the world, to include libraries and the ability to write manuscripts and generate artificial speech. A few months ago, I saw a presentation by Hawkins, from his wheel chair, using the artificial speech from the synthesizer in his chair-mounted notebook computer. He described being able to access the various research telescopes of the world via the Internet. His topic was the most recent discoveries by the Hubble Space Telescope and the implications for theoretical astrophysics and mankind’s understanding of the universe.

Eight years ago there were few that considered the implications of the Internet as a distance education tool. I was not among them. Today, I still believe my SAREX was a significant contribution in the field of education. However, I believe the Hawkins’ wheelchair to be the more significant contribution because it allowed one of the great minds of our generation access to knowledge and the ability to share his understanding with millions if not billions of his fellow human beings. While I, with my SAREX, touched the minds of a mere 3,000.

I would compare Hawkins’ wheelchair to the Internet for the globe, with one note: where the wheelchair was wired for just one man, I would compare the value of the Internet to the value of a billion human minds online, to the thought that a single mind is a terrible thing to waste. Access to distance education via the Internet will empower potentially billions of people.

 

What tools can we use to expand our knowledge? Are we accessing education in every way possible? Are we making sure our children have as many access points as possible?

Dad

My Dad Helped Me Build my Future

Thanks Dad.

It’s Father’s Day in the United States. For some this is a good day to Bar-B-Que or go out to dinner. For others, it is just another day or even a source of pain. For me, I can’t help but look back on my childhood and give thanks for the father that I had (and still have).

In no way am I claiming a perfect childhood. I have no rose colored glasses, I assure you. However, I do have a dad with an adventurous spirit and a love of education (and by default, educating). Together, with my mother, Dad created an educational whirlwind of a childhood and opened doors and opportunities that still help me today. So instead of talking about an article or some crazy technology innovation today, I’m going to share some memories and with them ideas that can help you build your child’s future.

Adventure.

It was not uncommon for my weekend to involve finishing Church services and my dad announcing when we hopped into the van that everyone needed to get inside, get changed and load up the car with beach chairs and towels. I’m sure a lot of kids in South Florida experienced that. Fewer experienced the three hour drive as we would go discover some new beach and the ham radio that we all had to be quiet so Dad could be on. My teenage self was not pleased with these Sundays because they prevented me from spending time with friends and watching TV. Looking back, I became an excellent navigator thanks to the multiple times we got lost in the pre GPS days. It’s a tool that I still use today. We also discovered isolated, beautiful beaches and had the chance to really explore them since they were not crawling with other families. So, pack a bag and take your kids on a local adventure today!

Interact.

Sometimes, instead of the ham radio in the car we would listen to him as he was sitting at his desk and talking to people around the world. He would often run mini contests when we had friends over, just to see how many contacts in how many countries we could make. When the twin towers were attacked, I didn’t need an explanation of where Afghanistan was and it wasn’t the first time I had heard about the Taliban. You see, one evening we were running a contest a few years earlier and we got to speak with a ham operating his illegal station from inside Afghanistan. I remember looking up the country and then the Taliban so I could understand why he couldn’t chat long. Had my father not been willing to interact with me or encourage me to do so with others, I never would have taken that time to learn.

Encourage.

There was never a dream that I had that my father didn’t say was possible. I went through a phase of wanting to be Scully from the X Files, and my dad told me I could absolutely do that. Even though that is nothing close to the career I have found myself in, I never doubted that I was capable. Encouragement to explore and discover who I am and where my interests were was a huge part of me being who I am today. There is no fear when I consider what I want to do in the future. Even now, when I tell my father I want to take on a new endeavor he talks me through the logistics and encourages me.

Educate.

I’m sure most of us have heard that we, as parents, are our children’s first teachers. A more accurate statement would be we are our children’s longest teachers. I’m still learning from my parents in my thirties and I can’t be the only one. I came close to a perfect score on the Vocabulary portion of the SAT. I’m sure part of the reason is that I have always been a voracious reader. However, a stronger part is likely my father. We would sit around the dinner table most evenings and enjoy a meal together as family. During that time there were many common topics and some not so common ones. Whatever the conversation landed on, we were each able to participate. Often, one of us would use a word that my father thought was inaccurate. At that point, we would be challenged to provide the definition of the word and if we did not know it, we would be required to get the dictionary and read the definition out loud. I love my expansive vocabulary and the only people who have offered a challenge in Scrabble in the past 15 years are my siblings.

 

We don’t have to do things the same way my father did, but we do need to consciously create and make available opportunities that encourage a love of learning. My father still does this with my children. While other kids are told to stop asking “Why?”, Dad is actively asking, “Do you know why?” It might drive you nuts but he is taking advantage of the sponges that children are. They absorb knowledge from all around them. So, today, go ask a child if they know why something happens. Listen to their answer and then help them discover what an adventure learning really is.

Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads out there and if you are an educational adventurer give yourself a pat on the back. You are a likely a big reason why your child LOVES to learn.

 

This post is dedicated to my father, a life long learner and adventurous educator. Happy Father’s Day. I love you.

In the beginning there was Global Learn Day 1997

Looking Back at an Initial Impression

Access to Education: Global Learn Day

By Terrence R. Redding, Ph.D.

OnLine Training, Inc.

(Note – This was Dr. Redding’s initial reaction to Global Learn Day, almost twenty years ago. The GLD crew felt that it was still relevant today.)

No learning environment is ideal for all potential participants. Some individuals will find they are at a distinct disadvantage in one environment, while in another their disadvantages may disappear. Access for some may be restricted to distance education via the Internet. Online education is viewed by many as second rate (Hibbs, 1998). Why? The instructor and the student do not have face-to-face communications.

A year ago I would have agreed that online education is restricted by the lack of physical proximity. But that was before Global Learn Day 1 (GLD1), my first experience in a distance education online conference. I could hear speakers clearly via streaming RealAudio. I viewed PowerPoint presentation slides directly on my computer screen. I exchanged ideas with other participants and presenters in the Java Chat room. And I posed questions to the presenters through a moderator. In some cases I was also able to see presenters by using streaming video. I came to prefer the online conference over physical attendance. I had a more comfortable seat, could hear and see the content better, and actually had more access to presenters and participants. I missed the social interaction, but I was also not distracted by it. In 30 hours I went around the world hearing from some of the brightest and most innovative distance educators working today, all from the comfort of my home using a computer fresh out of the box with just a dialup connection to the Internet.

Internet technology does not yet convert the sensations of touch and smell to bandwidth, but in many ways Internet technology is far superior for some types of educational forums. I know that courses delivered via the Internet are often devalued as second-rate by traditional faculty and by the public who may view distance education as a poor second choice to attending class on campus. But I believe that within ten years, courses without a distant education (DE) components will be considered second rate.

Distance education via the Internet is not restricted to conferences. The company I am associated with, OnLine Training, Inc. (OLT), delivers educational content exclusively through online technology over the Internet to individuals in need of basic education or continuing professional education. Our students do not conform to the standard notions associated with age, grade, or development. For example, OLT has been developing and marketing a basic adult education program for the General Educational Development (GED) market. Our enrollment profile shows almost equal distribution among US students pursuing a GED, students overseas who need to pass the GED in order to qualify for college in the US, and young students ranging from those with learning disabilities to those who are “gifted”. Some are home schooled; others pursue online courses while attending public or private schools. If you open the door to education, and minimize the gate keeping, it is difficult to predict where the demand will be.

This past month I had an opportunity to speak to a graduate class of Human Resource Development (HRD) students at Florida Atlantic University. As we explored the pros and cons of distance education, I started thinking about some of the GED students with learning disabilities at OLT. One in particular, a young fellow of 15, came to mind. This lad’s speech is difficult to follow, with extended pauses between phrases. My guess is that in a traditional classroom he would not do well. He communicates too slowly to interact effectively with other students. Online he can take as long as he needs to put his thoughts in writing.

Online educational education has fewer barriers and presents wider access to potential student populations than do traditional schools. Students who require special accommodations in a traditional setting (and who therefore may be at a disadvantage) may not be at a disadvantage online. Whether that disadvantage is age, sight, height, mobility, speech, hearing, or whatever, these disadvantages often disappear online.

I am reminded of the commercial for the United Negro College Fund that concludes with the sentiment that “a mind is a terrible thing to waste.” How many minds will be educated at a distance that might not other wise be educated at all? And what of the contributions those minds will make to the human race?

Eight years ago I had a chance to make a presentation at an educational conference that focused on a Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX) that I had conducted for 3,000 children in 21 schools in seven cities in Southwest Oklahoma. I was pretty proud of myself. I had involved a large number of children in a program that ultimately led to a group of students speaking live to the astronauts in the Shuttle as they orbited the earth. The entire exchange was broadcast on educational television.

A NASA scientist followed me. He described the development of a special wheelchair for Stephen Hawkins, a scientist suffering from Lou Gehrigs Disease, who could neither walk nor speak. This wheelchair provided Hawkins with access to the Internet and thus the rest of the world, to include libraries and the ability to write manuscripts and generate artificial speech. Last week I saw a presentation by Hawkins, from his wheel chair, using the artificial speech from the synthesizer in his chair-mounted notebook computer. He described being able to access the various research telescopes of the world via the Internet. His topic was the most recent discoveries by the Hubble Space Telescope and the implications for theoretical astrophysics and mankind’s understanding of the universe.

Eight years ago there were few that considered the implications of the internet as a distance education tool. I was not among them. Today, I still believe my SAREX was a significant contribution in the field of education. However, I believe the Hawkins’ wheelchair to be the more significant contribution because it allowed one of the great minds of our generation access to knowledge and the ability to share his understanding with millions if not billions of his fellow human beings. While I, with my SAREX, touched the minds of a mere 3,000.

I would compare Hawkins’ wheelchair to the internet for the globe, with one note: where the wheelchair was wired for just one man, I would compare the value of the internet to the value of a billion human minds online, to the thought that a single mind is a terrible thing to waste. Access to distance education via the internet will empower potentially billions of human minds.

Formal education requires a firm foundation: a frame of reference, theory, concept, and structure. However, none of these things are static. They, and our understanding of them, change over time. The pace at which they are changing is increasing. The internet is providing a means by which these structures can be discussed and understood on a global scale. Toffler (1970 and 1980) in his two volume set discusses the implications of “Future Shock” and “The Third Wave” for mankind. There are those who are over whelmed by the pace of change; who suffer from Future Shock. And, there are those who appear to thrive on change; who may be the Third Wave. Those on the internet, and especially those educated on the internet may well be Third Wave people. No one can predict the outcome of the advent of the internet as a distance education medium or the potential power it will unleash in mankind as a learning animal. But I believe its impact will be more profound then the advent of the printing press.

Our task as educators is to ensure that as many people as possible have access to the mind-expanding power of the Internet. The date for Global Learn Day 2 (GLD2) is rapidly approaching. It occurs Columbus Day weekend and begins with the rising sun in Guam, and, proceeding for nearly 30 hours around the globe, ends with the setting of the sun in Hawaii. Whether you are interested in distance education for yourself or an organization consider taking the opportunity to experience it first hand during GLD2. I know of no better way to celebrate mankind’s natural continuing conquest of knowledge than to encourage people to celebrate learning through the interconnection of the planet during Global Learn Day.

END.

Today, OLT offers Business Development, Continuing Professional Education and Personal Development Courses both with partner institutions and direct to the student. They do this by partnering with Subject Matter Experts and creating courses in house. If you are interested in a partnership opportunity, contact them!

Consider joining #GLD2017! Contact us to become a Presenter!

Hovercraft and Education

Hovercraft and Education

I was recently on Twitter and came across videos of science classes that were racing hovercrafts as part of their lessons. It reminded me of my daughter’s third grade class. Students were divided into small groups and taught how to design a robot. They then got to build the robot and the student groups raced them the last week of school. This was genius! Not only did the children learn about robotics but they had to work as a team and build something.

 

After seeing the Twitter post, I went and looked up more information about students building hovercrafts. I came across a short article in Popular Mechanics.  It is great that a well-known magazine would talk about something (like teaching technology students how to build hovercraft) and a few years later schools from all over are replicating it. Sometimes, we learn better by doing.

 

In some parts of world action is still how students learn the majority of their knowledge. In industrial countries that call to action in the classroom is a key to innovation. Rather than learn about coding software through a book or someone yelling to a student, students get on a computer and code. The difference between these two methods is the first is teacher-centered learning and the second is student-centered. This visual by Paul Curtis offers a better explanation.

 

Who knows if by participating in this learning activity, a future designer for Toyota, Ford or Mercedes is created? Who knows if participating in designing or building a hovercraft or robot is going to spark excitement that lasts a student’s lifetime? Who knows if by participating in this learning activity, a future designer for Toyota, Ford or Mercedes? Previous Global Learn Day presenter, Dr. Terrence R. Redding, shared his thoughts about this when talking about “The First Moment of Lasting Excitement”. You can learn more about that here!

 

This is more of what Global Learn Day celebrates! Education opens doors, it excites us and helps us learn who we are and where we belong. Education builds a bridge to a better future. Across the globe, we are a learning people. We share our previous experiences and hopefully, we learn from them. Education, and our thirst for knowledge, is what helps us to unite and become “One People, One Planet”.

What excites you about learning? What incites you to learn more?

Lifelong Learning - The Quest for More

The Quest for More

The Quest for More

The Library of Alexandria housed an unfathomable amount of knowledge for the ancient world.  When books and resources were rare, this institution boasted the greatest collection of information ever assembled. It was the masterpiece of the Greek civilization led by Alexander’s lifelong quest to explore and conquer by learning all that was known in the world. His thirst for knowledge changed human history!

Knowledge and personal growth have always been prized as an avenue for success.  There is so much to learn, it is a process that could last a lifetime and never be exhausted.  So much more in this modern age of information where masses of data lay right at our fingertips.

 

What is Lifelong Learning?

Lifelong learning is defined as “the ‘ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated’ pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons. Therefore, it not only enhances social inclusion, active citizenship, and personal development, but also self-sustainability, as well as competitiveness and employability”

 

Learning is not confined to a school building, textbooks, or a certain number of years of life.  It is a process that stretches beyond place, time, and method. As the sayings go, “ignorance is bliss,” however, “knowledge is power!”

Extended learning is not only enriching for your life, but your mind.  An open mind is fertile ground for innovation.  The more you are exposed to new information and ideas, the more you will understand the world around you and evaluate your beliefs.

It’s not just your mind that might change, learning actually changes the physical makeup of your brain.  Just as exercise is beneficial and necessary for our muscles, bones and overall health, learning flexes and optimizes our brain.  A healthy brain is important, it is the powerhouse for your entire body.

 

Reasons To Be a Lifelong Learner:

  • Employability is one of the greatest motivators to continue studying. Learning new skills, earning a degree, delving deeper into your chosen field all make for more successful careers and higher pay.  In a word, it creates wealth. Learning also increases motivation.  Lifelong learners are self-starters and prosper in any economy.
  • Personal enrichment through learning makes for an interesting and active life no matter your age. Learning how to knit, play the piano, or do tae kwon do expand social opportunities.  Delving into a favorite subject such as the age of exploration allows your brain to get exercise which is just as important as exercise for your body.
  • Learning about another culture or how to speak another language opens doors in both your personal and professional life. As our world “shrinks” with globalization and the interconnectivity of the digital age, a second or third language is more important, not less.  Also, language learning develops the brain in amazing ways.
  • The self-sufficient lifestyle has gained popularity in recent years as people realize how many skills have been lost or forgotten and want to be able to do for themselves. Self-sufficiency requires knowledge and action.  While reading about gardening or woodworking is still good, both require hands on experience to master.  The practice of learned knowledge leads to deeper understanding, analysis, and ultimately new ideas and a deeper desire to learn more.  Pick up a skill when you don’t want to pick up a book.
  • Well informed citizens are better able to make good decisions, problem solve, choose representatives, and build sustainable communities. Learning about politics, government, laws, and local needs is the best way to serve your neighbors and country.

 

Are you motivated to start learning, again?  School may be out, but learning should never end.  Turn on an audiobook, crack open a novel, read the newspaper, sit down with a neighbor to knit, whatever you do, just exercise your gray matter. This is what Builds the Future. What do you want to learn today?