It is still technically summer in the Northern Hemisphere, although the leaves will already be turning in Glasgow and Montreal. Also turning are the busy minds of our colleagues in education marketing and recruitment. September is not an easy time of year, as last ditch efforts to fill places and pull data on the results of our efforts are taking up much of our bandwidth.
This is a great time of year for others to do some thinking for us, and the ever reliable folks at TED Talks never seem to miss a beat. It might be a while since you've dipped in to see what is happening in the TEDaverse, so we've done it for you. We have pulled out 3 great videos for you to click, sit back, enjoy and perhaps even spark some ideas as we enter the new academic year.
We love this one, and you will too. In only 7 minutes, Haugabrook brings us a reminder that the rush to embody the best of technology in education risks losing focus on the purpose of education itself. Education is a human right, but yet those privileged few who access the best learning experiences get the best opportunities, and the divide remains between those who have and those who have not.
Aside from being completely unjust, this inequity means that the vast majority of people in this world have significant barriers to opportunity. In a world of climate breakdown, social decay and economic upheaval, we need all hands on deck, and that means throwing the door wide open. Better yet, get rid of the door altogether.
Technology opens up the possibility to reach so many new learners, and open up new horizons for them in a way that could simply never happen in the practical realities of a physical college campus. As Executive Director of the Social Impact Collective at Southern New Hampshire University, which models the approach explored in this TED Talk, Haugabrook aspires to the vision of
"A re-imagined world where a learner, regardless of life conditions, can navigate a pathway that unlocks greater opportunity, social capital, and upward mobility."
All institutions can play their part in this, and broadening access means a new dimension to the role of our peers in education marketing and recruitment. Have a look, and see what you think. How might you be able to support this shift personally? How might you influence your institution to do so professionally?
There are quite a few talks on optimism appearing, and it struck as a topic. Do you feel, as we do, that there is a sense of challenge to our lives right now, against the backdrop of global instability, war, climate change, and the "great reset" we are still waiting for after the pandemic? There is a lot going on, and perhaps of course there always was, and we are just more aware of it now in the age of information.
In such a context, it is easy to feel that we are simply trying to react. AI is going to take our jobs, so we better learn something that only humans can do. Education is increasingly digital, so we have to get moving with Web3 and make sure we are there too. In all of this, we are reacting to big forces that feel separated from us, and are often quite hard to grasp.
Tom Rivett-Carnac takes us through the process of finding agency in our lives, despite the uncertainty. How do we find meaning through action, rather than reaction? The answer is in our individual minds and collective psychology, and embracing this can bring us peace and purpose. We feel strongly about this at NEO Academy, trying to build community and make a difference where we can, and learn from our mistakes when we can not. Talks like this help us reflect on this process, and zoom out a bit on what it all means to try and support the kind of world you actually want to live in.
We at geNEOus (formerly NEO Academy) are Metaverse fans (have you noticed?) but that does not mean we are all in. Being blind to the challenges of new technology is to do all stakeholders a disservice. The renaissance brought the first real wave of mass access to knowledge and literature as the printing press helped spread ideas far and wide, but this brought conflict and division, and certainly didn't help those accused of witchcraft very much. Web 2.0 brought mass access to free information, but also a wave of social anxiety, body negativity, conspiracy theories and all those other lovely byproducts.
Byproducts of what? Having a tool we don't really know how to use effectively. This is Mantegna's point- that we are creatures of habit, and the Metaverse runs the risk of simply perpetuating the old Web 2.0 problems in a Web 3.0 world. If Web 3.0 is a tool, and it most certainly is, then we need to maximize the way we use its function. This is where we come back to the thing that appealed to us about the Metaverse in the first place-the possibility to reinvent our digital world and positively impact the physical one while we're at it.
This talk does not pull punches, and claims that Web 3.0 is "already on fire", but its tone is one of hope and faith in the better angels of our nature, and the higher aspirations of humanity at its best.
We hope you liked these 3 recommendations, and that at least one of them sparked something, or even fed the flames of a feeling or idea that needed a nudge. When we can change our attitudes or aspirations because of a conversation, a book, a moment of reflection, we really are on the right path; always growing and developing. Enjoy the start of the new academic year, and we hope you will walk this path a little further with us as we grow together.