Sustainable Agriculture Institute

Future of Education Manifesto

Manifesto:

Is a published verbal declaration of the intentions, motives, or views of the issuer, be it an individual, group, political party or government. A manifesto usually accepts a previously published opinion or public consensus and/or promotes a new idea with prescriptive notions for carrying out changes the author believes should be made. It often is political or artistic in nature, but may present an individual’s life stance.

Background:

The Sustainable Agriculture Institute Future of Permaculture Design Education Manifesto was authored by one of the founders of the Institute, Beau Wickboldt, to draw to light the changing nature of the world and of Permaculture Design Education and the future ability for education to be available to an ever far-reaching society at large.

 

The basic premise for the manifesto is that:

 

“Education use to be the privilege of the elite, now it’s the privilege of the dedicated; Online Education is the new privileged mode of learning in our modern society.”

Beau Wickboldt, Founder Sustainable Agriculture Institute

 

The founders of the Institute saw the need for their personal backgrounds and expertise to be put into a project that would work to create an online Permaculture Deisng and Sustainability Educational Platform that would allow for powerful “life knowledge subjects” the ability to reach and impact a large audience.

They understood that for the change they wanted to see in the world, they would have to work and donate of themselves to help make the change a reality. After two years of hard dedicated work, they released to the world an online Permaculture Design Educational Platform (e-Campus Education Platform) that is destined to become a game changer in the world of Permaculture Design Education.

No longer is the only way to get a top-notch Permaculture Design Education tied to your ability to have or borrow large sums of money. The e-Campus Education Platform bridges the gap between the Permaculture Design Educator and the Permaculture Design Student making the learning environment more interactive, dynamic and for the Dedicated Learner a much more inspired and ultimately more creative environment to facilitate learning.

Learning is not just regurgitation of information, it is taking the information into ones being and making it a part of one’s life.

The e-Campus Education Platforms weaves the static with the dynamic to make a subject come to life. It allows the Permaculture Design Educator to truly express the breath of their subject knowledge to give the student a more holistic and ultimately a richer learning experience.

While some will still find value in the physical learning environment and the social prestige it may afford, the “Dedicated Learner” will find that the immersive learning environment afforded by the e-Campus makes their learning journey one that will open their eyes to the possibilities of the world and ultimately allow them the tools to go and make the world a better place.

 

What is Online Permaculture Design Education and how does it differ from traditional educational practices:

To understand the differences between the two forms of learning, we have to look at what makes each unique from the other. We will start by looking at the pros and cons of traditional educational practices and then the pros and cons for Online Education.

With and in-depth analysis we will be able to decide where and when each type of educational practice is most valid and where we can make improvements in each respectively.

It is not the position of the Sustainable Agriculture Institute to say that on-line education is the only way to educate students, but rather that it is the future of education, as related to the majority of social classes.

There will always be differentiations in learning, as long as there is a differentiation in the social classes. The elite will strive to single out their education as more relevant or of a higher standard than that of the education afforded to the lower classes.

We feel that this is not because the physical educational environment is more or less equipped to provide education, but rather as a reflection of how the elite value something based on the price associated to it. To examine and compare the two educational environments fairly, we have at look to the differences in the cost, as well as the differences in the learning environment.

The social interactions and resources clearly how each is facilitated and its value in relation to the others in the overall educational experience.

The value of the education is not directly related to the cost, as overheads of physical education make up most of the cost of the education.

But, before we delve into the exploration of learning and context, let’s see if we can look at what an education, irrelevant of where it came from, affords the receiver of the education in comparison to someone that had not had the educational advantage. We will need to look at this from two prospectives, the students and the employer.

 

To help bring this exploration to life lets here about a story of a father and his son:

 

The son was born to an affluent family and was afforded all the opportunities that his parent’s station on society could bestow upon him. He went to the best schools in their city, lived in the best subdivision, wore the best clothes (he was a preppie), and got his first car at 15. He lacked for nothing.

His parents were educated and strove to educate him. He was taught all the social graces. The parents were careful not to spoil their son, but instill a sense of responsibility, work ethic and social empathy. They taught him to love learning and reading became his passion. He read and found the more he read the more the world opened before him. He did all he was told, he believed his parents had his best intentions in their heart, so he followed their lead. It was a very good life indeed.

But as the boy grew and the more he learned he started to question certain reasoning’s behind what was the intended plan for his life. He knew the plan was a sound one, prepared by his parents, but nonetheless, he wondered if their might be a different way in life. The son was a good son and reasoned again that father knows best, so he succeeded in high school, both in intellect and sports. He then did what all the other graduating students did, apply for University. He decided to take the same major as his father as he reasoned that if father did well, he would too.

So the budding man went off to University, to learn all the life lessons that would allow him to succeed in life. During his time in school he worked at his father’s company and learned the business from the inside out. This was not the normal route, as none of his fellow school mates were working as the position that they would when they graduated. But his position in life afforded him yet again an opportunity not afforded to others. But as the years pasted in both school and at the company he started to realize that what was being taught at school did not really match up to what was needed to be done to succeed at the company.

The son started to question the reasoning for staying in school when it was not going to make him a better worker for the company. So one day he went to see his father and discuss why he should stay in school and not stop and work full time in the company.

His father being a wise man and wanting to help his son in the impasse in his life asked him the following question:

Son, I have to make a decision to hire one of two candidates. The first candidate has just graduated from a prestigious university in the top 10% of his class, but with no job experience. The other candidate has worked for five years and has gained work experience for the position. Which of the candidates should I hire and why?
The son thought for a while as it was not the first time his father had asked him a thought provoking questions.

He reasoned the following options:

a) If his father was to pick the one from the prestigious school the candidate would have no real training as pertaining to what he really needed to do his job at the company and would need to be trained which would cause the company to spend time and money in training on the new employee;

b) If his father was to pick the candidate with valid work experience then the company would not need to spend as much time and money on the training of the employee and thus would save money, which he reasoned was making money.

The son then told his father of his choice of option b) and why. The father then explained the following to his son so he could see the answer is sometimes not as it seems. The father explained that it may seem that option b) would be the logical choice from his son’s perspective, but from the perspective of the employer, it would not be the safest option.

Without explaining what the safest meant the father asked a series of questions of his son, this was the son knew well the father’s way of teaching him some profound life lesson so he listened closely.

 

I. Why do people go to University to get a degree, when they could choose to just go to work and gain experience?
II. Why does the employer pick the fresh graduate over someone with five years’ experience as the safe bet?
III. What is the purpose of going to school and what is it teaching or preparing us for?

 

There was no need for the son to reply as he knew as in this point in the lecture his father would tell him the answers as to not waste his father’s valuable time. The answers to these questions give us insight into the reasoning behind the school and how we might improve the learning experience at the same time giving safer choices to the employer.

 

I. Why do people go to University to get a degree when they could choose to just go to work and gain experience?

 

The father explained that the value of the degree had to be taken in three distinct parts from his perspective.

a. What school had the candidate graduated from;
b. What was the candidates Grade Point Average (GPA);
c. And what work experience did the candidate have during his school studies.

 

a. What school had the candidate graduated from;

Where the candidate graduated from addressed the perceived academic rigor of the school. The father went on to explain that from his prospective the rigor of one school over another allowed him to gauge the candidates GPA as opposed to another candidate from a different school with a different GPA. The reasoning was that one candidate with a high GPA, but at an academic inferior school would not rank as high against another candidate with a slightly lower GPA from a higher academic school.

 

b. What was the candidates Grade Point Average (GPA);

The reason for importance on the GPA was that it was an indicator of the ranking of the candidate throughout his academic carrier as compared with his fellow classmates. The father explained that the GPA showed how well the student did in learning class content and passing a test and relearning a new class and content and passing another test in relationship to his classmates. The father’s reasoning would allow him to know how well the candidate would be able to uptake new knowledge of something the company wanted the new employee to learn and would more than likely hold true for the term of his employment with the company. This was an unknown statistic with the candidate from option a) with only experience but no education, ie: no testing against his peers.

 

c. And what work experience did the candidate have during his school studies.

The candidate’s work experience was important as what the candidate worked as and how the candidate put himself through school could give insight into the candidate’s work ethic. The father explained that it was not only ones intellect that made for a good employee, but also his work ethic.

With the lesson on hiring conclude the father informed his son that if he did not complete his studies he would be ineligible for employment with the company and suggest that the son continue with his studies and to come back and see him upon his completion and politely ask him to leave his office.
The lesson of this story is very clear, ones position in life does have bearing on ones ease in entering certain societal areas, but the success in one’s carrier is more based on ones intellect and work ethic as compared to one’s peers.

With this in mind let’s look at how we can compare the differences between online and physical education and how we can meet the criteria of the father for success in employment.

 

Ten Main Differences between online and physical education as follows:

 

1. Prestige
2. Location
3. Facilities
4. Educators Qualifications and Support
5. Pedagogical Planning
6. Curriculum Control
7. Student – Teacher Interaction
8. Student – Student Interaction
9. Research Opportunities
10. Practicum (Hands on Activities to reinforce curriculum)

 

Ten Main Differences between Online and Physical Education

 

1. Prestige

We list prestige first as it is the most difficult of the 10 differences to quantify and apply a direct value, as prestige has many factors which give rise to one educational institutions prestige over another’s.

 

We can attempt to breakdown the factors of prestige as follows:

a) School’s History and Traditions;
b) School’s Collegium (past graduates) social success;
c) School’s reputation for academic rigor.

 

a) School’s History and Age

Online education is at a distinct disadvantage in relation to the length of the time it has been in existence in relation to a physical schools location. Harvard one of America’s oldest Universities has a long history and tradition, but this would not be a valid argument to say that its physical education would be more valuable than its online education. If Harvard was to offer an online class in its curriculum, would it then dis-value the student’s degree by a percentage? The answer is no, as the University would assure that the class was of the same standard as the other physical classes and very well could be thought by the same teacher.

 

b) School’s Collegium social success

The success of a collegium after completing an educational program can be measured in many ways. One must not fall into the trap of measuring the success of the collegium solely on the social success of the graduates, as in the case of many Ivey League schools the students are already in a high social status and thus the economic ability for them to attend the school may very well be directly associated with their social status or more importantly that of their parents. This proceeding social status can have great effect on the social success of the graduate after completing their studies. When we look closely we can see that again the value on the education may be based on Prestige and not necessarily the level of learning of the student or their ability to apply that learning.

 

c) School’s reputation for academic rigor.

A school’s reputation for academic rigor can be derived from ?????????????.

 

2. Location

The location of an educational program can have some bearing on the perception of the value of the program, but one has to ponder the question of does this perceived value actually reflect the value of the knowledge obtained. For this reflection, we will explore the differences afforded by the Online vs. Physical models of education and their respective real value to education attainment and not prestige.

a. Online in a virtual environment where the student could be anywhere in the world with an internet connection, the Educators are on pre-recorder video or live streams and the assessments are submitted online;
b. Physical campus where the student comes in person and receives their education from Educators directly in person and where the assessments are monitored by physical persons.