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Learning revolution

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I'm reading the book by Thomas L Friedman, The World is Flat, The Globalised World in the Twenty-First Century, Penguin Books, 2006. Excited by the ideas in the book I decided to adapt his work to learning and education. Over 150 years ago the idea of mass education for everyone took hold and the basics have not changed even though the curriculum has adapted or accretted slowly over time. But is it time to change? I believe the answer is YES!

Friedman's thesis is that the world is changing and 'flattening'. I have attempted to summarise each chapter in his book, then comment in terms of learning and education, while using his headings and format. Please feel free to edit this page. UPDATE: I've finished the book and its full of ideas, not all of which have my full support.


How the World Became Flat

  • One: While I was Sleeping

p.6 - "massive investment in technology - cheaper computers, broadband connectivity, explosion of software - around 2000 - these created a platform where intelletual work could be delivered from anywhere- a new degree of freedom of how we do work - the playing field is being levelled" - Nandan Nilekani, CEO, Infosys Technologies Limited, Bangalore, India p.8 - "It is now possible for more people that ever to collaborate and compete in real time with more other people on more different kinds of work from more different corners of the planet and on a more equal footing than at an previous time in the history of the world." p8. - we are now connecting all the knowledge centers on the planet together into a single global network. p9. - 3 great eras of globalisation - First - 1492 (Columbus and a round world)to c.1800 - countries and muscles - horsepower, wind, steam - religion and imperialism - knitting the world together Second - 1800 to 2000 - multinational companies - industrial revolution, falling transprot costs (steam engine and railroad) then falling telecommunication costs - telegragh, telephone, computers, satellites, fiber-optic cables, early version of the world wide web. p10. Third - Third - 2000 onwards - global individuals - convergence of personal computer with fibre-optic cable and work flow software. p14. - promoting people on merit p17. - working from home c25hrs/week? - homesourcing p42. - online tutoring - india tutoring usa - p47. - changes in rules, roles and relationships more quickly than social science can capture we are going to see digitization, visualisation and automation of just about everything huge gains in productivity p48. - heirarchies are being challenged from below or are transforming themselves from topdown structures into a more horizontal and collaborative ones

  • Two: The Ten Forces That Flattened the World
    • Flattener #1. 11/9/89 - when the berlin wall went down and Windows (microsoft) went up

fall of soviet empire - capitalism and democracy dominate - balance tipped towards those advocating democratic, consensual, freemarket oriented governance and away from those advocating authoritarian rule with centrally planned economies. common standards - free movement of best practices - totalitarian systems depend upon a monopoly of information and force - 1990 windows 3.0 released - removed the limit on the amount of information any single individual could amass, author, manipulate and diffuse. digital representation of all the important forms of expression - words, music, numeric data, maps, photographs, (and now voice and video)..then dial-up modems - and global phone network - global exchange of information -

    • Flattener #2. 8/9/95 - new age of connectivity - netscape and web browsers - web sites and email - more people connecting
    • Flattener #3. Work Flow Software - the creation and manipulation of digital content - standardisation of formats for words, music, images, data - standardised internet protocols (smtp, html,http) the internet transport system - a global platform for a global workforce of people and computers - ebay and paypal - web-based software, business tools and learning - the virtual global office - emppowering more individuals than ever to become authors of their own digtital content - a global platform for collaboration
    • Flattener #4. Uploading - community developed software - individual uploading of content or as part of a community - a change from consumers to being also producers - free or open source software - community discussion groups - group solving of problems - blogging, uploading news and comments - wiki websites where anyone can edit a page - individuals can participate and make their voice heard
    • Flattener #5. Outsourcing - breaking work up into units and getting the work done where it is good and cheap - intellectual/digital work can be done anywhere - getting tutored in america by people in india - outsourcing is getting a specific but limited aspect of your work done by another company and then reintegrating the work done back into your overall operation
    • Flattener #6. Offshoring - getting the work done by your company but somewhere else in the world
    • Flattener #7. Supply-Chaining - collaborating horizontally among suppliers, retailers and customers to create value - requires common standards - information (what customers want/buying) is given o manufacturers and designers faster so they can send it back down the supply chain - tailoring products to our individual wants and needs - large scale efficiency
    • Flattener #8. Insourcing - another company comes in and organises/becomes your global supply chain, an intimate cooperation between companies
    • Flattener #9. In-forming - google search, equal access to information - everything and everyone - knowlege, interest groups, people - connection to things that interest them, quickly and easily become experts in given subjects and connect with others who share their interests - search is self empowerment and not reliant on being taught - empowering global communities eg yahoo groups -
    • Flattener #10. The Steroids - digital, mobile, personal and virtual
  • Three: The Triple Convergence
  • Four The Great Sorting Out

America and the Flat World

  • Five: America and Free Trade
  • Six: The Untouchables
  • Seven: The Right Stuff
  • Eight: The Quiet Crisis
  • Nine: This is Not a Test

Developing Countries and the Flat World

  • Ten: The Virgin of Guadalupe

Companies and the Flat World

  • Eleven: How Companies Cope

Geopolitics and the Flat World

  • Twelve: The Unflat World
  • Thirteen: Globalisation of the Local
  • Fourteen: The Dell Theory of Conflict Prevention

Conclusion: Imagination

  • Fifteen: 11/9 Versus 9/11

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