Vera Nova

Director Research Analysis, NOVA Town Futuristic Development

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What kind of basic knowledge shall we offer to the young students from now on?

What kind of basic knowledge shall we offer to the young students from now on? Shall we continue to train young minds to serve our existing failing social, economic, educational and political systems, supporting our recycling conventional mentality and bad habits, or shall we bring some inspirational ideas suggesting re-thinking our very existence in whole? Shall our new schools become greenhouses for growing talents and originality, planting meaningful thoughts, new wisdom and ethics, that may turn into inspirational and useful projects of all kinds? Shall we introduce every young person to the idea that he/she is not meant to be a tiny segment of the crowd but a responsible learning denizen of the globe?

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    Aug 9 2011: There is no power greater than the power over ones self. To know that you tried(whether win or lose), treat people with kindness and compassion, to trust yourself to make decisions that will impat your life in positive ways, and to be resilient. In doing so, you reach the highest self in knowing you can trust your character, morals, and values while never giving up on learning, becoming a better person, growing as individuals, or your dreams! Like ying and yang...even the most horrific events and situations can impact your life in a positive way. It is your choice to see it that way!
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    Aug 16 2011: My point is that if we will keep believing that our existing technology, knowledge and sciences, mass production industries, and politics can create a great progress and convenient life - we are deadly mistaken. We have a long, long way to understand what we are, and what we are really doing on this planet. Therefore we are all students of life.

    I suggest that schools have to change the ways to teach because the teachers are not only to teach but to openly LEARN together with students. I suggest classical philosophy, from Greek philosophy (in a Forums fashion) to Schopenhauer, and basic knowledge about human sensory perceptions, behavioral psychology and ethics. Yes, schools have to introduce students to sciences and technological methods, instruments, tools and toys, explaining that technology does not really prove our super intelligence, but it compensates for our poor intuition and undeveloped sensory perceptions.

    The wisdom of life is not about economy, politics, sciences or wealth. Students are to figure out, or choose on their own what might be important in their lives, and how to respectfully play their roles.
    Without direct coexistence with nature we learn almost nothing about our reality. Schools have to be surrounded at least, by gardens. I believe that a lot can be learned from working on independent unique projects, based on students' group participation.


    Does this help?
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    Aug 12 2011: Good conversation, epic question.

    By full understanding of how to navigate the internet, after that how to critically think, then practice using of both, would make academic education have to reform within a decade.

    Many kids need to know how to use technology, make sure they know how to use an iphone for more than just games and Facebook. the problem with how we present technology creates that bubble of illusion. If we looked at these phones with eyes of them being tools and not toys, we would create a huge economy and network of interconnected people.

    Friendships, educations, and an enjoyable life... all by having knowledge about technology and being stimulated intellectually? Crazy-ness! Not! Give kids stuff to be creative with, they will surprise the hell out of you.

    A few words to know and to reflect on involving education: cognitive, cognition, and seriously... anything relative to cognitive science is a good read to know how the human mind works.

    You see future educators. We are machines, and cognitive science is the study of how that machine receives information from all of our senses .http://health.howstuffworks.com/mental-health/human-nature/perception/question242.htm And all of our body as well as mind. How we learn overall, consciously and unconsciously is being studied as I type, keep up with the information. Spread said information!

    Stimulated positive emotions CONSTANTLY with education...challenge their emotions and their minds.

    Above all, please, teach how to receive and to give criticism.. The world can do a lot better with people who are not easily offended when they feel "stupid" for not knowing something. As children we expect not to know and are okay with learning, this is natural, it is also natural to become territorial. Guess what, you can over think your instants. TEACH THAT. Tell me how you would and we will be friends!

    Very zen Vera.

    So much to say so little space.
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    Aug 11 2011: 1.Teach them how to learn, teach them about how to study efficiently ,how the find what they passionate on.
    2.language,both their mother language and a lingua franca, such as english or french
    3.philosophy, both western and eastern
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      Aug 12 2011: 2. Although french is relative to a lot of European languages (such as Spanish)... Mandarin and/or Spanish would still be more preferable for secondary languages....
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        Aug 12 2011: I just know mandarin is Chinese Putonghua。。。it's my mother language。。。
        i think it depends on where u wanna go and your mother language.
        Mandarin can only use in china, and most of Chinese has a strong accent. but u have to know: if u want to stay in china, u must know it.Cause only few Chinese can SPEAK English.

        to cut a long story short,when u start to learn a language ,u have to think about if u can acquire it and if it worth doing. French is not very different(if u don't care too much on grammar), and it can open me a door to European languages and north Africa .As for u, maybe Mandarin and Spanish is more useful, isn't it?

        by the way, never ever try to learn how to write Mandarin (especially traditional ) by your hand, it will drive u crazy. and if u interest in pick up some Mandarin, i 'm can help u, though i'm not very good at it(i have a little south accent)
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    Aug 11 2011: we are falling behind. USA needs to teach more at a earlier age and HOLD PARENTS ACCOUNTABLE! BUILD EDUCATIONAL GAMES FOR XBOX AND PS3! kids are spending 3-5hrs a day on gaming. The educational system needs a high tech overhaul and also needs more money. the dumbest thing we can do it take money away from education. why would we not educate the most free country in the world.
    we have to have more subjects. put more importance on the ARTS. SCIENCE IS THE KEY.
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    Aug 11 2011: Thumbs up to Thomas for a great list.

    I can add that there is a process of recovering from hurts that has been unawarely trained out of us.(ex: "What are you laughing at?" and "I'll give you something to cry about!") Laughing, crying, yawning, shaking and talking(non-repetitively) are all parts of he process that nature - or God - has given us. Failure to clear out the accumulated hurts interferes with clear thinking and installs negative behavior patterns. Those negative patterns may also have started due to denial of attention, a true human need. In order to gain attention, children will resort to negative behavior. (Even a spanking is better than no attention at all.) Rather than having "talks" we need to have "listens" with no unsolicited advice, no criticism, and no snide remarks. There is more to this, but, you see the general idea.

    One more thing that I wish all people to realize: our purpose in life is to serve each other. With everyone acting on this, despotism and avarice will be left behind.
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    Aug 10 2011: HISTORY!! how can we know where we are going if we dont know where we have been?
  • Aug 10 2011: Technology and Entrepreneurship
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    Aug 16 2011: HOW TO PRACTICALLY start building such schools without endless fights with the establishment?

    I see that new non-profit organizations can play a crucial role in making such changes. Non-profits are usually aiming to assist in disasters and poverty. I see our recycling mentality, lack of sound thinking and "doing", information-obesity based on "experts analyses and predictions" leading to mass psychosis, as a major disaster for local and global communities.

    We have a non-profit organization that is looking for your possible participation in building this school of the future. If you are interested contact us info@novatownsite.org How would you design this school, or create new exciting programs?
  • Aug 15 2011: Vera, would yiou say the world is as it should be putting aside innovation/tech towards conviniience of man as Thomas Jones discusses.
    Our education system is defined to drive what we see of the world ie what is right and wrong and priorities and order of importance etc. If there was ever a reason to change this scenario where would you suggest we start?
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    Aug 15 2011: I think until our human minds will find some way to evolve our intuition, we will need to process different data/info using our man-made symbols whether they are math, or physics, or our language.

    I just wish to see that students understand that they are dealing with human constructions - not with the world's nature. We use our artificial methods to deal with our reality only because we cannot keep up with the natural world around us. If I could instinctively communicate in great distances like birds, or trees, or any other living creatures, I would not need a phone, Internet or a compass.

    I guess we are very helpless without our man-made tools of all kinds.
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    Aug 15 2011: While learning in class students can be given a wonderful opportunity to create their own small society within themselves, learn to understand, help, collaborate with each other. Only if they create real projects and work on them together to the completion they will have a great chance to develop their own unique characters, talents or special interests.

    Projects can be very different, from running an "ancient Forum " to building a futuristic town, or from designing a greenhouse to writing poetry. How do you think teachers may be involved as thoughtful mentors?
  • Aug 15 2011: I think there is a tremendous need to teach programming. It is often construed as requiring a lot of esoteric knowledge about instruction sets, language specs, data formats, etc. which is true at a higher level where things are more specialized, but I think the fundamentals are of universal utility. A great deal of knowledge comes in the form of algorithms, for example almost all elementary math is algorithms, students are taught to write using algorithms, they are even made to behave according to algorithms. But I see a problem with teaching students to follow algorithms rather than to design their own. With knowledge of programing comes the ability to appreciate algorithms that are effective, efficient and elegantly designed and also the ability to question those that are not.
    A dialect lisp, for example scheme, would be a good language choice because it has simple syntax (no need to worry about type declarations, objects, pointers, etc.) while still retaining the power easily express some very deep programming concepts.
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      Aug 16 2011: Technology and programming are important tools but... Not only we, humans, go crazy in isolation from nature, (whether we are educated or not), but no birds, or mice, or monkeys can "normally" live in a cage. Myriads of nearsighted researchers who still do not understand that they cannot collect any truthful data based on watching and experimenting on caged animals. Many of us become "caged animals" in our postmodern artificial society. This man-made environment provokes all kinds of confusion, extreme behavior, including mass-psychosis "driving" our economy, "inspiring" hysterical arts, crime and depression.

      I believe that we should find an intelligent "proportion" in our mode of living. I mean we cannot survive in real wilderness, as we are, but we can find some better ways to co-exist with the real living world.

      We are born naked, and unlike other animals we haven't developed any furs. We stay unprotected without our artificial clothing. We cannot see, or fly as birds do, and unlike other living creatures we cannot find faraway destinations without compasses. We cannot run as fast as jaguars but instead of running we use cars. We cannot communicate instantly as the whole natural world does, therefore we build phones and computers.

      Though as we now use our devices we still cannot understand each other any better. I do not see much of our "superior intelligence" compared with the highly intuitive, fantastically "equipped" animal world. I see that as human animals, we are actually handicapped creatures, who prefer to Replace this Natural process of adapting to environmental change, by building our artificial tools, devices and technological toys.

      We do not comprehend what we really do, because we keep suppressing our nature-given intuition depending on technology.

      What can be done to balance our life in this artificial isolation?
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    Aug 15 2011: Wonderful comment, Thomas. "As a child, Krishna was in school and his teacher was teaching the class how to count. The students were to go home and come back the next day able to count to some number (maybe 10.)

    The teacher got to Krishna, and Krishna said, "One," and stopped talking.

    The teacher said, "Yes. And what comes after one?"

    Krishna responded, "When you can tell me what one is, I will tell you what comes after."

    How many intuitive young minds are getting tamed before they grow up?
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    Aug 15 2011: If we follow a very simple logic the foundation of math appears as a dangerously shaky construction. When I say the real foundation of our knowledge, including sciences, is missing, I mean that we still ignore the natural laws of our own perceptions. Small children who are very intuitive deserve to know the truth about how little we know and how amazingly imperfect our postmodern knowledge of nature and ourselves is. I'm not a dreamer and love to see my projects getting realized, but I understand that this might take sometime for us to learn HOW to listen to our very young children, LEARN from their questions and explanations. In my personal opinion none of the laws discovered in physics are universal. These are the laws that are to limit and govern our own sensory perceptions, especially, our very playful perception of sight. Except that we go through instant entire change, we do not really know almost anything about the mighty world out there.

    I have not come to this recently but these thoughts have come to my mind in my early childhood. I had to struggle, was ignored or punished in schools for not following conventions. However from great Protagoras and his profound teaching, to Henri Bergson and Merleau-Ponty, we have a great deal to learn how our perceptions effect what we "see", "learn", "measure" and "judge" as "the world". This should be taught in elementary schools. This what I call the foundation of knowledge, whether we deal with our everyday life, math, sciences, technology, ethics, cosmos, philosophy or poetry.

    HOW we see and WHY --- IS immensely more IMPORTANT than What we see.
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    Aug 12 2011: Werner Heisenberg was a grand philosopher, not just a great physicist. He was aware that no matter how confident we, humans/scientists, might be while gluing made-up names onto the descriptions of some observed events (such as "quarks", "particles" or "waves"), nature is not at all about what we, humans, see based on our very limited sensory perceptions. His message is that we shall not play with things we do not really understand, and we shall not so trust to what we think, we "know", but we very much need to respect what we might Not really know.

    The principals of the best teaching are rooted in endless learning.
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    Aug 12 2011: "As the biggest library if it is in disorder is not as useful as a small but well-arranged one, so you may accumulate a vast amount of knowledge but it will be of far less value than a much smaller amount if you have not thought it over for yourself."
    Arthur Schopenhauer
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    Aug 11 2011: True. Unfortunately our history just points that people keep making the same mistakes over and over again.
    I personally believe that history needs to be read in many interpretations, so one can learn based on his own comparison.
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      Aug 11 2011: QUOTE: "Unfortunately our history just points that people keep making the same mistakes over and over again."

      This is not entirely accurate. If it were, we would still be hauling water and chopping wood.

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      Teach:

      Thinking skills (i.e. Edward de Bono's material or other)
      Listening skills
      Life skills (diet, exercise, how to manage personal finances, etc.)
      Practical skills (making something - anything)
      Interpersonal skills
      Reading
      Math
      World History
      Research skills
      Art
      Play
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        Aug 12 2011: Hello dear Thomas. I see no mistakes in hauling water and chopping wood. However our man-made systems would not allow us to do such things. The more so called postmodern comfort we create around us, the more energy, lubrication, fixing tools and services we need to use. We serve our questionable systems that do not truly serve us, however these systems often not only slip out of our control very quickly, but paradoxically limit, retard and tame our mentality. Our social, business, banking, utility, transportation, or communication systems commonly manipulate our everyday life with their complicated demands, or "surprise" us with unexpected break downs. We create and use our internet, or airplanes, or produce clothing, but not because we are more intelligent than the rest of the living world. Why is that we have not managed to develop any real wings, or some natural ability to communicate instantly in great distances, and why is our naked skin still stays unprotected from the weather....etc,. When I was a little student I asked these questions, but no teacher was able to give me any answers.

        Your "teach" list looks thoughtful but it needs a sound foundation - it is missing a very crucial concept of HOW and WHAT to "teach" and "learn". A great teacher never stops learning, and never presents any learning material as a final truth, to leave some space for intuitive and innovative young minds for revising old ideas and looking for something new. The average teacher can only train students to memorize and mimic some approved by a school system data. It is always a big question whether a teacher demonstrates "the best" literature, or absolute universal laws in math or physics. Our human history is toooo short and our knowledge and experience is still extremely limited. The ultimate school of all we may attend is nature itself, even though no one graduates it.

        Glad you joined this conversation.
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          Aug 12 2011: QUOTE: "Your "teach" list looks thoughtful but it needs a sound foundation - it is missing a very crucial concept of HOW and WHAT to "teach" and "learn"."

          Perhaps you could clarify what you mean by "needs a sound foundation."

          Personally, I believe thinking to be a particularly good component of a sound foundation.

          Hauling water and chopping wood is an idiom that conveys, by comparison to modern convenience, the notion we have made progress in certain regards. Something we would not have done had we only made the same mistakes over and over again.
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        Aug 15 2011: As a very young teenager I decided to go to one of the most difficult technical colleges in Europe to study math and thermodynamics.
        I had to take a special test. It included 2 problems that were a major challenge. I solved the problems in a few different ways, but did not manage with the exam's smaller tasks. I thought I was doomed.
        I was very surprised when I passed, but was asked to attend the math department where I met this Professor of math sciences. He told me that he wanted to see me because he had never thought that those problems could be solved in such ways. He also said "If you want to graduate that college you cannot play by your rules, but study and obey established conventions until you get your diploma".

        I was not the only child who kept bewildering teachers. In my elementary school this little girl said that 1+1=1, which in my opinion, was the only perfect logical answer. I was the best math student in school, just because I knew that math was just a wonder world of ridiculous games with numbers and symbols. Why? I did not read B. Russell and A. N. Whitehead at that time, but it was clear to me that there were no exactly the same copies in reality, and in order to get 2 from 1+1 one should have had very crude vision. In order to see 1 and another different!! 1 these 1s must be somehow different - not at all the same. If 1 and 1 and 1..... is the exactly, perfectly same unite, it will stay the same unchanged 1 no matter how many times you take it. I'm writing a book that explains in simple terms of logic why our exact sciences are only possible if based on great crudeness of our perceptions of everything we see, and why math rules cannot function at all without grand approximations. These observations are familiar to some kids, struggling to understand and follow conventional demands.

        The laws of our human perceptions are very unique, but I have no space to continue this comment. Please read my next comment
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          Aug 15 2011: Hi Vera,

          You may like the story of Krishna. As a child, Krishna was in school and his teacher was teaching the class how to count. The students were to go home and come back the next day able to count to some number (maybe 10.)

          The teacher got to Krishna, and Krishna said, "One," and stopped talking.

          The teacher said, "Yes. And what comes after one?"

          Krishna responded, "When you can tell me what one is, I will tell you what comes after."

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          It seems you have an aptitude for math.

          As wonderful as math is, it is simply another way of describing what is. And as you say, our descriptions are limited by our perceptions.

          I suppose that is one of the reasons Einstein said:

          "Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand."