IAE-pedia Purpose and Philosophy
The Information Age officially began in the United States in 1956: the year the U. S. had more "white collar" workers workers than "blue collar" workers. This Information Age movement away from agricultural and manufacturing employment continues. The U. S. educational system is struggling to accommodate appropriately the ensuing rapid progress in Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
IAE-pedia exists to aid in this struggle. Some components of IAE’s underlying ideas and philosophy are:
- Humans face very challenging problems, individually and collectively. The most important problems concern preserving and improving the sustainability and quality of life on our planet Earth.
- The intact human brain is naturally curious, is always involved in processing data, and is a lifelong learner. All people know how to learn and get better at learning through practice and through informal and formal education. All people, intentionally or not, teach themselves and others. All our lives, we learn and we teach.
- The Information Age is bringing us powerful aids to learning and to communicating and processing information. It is also bringing us a very rapid increase in the totality of information that one might want to learn and use. We each face an information overload and an environment of rapid change.
Improving Our Educational System
Historically, educational systems have been quite conservative and slow to change. They have been designed to preserve and support the societies in which they are embedded.
However, it is clear that educational systems can and do substantially change over time. One issue our current educational systems faces is whether they can change fast enough in an appropriate manner to meet our needs in a rapidly changing world.
For example, ICT is producing major changes in the way people interact, conduct business, get their education, entertain themselves, etc. Furthermore, our increased understanding of biology (especially genomes), cognitive neuroscience (brain science), computer technology, medicine, nanotechnology, and other disciplines are powerful, ongoing change agents. At the same time, we are gaining an increased understanding of the challenges of ecological and environmental sustainability. Informal and formal education plays a major role in our dealing with such changes. Natural questions are what shall the role be, and how shall it be played?
Just about everybody has ideas about how to improve education. The task is huge, and there are many plausible approaches to accomplishing pieces of the task. The problem is not one of having good ideas. The problem is one of having the resources and the will to implement good ideas successfully.
Individually and collectively, people solve problems and accomplish tasks by using their physical and mental capabilities. Research and development in science and technology is providing us with a rapid increase in the capabilities of tools that boost our physical and mental capabilities. Consider this example: A significant part of the collected human information and knowledge is being digitized and stored in computerized information storage and retrieval systems. These computerized systems are designed to help users find information they are looking for. They are also designed to solve or help to solve many different problems on command. Modern factories automate many physical tasks; many computer programs automate designated mental tasks.
Such uses for computer systems are now commonplace—except in curriculum content, teaching and learning processes, and assessment in our schools. If you doubt this assertion, think about whether students are routinely allowed to make use of ICT when taking tests; as a routine aid to learning in each discipline they study; and as a routine aid to solving problems, accomplishing tasks, and producing products based on what they are learning.
To conclude this subsection, consider another example. Highly Interactive Intelligent Computer-Assisted Learning (HIICAL) is proving to be a powerful aid to students learning faster and better in many different disciplines and levels of education. Why isn’t this powerful aid to teaching and learning routinely available to students at all grade levels and in all curriculum areas?