lunes, 18 de noviembre de 2013

The education of the future as a Complex Adaptive System

The education of the future as a
Complex Adaptive System
By: Alejandro Ospina Torres - Felipe Sánchez Garzón
How does the stunted educational model of higher education today works?
Here is an example.
Camilla is studying electrical engineering third semester at a prestigious university in his city. However, so far she does not recognize whether she learns at this moment really is useful in her professional life. And he knows, from her boyfriend Stephen, most courses do not really apply to his profession and in return, his employer is pulling him to do many training courses on the subject that the company is interested.
He has not graduated, he is over 95% of the subjects of their curriculum, however at this time of his life, he uses all his time working on the company and following the courses that the company dictates. He currently does not have time to finish the few materials that are missing, and to complete his thesis and have the title of engineer. While he was not holding a certificate, the company will employ him as a student paying much less than he deserves by his study.
Within the current educational model in which people study for degrees within rigid systems, guided by an industrial paradigm (The University as a factory to make professional), is not articulated in the labor market in a flexible way. Even if the people choose to be a Researcher.
John is studying sciences to crave a good job with a good wages, he must perform master's, doctoral and postdoctoral degree whether is possible.  All this can take anywhere from age 17 to age 30. It is the same case of Ana, a medical student who wants to specialize in pediatrics; there are 6-year career and two more of specialty. For them, the next years of their life will study without enjoying the benefits of their study until the distant future, and the line that divides the study life from the not studying life is a title. They are studying for titles that elevate their status and give them more prestige, and only whether it is articulated to the market, earn higher income.
Building a new model for higher education
The situation of these students will change dramatically under new models consistent with the paradigm of the Third Wave suggested by Alvin Toffler. Each student can achieve academically, as Modular titles. Also linked to the workplace quickly and be learning from it and from college simultaneously, in a flexible way. And, each student will give its own course according to their preferences, needs and trends in his life at the time.
How is this possible? Look for Camilla, she has a good training in mathematics, is a creative problem solving person and she likes engineering. Initially she is not sure what engineering is best for her, so instead of released and "marry" a profession, she have the option to take courses that are useful for any engineering. These courses will build her professional profile in modules.
She will go thought courses in different lines organized by skills. Every three full courses she gets a diploma. For example, Linear Algebra, Differential Calculus and Integral Calculus give the diploma of basic math. Other different courses such as algorithmic thinking, Computer Programming and Object-Oriented Programming give her a diploma in basic programming. And three other related courses give a third diploma. Upon completion of three diplomas, she obtains the title of technician. With this technical title whether she chose the right combination, she can choose to start in the work-world. And in hers workplace she will find what the market requires at that time.
Then she finds that your employer requires Web designers, therefore the next set of courses that will look into will be a technical in basic design (Three diplomas: advanced math, web programming and graphic design). So, with these two titles she already is working and applying directly to what she knows.
After a year and a half in a job, Google opens search algorithms jobs, so she can take different courses and complete another technician, and so within the three technicians that have achieved, she qualify as a technologist in Design of Web search algorithms. At this point she finds a better job and she has studied what it is necessary to get there. She has a technologist degree because she had completed three technicians (9 diplomas and 27 curses).
In his new job, she finds that the knowledge gained in professional practice is so high that if she uses the appropriate academic knowledge she can create her own businesses successfully. So she decides to take a technician in discrete mathematics, one in business management and other Java programming. So she gets other business systems technologist with algorithms of discrete mathematics. Like her throughout their academic training has completed two full technologists, is now a professionalAnd for their academic and professional life she has developed his career and his project of life.
She can continue studying Advertising studies to give more power to her company, and having a diploma in graphic design she can obtain other two congeners given a technical degree in advertising. (These new studies would be postgraduate without being necessarily a expertise). Now her rigid engineer profile has become more flexible, she knows mathematics, programming, management and advertising. She has multidisciplinary knowledge and applies it in the service of the company that has created parallel with this academic exercise, and moreover, she has a professional title and a technical one that she will be able to continue growing throughout her live. In her training she get what she need from academia and what she need in the workplace to potentiate their skills and succeed.
When her business has grown enough she will need innovation to be at the forefront of technology, therefore should point to the investigation. Within hers dynamic profile she can make further studies, she can complete two technicians after be professional (in areas that complement under investigation) to gets the title of Master. And complete four other technicians, which complement her research, making a total of six technicians and a doctoral thesis. She may be  Doctorate (PhD). It is important to note that these studies are based on advanced modular courses, which should be integer to a research project to graduate from each of the six graduate technicians. And this model allows Camilla to study and does not retain to dedicate 100% to academic life. She can continue works on her company and complete the PhD in 3, 6 or more years if it is needed. She will Advance gradually and grow in her academic, economic and personal live simultaneously.
imageHow do you design your ideal professional profile?
Thus, each student will be able to build his profile according to their abilities, their talents and academic profile environment. Each academic profile will be unique and directed by who is making it. However, these profiles are due to market trends, when the market requires more Java programming, the more people take these courses, but only achieved these technicians to compete successfully in employment who have other courses where skills are obtained that make them the fittest .
Creativity plays a crucial role in assembling your professional profile. You are free to choose subjects of engineering, arts, sociology and advertising at your will. But the ones who better articulate their own knowledge and give that a better place in the market, creating or working a company, will be the ones who success. And if a line is successful other people tend to repeat that line until it is overpopulated, then will be born new lines of fields of study.
There will be favorite lines, best combinations depending on the historical moment, place and people. Then the lines disappear and new ones will appear because the environment changes. And each person will change with the environment and this will shift to where people leaders (those who have chosen best combinations) ride. Therefore this is a new wave where the initiative has a key role.
At the macro level, the University and the company will be articulated, the company hired technicians, technologists, professionals and multiprofessionals (people with higher level than professionals) and achieve its objectives. People will grow in knowledge and use at their own pace and they will experience what suits them, but not limited to a single profile.
In employment will govern the law of the fittest prevails and the least able disappears (The person with a profile that is not working, must be routed to the best profile to match, or innovate and create a new trend). So this education system mimics nature in its function as complex adaptive systems. Regularities are being created (basic lines) that follow the winners. These basic lines are guided by the actors (students) and the environment. And they would join academic and workplace trends in a complex way to build new lines, new patterns (basic lines) that new students will continue, predict and constantly changing.
The new education model ensures that the people always will learner what is required to work. Ensures that innovators were successful and that society follows them, so in the social macro-level there is a movement toward what works better. The best profiles and the best business ideas will carry the banner and move the rest to follow their lines. The rest must adapt, but always with the possibility of rearticulated to be competitive.
The SAC and competitiveness
Complex adaptive systems can create fertile scenarios for competitiveness. By generating large numbers of specialized elements at the micro level (individuals), promotes the formation of a highly diversified (macro).
Different products (or profile) will activate sectors of the economy for its production, marketing, use and recycling.
A simple product (or profile) wills active few sectors of the economy, because it will need few innovation and specialization.
A complex product (or profile) wills activates multiple sectors of the economy, involving multiple skills, highly developed skills and inputs.
The complexity can articulate the expertise of diversification, generating wealth and knowledge.
Recognize other ancestral knowledge in the university education system.
Indigenous and native communities of Latin American countries have a vast knowledge and wisdom that has proven vital to various topics such as health, ecology, agriculture, genetics, biodiversity and even their understanding of reality. The modularity and autonomy in create their own careers; will validate the personal, organizational and social conditions for the reality that we live in different regions. Recognizing the diversity territorial, social, cultural, philosophical and environmental, it is essential to unleash the education system. The more self empowerment will break the psychological, mental, cultural and bureaucratic bonds that run our world in linear thinking. Complex Adaptive Systems will also articulate the traditional knowledge to create value and wealth in different regions. (Within the model a course taken with native will be valid, for example natural medicine, spiritual healing, organization, anthropology. This diversity provides extra-academic education to the person)
The resistance to change and the vested interests.
It is normal for those who have invested years and bet a fortune on traditional educational system, to have resistance with new generations come to compete with new rules, better prepared, better skills, happier and more consistent life projects.
After all, many teachers and administrators will generate resistance; they have developed skills to work in the traditional educational system. But it is also true that thousands of teachers, principals and parents dissatisfied with the system, they see the enormous potential of their students and children, growing with the same linear paradigms of education 40 years ago, trapped in an obsolete system, inefficient, and downright decadent. The thousands of initiatives that seek to generate a better education system collide in synchronization with the old bureaucratic systems of mass education.
This does not mean that universities lose their status or importance. Means that they must assume new roles in the process of training and adapted to be more competitive because, among other things, cease to be the unique backdrop to grant degrees. The interesting thing is that there were no written formulas, it is necessary to reinvent it.
The education system needs to adapt to the new reality. It's simple, but requires a tremendous effort. Complexity is a reality that we face. Study and apply, will give us new and wonderful ways to be more just societies, happier, healthier and with better quality of life.
Study nature from complex adaptive systems provides us with tools to create models such as educational model and to move towards success and prosperity to improve social development. The link work-study will be as efficient as the nature and begin to be dynamic and constantly evolving. From this point we can let the system operate freely and itself will find the best settings for each moment and each place. This will make the students, businesses and society succeed. Surely it is not necessary that groups of experts try to determine what is the best profile that each career should has; but successful collective experience will tell us what the best profiles are. The new role of former experts in determining career and educational curriculum is become agents of change, understanding, facilitating and implementing institutions in complex adaptive systems. 

Invitation to participate in this open source model.

We invite those who want to build better educational systems to contribute in the construction of a new educational model. This is a proposal based on complex adaptive systems, and is open, is just the beginning. We invite you to apply the model, improve it, modify it, and transform it as best as possible in your opinion and experience. By this way complex adaptive systems work. It is related to share information, apply it to thousands of possibilities, so that the best one succeeds. Complex Adaptive Systems is a collective construction. It is not flee from complexity, but understand and accept in a simple way. The opportunity is unique, your contribution is valuable.

lunes, 26 de julio de 2010

Artificial Life

On May 21, 2010, Craig Venter announced the creation of the first synthetic cell, whose DNA was designed by a computer. This is a big step in the evolution and understanding of life. We began as cells like this. It's amazing how technology has advanced to be able to get to create life, we are on a scale of evolution as SAC as any other species.

You could say that a cell is the least complex adaptive system, being the smallest unit of life.This shows how man has come to create in the laboratory SACs. Until now, all complex adaptive systems have been created by many men working at once, such as society or the economy. However, this is the first time in a laboratory developing life.

sábado, 17 de julio de 2010

Ideas to Simplify Your Life (Zen-Habits) (part 2-3)

I've seen in many philosophical traditions, the power of simplicity. In this post I want to teach you something I found surfing the web. It is a manifesto of simplicity based on Zen philosophy I recommend you to read and go through that page.

  1. Spend time alone. See this list of ways to free up time for yourself — to spend in solitude. Alone time is good for you, although some people aren’t comfortable with it. It could take practice getting used to the quiet, and making room for your inner voice. It sounds new-agey, I know, but it’s extremely calming. And this quiet is necessary for finding out what’s important to you.
  2. Eat slowly. If you cram your food down your throat, you are not only missing out on the great taste of the food, you are not eating healthy. Slow down to lose weight, improve digestion, and enjoy life more. Read more.
  3. Drive slowly. Most people rush through traffic, honking and getting angry and frustrated and stressed out. And endangering themselves and others in the meantime. Driving slower is not only safer, but it is better on your fuel bill, and can be incredibly peaceful. Give it a try. Read more.
  4. Be present. These two words can make a huge difference in simplifying your life. Living here and now, in the moment, keeps you aware of life, of what is going on around you and within you. It does wonders for your sanity. Read tips on how to do it.
  5. Streamline your life. Many times we live with unplanned, complex systems in our lives because we haven’t given them much thought. Instead, focus on one system at a time (your laundry system, your errands system, your paperwork system, your email system, etc.) and try to make it simplified, efficient, and written. Then stick to it. Here’s more. Another good article here.
  6. Create a simple mail & paperwork system. If you don’t have a system, this stuff will pile up. But a simple system will keep everything in order. Here’s how.
  7. Create a simple system for house work. Another example of a simple system is clean-as-you-go with a burst. Read more.
  8. Clear your desk. If you have a cluttered desk, it can be distracting and disorganized and stressful. A clear desk, however, is only a couple of simple habits away. Read more.
  9. Establish routines. The key to keeping your life simple is to create simple routines. A great article on that here.
  10. Keep your email inbox empty. Is your email inbox overflowing with new and read messages? Do the messages just keep piling up? If so, you’re normal — but you could be more efficient and your email life could be simplified with a few simple steps. Read more.
  11. Learn to live frugally. Living frugally means buying less, wanting less, and leaving less of a footprint on the earth. It’s directly related to simplicity. Here are 50 tips on how to live frugally.
  12. Make your house minimalist. A minimalist house has what is necessary, and not much else. It’s also extremely peaceful (not to mention easy to clean). More here.
  13. Find other ways to be minimalist. There are tons. You can find ways to be minimalist in every area of your life. Here are a few I do, to spur your own ideas.
  14. Consider a smaller home. If you rid your home of stuff, you might find you don’t need so much space. I’m not saying you should live on a boat (although I know some people who happily do so), but if you can be comfortable in a smaller home, it will not only be less expensive, but easier to maintain, and greatly simplify your life. Read about downsizing your home here.
  15. Consider a smaller car. This is a big move, but if you have a large car or SUV, you may not really need something that big. It’s more expensive, uses more gas, harder to maintain, harder to park. Simplify your life with less car. You don’t need to go tiny, especially if you have a family, but try to find as small a car as can fit you or your family comfortably. Maybe not something you’re going to do today, but something to think about over the long term.
  16. Learn what “enough” is. Our materialistic society today is about getting more and more, with no end in sight. Sure, you can get the latest gadget, and more clothes and shoes. More stuff. But when will you have enough? Most people don’t know, and thus they keep buying more. It’s a neverending cycle. Get off the cycle by figuring out how much is enough. And then stop when you get there.
  17. Create a simple weekly dinner menu. If figuring out what’s for dinner is a nightly stressor for you or your family, consider creating a weekly menu. Decide on a week’s worth of simple dinners, set a specific dinner for each night of the week, go grocery shopping for the ingredients. Now you know what’s for dinner each night, and you have all the ingredients necessary. No need for difficult recipes — find ones that can be done in 10-15 minutes (or less).
  18. Eat healthy. It might not be obvious how eating healthy relates to simplicity, but think about the opposite: if you eat fatty, greasy, salty, sugary, fried foods all the time, you are sure to have higher medical needs over the long term. We could be talking years from now, but imagine frequent doctor visits, hospitalization, going to the pharmacist, getting therapy, having surgery, taking insulin shots … you get the idea. Being unhealthy is complicated. Eating healthy simplifies all of that greatly, over the long term. Read abouthow to simplify your eating habits.
  19. Exercise. This goes along the same lines as eating healthy, as it simplifies your life in the long run, but it goes even further: exercise helps burn off stress and makes you feel better. It’s great. Here’s how to create the exercise habit.
  20. Declutter before organizing. Many people make the mistake of taking a cluttered desk or filing cabinet or closet or drawer, and trying to organize it. Unfortunately, that’s not only hard to do, it keeps things complicated. Simplify the process by getting rid of as much of the junk as possible, and then organizing. If you declutter enough, you won’t need to organize at all.
  21. Have a place for everything. Age-old advice, but it’s the best advice on keeping things organized. After you declutter. Read more here.
  22. Find inner simplicity. I’m not much of a spiritual person, but I have found that spending a little time with my inner self creates a peaceful simplicity rather than a chaotic confusion. This could be time praying or communing with God, or time spent meditating or journaling or getting to know yourself, or time spent in nature. However you do it, working on your inner self is worth the time.
  23. Learn to decompress from stress. Every life is filled with stress — no matter how much you simplify your life, you’ll still have stress (except in the case of the ultimate simplifier, death). So after you go through stress, find ways to decompress. Here are some ideas.
  24. Try living without a car. OK, this isn’t something I’ve done, but many others have. It’s something I would do if I didn’t have kids. Walk, bike, or take public transportation. It reduces expenses and gives you time to think. A car is also very complicating, needing not only car payments, but insurance, registration, safety inspections, maintenance, repairs, gas and more.
  25. Find a creative outlet for self-expression. Whether that’s writing, poetry, painting, drawing, creating movies, designing websites, dance, skateboarding, whatever. We have a need for self-expression, and finding a way to do that makes your life much more fulfilling. Allow this to replace much of the busy-work you’re eliminating from your life.
  26. Simplify your goals. Instead of having half a dozen goals or more, simplify it to one goal. Not only will this make you less stressed, it will make you more successful. You’ll be able to focus on that One Goal, and give it all of your energy. That gives you much better chances for success.
  27. Single-task. Multi-tasking is more complicated, more stressful, and generally less productive. Instead, do one task at a time.
  28. Simplify your filing system. Stacking a bunch of papers just doesn’t work. But a filing system doesn’t have to be complicated to be useful. Create a simple system.
  29. Develop equanimity. If every little thing that happens to you sends you into anger or stress, your life might never be simple. Learn to detach yourself, and be more at peace.Read more.
  30. Reduce your consumption of advertising. Advertising makes us want things. That’s what it’s designed to do, and it works. Find ways to reduce your exposure of advertising, whether that’s in print, online, broadcast, or elsewhere. You’ll want much less.
  31. Live life more deliberately. Do every task slowly, with ease, paying full attention to what you’re doing. For more, see Peaceful Simplicity: How to Live a Life of Contentment.
  32. Make a Most Important Tasks (MITs) list each day. Set just 3 very important things you want to accomplish each day. Don’t start with a long list of things you probably won’t get done by the end of the day. A simple list of 3 things, ones that would make you feel like you accomplished something. See this article for more.
  33. Create morning and evening routines. A great way to simplify your life is to create routines at the start and end of your day. Read more on morning routines and evening routines.
  34. Create a morning writing ritual. If you enjoy writing, like I do, make it a peaceful, productive ritual. Article here.
  35. Learn to do nothing. Doing nothing can be an art form, and it should be a part of every life. Read the Art of Doing Nothing.
  36. Read Walden, by Thoreau. The quintessential text on simplifying. Available on Wikisources for free.
  37. Go for quality, not quantity. Try not to have a ton of stuff in your life … instead, have just a few possessions, but ones that you really love, and that will last for a long time.
  38. Read Simplify Your Life, by Elaine St. James. One of my favorite all-time authors on simplicity. Read my review here.
  39. Fill your day with simple pleasures. Make a list of your favorite simple pleasures, and sprinkle them throughout your day. List here.
  40. Simplify your RSS feeds. If you’ve got dozens of feeds, or more than a hundred (as I once did), you probably have a lot of stress in trying to keep up with them all. Simplify your feed reading. See How to Drop an RSS Feed Like a Bad Habit.
  41. But subscribe to Unclutterer. Probably the best blog on simplifying your stuff and routines (along with Zen Habits, of course!).
  42. Create an easy-to-maintain yard. If you spend too much time on your yard, here are some good tips.
  43. Carry less stuff. Are your pockets bulging. Consider carrying only the essentials. Some thoughts on that here.
  44. Simplify your online life. If you have too much going on online, here are a few ways to simplify it all. Article here.
  45. Strive to automate your income. This isn’t the easiest task, but it can (and has) been done. I’ve been working towards it myself. Article here.
  46. Simplify your budget. Many people skip budgeting (which is very important) because it’s too hard or too complicated. Read more here.
  47. Simplify your financial life. Article from a financial planning expert here.
  48. Learn to pack light. Who wants to lug a bunch of luggage around on a trip? Here’s an article on using just one carry-on.
  49. Use a minimalist productivity system. The minimal Zen To Done is all you need. Everything else is icing.
  50. Leave space around things in your day. Whether they’re appointments, or things you need to do, don’t stack them back-to-back. Leave a little space between things you need to do, so you will have room for contingencies, and you’ll go through your day much more relaxed.
  51. Live closer to work. This might mean getting a job closer to your home, or moving to a home closer to your work. Either will do much to simplify your life.
  52. Always ask: Will this simplify my life? If the answer is no, reconsider."

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