December 12, 2006

Shimon Peres: Imagine the future

The world is not in as much a mess as we think. It is just pregnant, on the verge of giving birth to a new age. But as we look into this new age it is vital that we don't dwell on the past, says Shimon (he said we could call him that; 'it's my name after all). He believes that the past is just 'not so great' and that worrying about remembering the past is pointless when the internet can remember for us. The ex-Israeli PM, regardless of your views on his politics, is actually on many educator 2.0s' wavelength.

Rather than spend time trying to remember and build on a shaky past we should seek out new things to discover and try to build better futures. For me this chimes with my own thoughts when teachers react strongly to new technologies and the completely different ways they will have to work to maintain the motivation of their kids. Their reactions reinforce the idea that was has gone before in the past is inherently good.

Shimon also alluded to schools specifically, seeing the role of schools to publish their work and share GLOBALLY. When so many countries struggle to provide adequate educationfor their children how can countries like Scotland, with an education system it is loudly proud of, keep its teaching and learning behind closed doors. In the age of the Internet it doesn't have to be this way.

In terms of growth opportunities countries such as Israel and Scotland clearly have to start realising the potential of the unknown futures ahead. Few companies nowadays, after all, are bought for all the potential they have already realised - it's what they can be nurtured to realise which has worth.

Finally, it's unreasonable and impossible today to expect people to do the same things in the same way. Governments and 'central' organisations have been doing this however, but this, says Shimon, is from the past, a past we may, I believe, have to shake.

In a true democracy it's not just about people having the right to be treated on an equal basis. It's also about about people being allowed (and supported) to be different. People must be able to go their own way, finding the future they want to discover, making the mistakes they will make and having the responsibility to correct them.

I'll let my Scottish readers fill in some gaps in the comments here. Shimon Peres' words have changed and strengthened my own beliefs that our democratic way of learning is not just a good one, but one with many futures since there are NO borders and only opportunities ahead.


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The comment about publishing pupils' work globally cannot be overstated. Its value is collosal, our wee site at East Linton has generated 150,00 hits from 36 different countries world wide. One wee boy in Primary 5 found out that over 5,000 people had viewed his work. He is now no longer a reluctant writer. We are embarking on a collaborative writing wiki which can be reached through the East Lintoin Primary School website. We hope to have global input from January of 2007 when it goes 'live'

"regardless of his politics"......
Shimon Peres is seen as a moderate compared to other Israeli politicians and received a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to acheive peace in the middle east. But he was the PM when the first Qana massacre occured, and was Vice PM during the recent conflict in Lebanon, a conflict in which Amnesty International considers the Israeli government to have been guilty of war crimes.

I'm amazed to find myself in agreement with Peres - but he's dead right about sharing education.

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

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School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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