The transformation of academy to Economic and well-being clusters


We are in an age of complex challenges which demands a broader vision, capabilities in critical thinking and logical deduction without which we cannot have constructive progress.

Students are entitled to expect that they will succeed in learning something of value when they are groomed by schools and colleges. If they don’t succeed, they are entitled to know immediately that they have not. And when they have not succeeded, they have the right to expect that they will be involved in learning that makes success more likely on their next try. Education, which cannot subscribe to these ideas—neither in their words nor in actions—are not likely to manage effectively.

Young Kids should be more engaged in open possibilities with unbridled curiosity, passion for problem solving, taking risks and strong ethics. Present education and society’s wrong expectations are shifting them from those great characters which are the need of the hour.

Unpredictably is the norm of the day. The magnitude of cultural, societal, industrial, technological, environmental and other unforeseen events is so complex that, in order to handle those complex challenges we need to prepare this young generation very differently.

Here are the transformation steps we need in academy.

  1. Fitness first and then everything else falls in place. Academy should make it mandatory in keeping everyone in the society hale and healthy by introducing yoga, meditation, sports and community service. Transform universities, colleges/school campuses to have the required infrastructure and grade students accordingly.
  2. Citizen resources: Redesign the whole university, college/school campuses for active participation of Citizens, Professionals, scientists, businessmen, industry,  students or anyone who wishes to learn, experiment, tinker and create products.
  3. Wellbeing Centres: Redesign classrooms into wellbeing centres where anyone can use the resources for increasing their physical, mental and psychological fitness.
  4. Business Academic centres: Remove the legal and all boundaries of identifying academy and business separately. Every business activity should have participation from fresh minded students, faculty along with the employees of the business.  Many a times, Business experts are trapped by their own knowledge and fresh graduates creates innumerable possibilities for some real challenges business faces.  This will be a win-win situation for both industry and academy in areas of working in real world challenges and gaining skills and talents in sustaining business with low costs, higher profitability and new innovations.
  5. Clusters of Expertise:  All universities, colleges and schools should be grouped as clusters of specific expertise and that should be based on the knowledge, skills, talents needed in industries, software technology parks, special economic zones and other industrial clusters in and around the academic institutes.

For example if there are many pharmaceutical companies and Petrochemical industries in an area then the academic curriculum of that area’s colleges, schools and universities should be on those specific domains and also on emerging trends such as Robotics, artificial intelligence and data analytics ,drug discovery, Health innovations  etc. in the above sectors.  By clubbing universities, colleges and schools based on the specific domain expertise and emerging trends,  students, faculty will gain real time working experiences.

  1. Academic Project clusters: All government funded initiatives, projects , infrastructure developments and all kinds of commercial works of state and federal programs should be initiated in university clusters by making them as part of the stakeholders in that specific projects. This will erase the boundaries between Education and commerce. The initiatives will create employment for students who will be getting grading on their progress in real world work.
  2. Functional Degrees. Degrees should be awarded to students and remuneration and other rewards for faculty on the work accomplished in live projects. Those certificates should be based on the expertise gained in specific functional areas rather than general certificates such as civil engineering, mechanical engineering etc. These way each clusters of universities will be building on specific domain skills, talents which can be mapped to business requirements and other such needs.

The proposal is a major structural, legal and strategic change with immense benefits for the good of academy, business and Government.

Since a new business model requires disrupting the present, it’s important to be thoroughly conversant with prevailing model and how present system creates value.

There should not be any confusion about the new business model with changing the activities performed within the present framework. If it is done that way then its plain old business process reengineering. This inside-out view has the potential of labelling mere internal alterations as a new model. Don’t. Instead, academy, government and all stakeholders should take an outside-in view, focusing on outcomes, not activity, in addressing whether the business model is truly new. Internal activities will most likely morph as a result of addressing changes to strategic factors, but this is a second-order effect.

Comments, improvements, new ideas are always encouraged. Let’s make ourselves better with best practices.  Thank you for reading.

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Associating Belief systems and cultural practices to Academics


From childhood some common rituals, practices, beliefs are hard wired into our brains. Some of these practices are beyond the proof of science. Even those with extra ordinary capabilities in science and technology follow certain ceremonies that are still beyond the reach of human cognition. One such phenomenon is seeking blessings from God before a launch of satellite or starting a major and complex projects spanning across the globe.

When we are suffering we look for solace in practices that cannot be proven by science and we take great pains to seek the blessings or visit far off crowded religious places to just get the blessings we need. Come Rain or Shine we are so determined to follow the rituals.

When we look this from a scientific angle we see the best human characters such as determination, focus, will to overcome obstacles, patience and all those best practices that can make anyone highly successful if same are followed in academics or career.

A major effort is going on in reforming education system across the globe. To name a few prominent personalities in educational reform are Bill gates  https://www.gatesfoundation.org/Media-Center/Press-Releases/2010/04/12-Foundations-Commit-to-Education-Innovation-with-US-Department-of-Education

, Khan academy https://www.khanacademy.org/  , Facebook Zuckerberg https://chanzuckerberg.com/ ,  Indian Government sponsored national skills development programs  http://nsfindia.org/,  Massive Online Open courseware (MOOC) programs  and the list goes on.  If we search online we can find organizations, corporate houses, foundations all working to reform education system.

I felt everyone is missing the last mile effort in their Noble intentions of reaching out to every kid on the planet. That is creating curiosity, love, blind faith, solace and all those characteristics that I described above which we follow without questioning when it comes to religion, culture, heritage and whatnot other than scientifically proven methods.

What I wish to bring to attention to all those great pioneers of educational reforms is to align their process, practices and subject matter to bring the same extra ordinary characteristics we show when it comes to all the practices I mentioned above into academics and corporate best practices.

A great research is needed on deeper understanding of how even a very common person exhibits extra ordinary human characters when it comes to religious practices, cultural and belief systems. That insights should then be ingrained in to our educational practices.

Also I think by aligning our education system, syllabus, skill enhancement programs to spirituality and to harmonious living with nature, will bring extra ordinary success not just in making our children the best but also saving our planet from disintegration because of our behaviour and practices till date that will lead us just to destruction.

It is time that we align our Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education more in tune to Nature’s way of handling the Planet’s resources. Our living standards should not be measured by materialistic gadgets we have but how well we are integrated with the nature around us and how well our gadgets are aligned to nature.

What do you think?  Complement and enrich this thought process with your comments and suggestions please.

Classroom learning with Concert of Technology


While we are learning courses online at Udacity (https://www.udacity.com/  ) and Coursera (http://www.coursera.org/ ),  we are supposed to be actively communicating with fellow students and the course  teams under the discussion forums. During the recent course I took this March 2014, I found out in one of the discussion forum that 10 to 13 year old students are also participating in learning management courses. Technology is allowing individuals of any age, to learn what they want and when they want. It is now possible to individualize instructions in the same way as teachers do to their pupil.

I felt that there is an opportunity to bring my corporate best practices and technology knowledge to schools where the foundation for future behavior of the students gets established.  Smart use of software can help to a large extent to transform school’s methods of teaching but this movement of redesigning classrooms to modern learning experiences needs commitment and a change in mind set  of the  authorities, teachers, parents and students of various schools.  It is a transformation for the school’s management, teachers and all the stake holders.

Education is transforming. But the way education is viewed by our younger generation is troubling. Students stay uninspired and less motivated to learn. Students prefer studies only for getting good marks.Teachers are less motivated to go beyond their comfort zones to experiment new ways of teachings.

STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and math)   are necessary for students to help make their countries competitive and them to be employable.  The attitude of just studying for exams/marks is affecting the quality of students’ knowledge and job readiness. Students should move away from subject memorization to training focusing on skills in order to match what modern companies and society is looking for.

Since I worked and lived in the US for several years, I started checking the happenings in the US where STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and math)   are given top priority. I found that their national science foundation is pretty serious about reforming education and even private companies are pumping millions of dollars into reforming education.  Their schools are equipped with modern technology tools and software for teaching and by 2019, industry analysts predicts that high school students will take half of their courses online.

Companies like Intel Corporation, Facebook, IBM have given Billions of dollars for reforming education sector.

Companies like Microsoft in collaboration with others are bringing learning experience to millions of children across the globe. More on this here http://www.microsoft.com/about/corporatecitizenship/en-us/reporting/serving-communities/education/

Many schools in the US are adopting technology practices as their way of teaching. Some examples of schools which are forefront in using   technology to their benefit are as below

https://www.altschool.com/

http://www.minervaproject.com/

Even schools in my place (India , Rajahmundry) are pretty enthusiastic in adopting technologies, games, yoga, field trips etc  for students. But what I felt is that they are doing it more for marketing purposes  and more ad hoc  than a continues improvement process to transform the schools best practices, to be  sustainable and result oriented.

Here is what I think should be adopted by schools in shaping our students’ learning experiences, all round growth and the progress of the country’s youth to a sophisticated living with best practices for a better life in this digital century. Remember Technology is not the solution but it is a powerful tool in transforming the nation’s kids to be smart. 

First let’s separate school (Teachers, class rooms, labs and other infrastructure) and learning.

School: Children are the goal of any school.

There is a strong need for bringing some standards of how teaching is delivered irrespective of who the teacher is.  Every teacher is having his/her own style of teaching but there is a need for some guidelines of best practices so that students don’t feel uncomfortable with every new teacher that replaces earlier teacher.

Schools need to teach a new set of skills that go beyond the classroom syllabus. Modern work practices , daily life and cultural transformation of societies makes it mandatory that kids are taught spirituality, leadership skills, Reasoning capabilities, healthy lifestyles, scientific analysis, presentation skills,  yoga and meditation.

School should focus more on creating lab experiences for children (learning by doing) and based on the syllabus (state or CBSE) they should entertain students to make things in the lab. Syllabus should not be taught chapter after chapter but a holistic look at the content should be considered and  school should plan teaching subjects with all connected content so that students will get to know the big picture of the subject matter.

By teaching for many years teachers become comfortable and good at what they are teaching. But they should realize that world is moving at rapid pace and technology is changing how we live and work. There is a need to demystify technology to help them get to know how their subject knowledge is used by corporate and society and guide them to learn from fellow teachers from across the globe.

“We should not just teach what we know. we should always learn something new to teach our younger generation”.

Examples:    http://betterlesson.com/    http://www.discoveryeducation.com/teachers/     http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/0/    http://peeragogy.org/

http://www.mathalicious.com/lessons   http://www.kickboardforteachers.com/  http://voxy.com/blog/index.php/2011/03/hardest-languages-infographic/

Management of schools should have innovative mind set and should be ready to experiment and invite industry experts for advice in changing how they function. They should not maintain the status Quo.

Students should be encouraged to participate in global challenges to solve some of the world’s problems , that makes them realize the opportunities that exist later in their career planning. http://www.minervaproject.com/

http://www.wecanchange.com/

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/education/competitions/international-science-and-engineering-fair.html

http://www.coursolve.org/

Students should be encouraged to look around for problems in their own  town/city/villages are facing and should be encouraged to solve them.

Example : http://www.notimpossiblelabs.com/#!about/c15vq

Teachers should help children the ability to find the information/knowledge kids need by cultivating analytic skills, curiosity and research skills.

Teachers should encourage kids to ask many questions. Their curiosity leads them to stay creative but many teachers quickly usher kids to stop asking. It’s an unfortunate habit and it’s one that threatens  creativity and innovation skills of the kid.

Example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children’s_use_of_information

School management should not become complacent with their best practices because we are in a state of constant change across all fields of knowledge, practices and lifestyles. Today’s best practices become redundant within few months so it is better to stay agile and review their position.

Learning:  We live in a very dynamic world where information is rapidly changing. It is unrealistic to rely solely on text book for teaching kids. The text book can best serve as direction for planning syllabus completion for the academic year

Modern technology resources are available to reach out to what we want to learn and when we want to learn due to ubiquitous presence of internet facilities across all tech gadgets we use. School management should review what resources can be deployed for better learning experiences for teachers and students.

Some examples of resources available for Schools that won’t cost lot’s of money but keep them on the cutting edge teaching methods are as follows

https://www.remind101.com/  A safe way for teachers to text message students and stay in touch with parents. Free.

http://www.google.com/edu/apps/#how-it-works  Helps in assignments and other teaching resources.

Moodle : https://moodle.org/  A Complete education portel for teaching, assignments, quizzes and other cool stuff.

http://www.vincigenius.com/

There is a seismic changes happening in education sector. Companies like Google , IBM, Facebook are investing millions of dollars in reforming schools and developing cool technology tools and educational resources. Bill and Melinda gates foundation, governments, NGO’s and many enterprising individuals are reshaping school education. Schools should continuously monitor the trends and  adjust , align to modern best practices.

Example: http://campustechnology.com/articles/2014/05/06/google-developing-free-lms-as-part-of-apps-for-education.aspx

https://www.khanacademy.org/

http://www.gatesfoundation.org/What-We-Do/US-Program/College-Ready-Education

Students should be made aware of what’s happening in other parts of the country and globally and they should be encouraged to connect with fellow students from across the globe for exchanging best practices of learning not just subject matter but also cultural differences and lifestyles of that country.

Example : http://www.newschools.org/venture/school-of-one

Schools should develop a framework of higher order thinking and skills enhancements while teaching kids.

Example of higher order thinking while a subject is taught by the teacher is as follows.

Type of thinking Encouraged Questions Posed
Memory Who invented Mobile Phone ? (Martin cooper)
Convergent thinking How has Mobile phones affected our daily lives?
Divergent thinking If there are no Mobile phones how would history have been changed?
Evaluative thinking What would you do when no mobile phone on earth works?

School assignments should help kids to discover and should be inquiry based drawing upon higher order thinking skills. Example Social studies. Ask students to play a role of a political leader and ask him/her  suggest some good policy matters that benefits millions of people.. Maths :  Using internet find 10 most innovative companies of the world, their products, their best practices and make a bar graph of the same.  Science: Design a useful product to a local merchant and demo it to them. Language: Read a book or analyse this article I wrote and put it as a comment.

Students should be taught time management skills. They should be able to allocate time for learning, yoga, meditation, sports and subject contents.

Parents should be made part of this whole process and should be engaged in all the efforts that schools is attempting,  to prepare their children for a digitally connected  world.

Ultimately I would say to school managements that “If you are not living on the edge you are  living in a crowded space of too many me too type schools”

You are all welcome to reach me thru your comments.

Thanks to kids from “Tennis Couching Centre” Rajahmundry for valuable feed back of their experiences and to the coach Laxman for the support.

“I laugh, I love, I hope, I try, I hurt, I need, I fear, I cry. And I know you do the same things too


“I laugh, I love, I hope, I try, I hurt, I need, I fear, I cry. And I know you do the same things too, So we’re really not that different, me and you.”- Colin raye

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.” – Buddha

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” -Charles Swindoll

“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” -Ben Franklin

“Never let go of hope. One day you will see that it all has finally come together. What you have always wished for has finally come to be. You will look back and laugh at what has passed and you will ask yourself… ‘How did I get through all of that?” – Anonymous

“You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.” – Buddha

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” — Benjamin Franklin

“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” – Ernest Hemingway

“Who gossips with you will gossip of you” – Irish saying

“Enthusiasm is excitement with inspiration, motivation, and a pinch of creativity.” – Bo Bennett

“How soon ‘not now’ becomes ‘never’.” – Martin Luther king

“Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.”- Anonymous

“You are the embodiment of the information you choose to accept and act upon. To change your circumstances you need to change your thinking and subsequent actions.” -Adlin Sinclair

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – WInston churchill

“Quality is not an act, it is a habit.” – Aristotle

“The only way to do great work is to love the work you do.” -Steve Jobs

“What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise” – Oscar Wilde

“Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It is already tomorrow in Australia.” – Charles M.Schultz

“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” -Albert Einstein

“You want to be extra rigorous about making the best possible thing you can. Find everything that’s wrong with it and fix it.” — Elon Musk

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” — Peter F. Drucker

“If you tell me, it’s an essay. If you show me, it’s a story.” —Barbara Greene

“I think failure is nothing more than life’s way of nudging you that you are off course. My attitude to failure is not attached to outcome, but in not trying at all.” — Sara Blakely

“Individuals play the game, but teams beat the odds.” -SEAL Team Saying

“The most valuable thing you can make is a mistake — you can’t learn anything from being perfect.” — Adam Osborne

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

“When you smiled you had my undivided attention. When you laughed you had my urge to laugh with you. When you cried you had my urge to hold you. When you said you loved me, you had my heart forever.” – Anonymous

“You are not your resume, you are your work.” — Seth Godin

“I like thinking big. If you’re going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big.” — Donald Trump

‘”Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other people’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” — Steve Jobs

“Chase the vision, not the money, the money will end up following you.” — Tony Hsieh

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” -Leonardo daVinci

You don’t have to like it but just have to do it.

“However many holy words you read,However many you speak,What good will they do you If you do not act on upon them?”- Buddha

“Many of the great achievements of the world were accomplished by tired and discouraged men who kept on working.” – Anonymous

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” —John Quincy Adams

“If I never met you, I wouldn’t like you. If I didn’t like you, I wouldn’t love you. If I didn’t love you, I wouldn’t miss you. But I did, I do, and I will.”- Anonymous

“May the love hidden deep inside your heart find the love waiting in your dreams. May the laughter that you find in your tomorrow wipe away the pain you find in your yesterdays.”

 

Have a great day friend…

Business Ideas. Develop apps without knowing software code.


Ideas for would be entrepreneurs

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/supermechanical/twine-listen-to-your-world-talk-to-the-internet

http://www.sparkdevices.com/demo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=B9qCLs8txBo

Clean water for cheap: Lukas jager developed  a bowl that can be used for purifying water.  The bowls are made of a clay and sawdust mix that is fired at 850 degrees Celsius. The sawdust burns away during firing leaving behind pores in the clay that make it ideal for purifying liquids at a fast rate. By adding colloidal silver, remaining traces of bacteria are killed, extending the shelf life of the final product. look for pictures here http://www.lukasjager.nl/waterschap.html

How to hide your emails from tracking

How To Hide Your Email: What Petraeus Did & What He Should Have Done

New ideas for a start up business in Philanthropic area

A organization called “Catchafire” http://www.catchafire.org/ creates new opportunities for talent based generosity. The website allows accomplished professionals with variety of skills who are looking for ways to put those same skills to good use for non-profits, social enterprises and NGO’s (it’s a kind of skills based philanthropy) join them . Catchafire will match the skills with non-profit projects based upon your skills and interests. The projects these professionals work are of high impact and high value for the society, spanning from few hours to many months.  Check out and see how your skills will be of good use for the betterment of the planet’s living beings at the site.

Nature”s article on generosity http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v489/n7416/full/nature11467.html

http://generosityresearch.nd.edu/

Some links to those who are already working in this area are as follows

http://www.akshayapatra.org/

http://www.globalgiving.org/

http://www.pencilsofpromise.org/

http://www.nextbillion.net/blog

http://www.changemakers.com/sustainableurbanhousing

http://www.pih.org/

http://poptech.org/about

http://www.one.org/c/international/issue/3803/

http://www.globalpovertyproject.com/

http://www.akdn.org/akf

http://everymothercounts.org/

http://www.charitywater.org/

http://www.crowdrise.com/

http://hopemob.org/

http://invisiblepeople.tv/blog/

Develop Apps without knowing code

http://www.theappbuilder.com/

http://ifttt.com/wtf

Using Whale example to explore deep in the ocean.

http://poptech.org/popcasts/kelly_benoitbird_marine_acoustics

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_echosounder

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110316153133.htm