THE FUTURE OF HIGHER
(All chapters are intended for continuing revision)
Volume I - Chapter Three
(Updated Nov. 5., 2008) In Chinese following the bibliography
THE CHALLENGE OF FUTURE TECHNOLOGY
A book, free on the Internet, on building wireless networks in the developing world can be found at <http://www.wndw.net/>. There is also a related online discussion on the topic at <http://lists.nocat.net/mailman/listinfo/wndw>. .
International commercial interests would like to control--for their profit-- the manufacture ICT technologies for the poor in the developing world; in fact that would like to take control of the Internet as they have taken control of television in so much of the world. BUT there is another possibility. In Bangladesh the Grameen bank, a people's bank, has put a `walking telephone booth' --a woman with a cell phone-- in poor neighborhoods and it could be several, or time very many. And the ICT gadget that will empower the poor in such places is the already coming into existence cell phones to connect to the Internet for business, e-governance, education and health care. As these intelligent cell phones mature they can be manufactured in a poor developing world country at a much more affordable price than would otherwise be possible. It is time now to prepare for what is going to be possible in a few years ahead.
In the next decade, and already beginning, (see Mooallelm 2008 on great increase in Africa) there are going to be astonishing uses of the expanded cell phone, for education, conferencing, Internet access and much more. New and smaller technologies appear almost every day with wireless connection, keys that light up for use in the dark, more brain, a brighter screen, with more speed and intelligence and many new features to empower learning. This is likely to transform education and continuing learning as the cell phone connects to the a more intelligent grid-Internet, to all kinds of course modules, to electronic textbooks that contain music, video with automated age-appropriate tutor, with automatic language translation, with access to a vast library including reference books, with conferencing software for group work (where a learner is or anywhere in the world), with exciting games for learning, with a personal profile of the learner for a unique personalized program adapted to the needs and talents of each learner.(More on forthcomng technology here in volume three. The cell phone will take a more important role in poverty reduction and educational development in the developing world when it comes with the X-O computer for poverty area children. (See 3.7) A firm in India is preparing to make cheap cell phones widely available. (Talbot 2008)
Those who ought to be assuming responsibility for a global education system
are have as yet only a dim vision of what is going to be possible soon and
at much more reasonable prices, such as free online courses and textbooks..
Gee of the University of Wisconsin Madison has pointed out that youngsters are experiencing more power-performance learning in their popular culture than they are experiencing in their schools. Video games, for example, giving their mind a powerful `workout.' Deitweiler at the `Microsoft Summit On the next Generation of Learners' explained why existing education (19th century) models are outdated (Both quoted in he Sept./'Oct 2004 issue of Educause.) Data will move thousand of times faster on the Internet, and therefore much cheaper when wireless. (Nevertheless as we note forthcoming technologies it is important to note that systems for organizing `educational content' lag far behind and discuss that in later chapters .
Despite the dangers that `social hurricanes' bring into present education, will forthcoming new technologies also offer solutions and new opportunities , not only for existing institutions but also for whatever emerges to bring learning to billions of people in the future? The computers we have at the turn of the century--even the awesome Terascale Computer System--which is to be used for cosmological structure studies--may still be just an early primitive model -T Ford machine compared with what it to come. Bill Gates of Microsoft in a 2004 lecture at MIT said that existing personal computers are just a ` rough draft.' The next decade will see see "cool software for portable and wireless devices, and who knows for sure what will come next.. On free software for the developing world see: <www.opensource.org/docs/definition_plain.html> . On `spot beam' satellite connections see: <http://vsatus.com>. A research center at the University f California, Berkeley, seeks to put a billion transistors on a single chip.
Technology chapters in each of the three volumes here are not written for
technologists, but for a new generation of citizens and developing world
educators who need a glimpse of what is coming down the road. So our
concern is not with the how of technology itself, but what
it can accomplish in and for global-scale learning for all. There is
much controversy and disagreement. Educators generally consider technologies
from two points of view.
For a discussion of how to begin crucial large-scale planning, see Rischard -of the World Bank in Europe--and his web page (<http://www.rischard.net>.) for here we are exploring possibilities for global networking, for a large-scale continuing planning conference on how to achieve `learning for all.' There is much experimentation on such global-scale conferencing, for example: <http://www.web4engineers.com/webmeetings/using_e_review.asp> and see 3.10 here.
First here, on technology for global lifelong learning even in the industrialized world, we must look ahead at least two decades since educators need to plan now for what is coming or be swamped by it. In these early years of the 21st century the useful thing about many new technologies may be that they are forcing educators to re-think what they are doing and to get to work on larger-scale holistic research on learning.(2.17) It is important that researchers use and develop technologies that can best help learning at all of life' stages to achieve stated and future goals and they need to see where they must revise and update those goals. <http://lttf.ieee.org> . The University of Chicago's `Center for Astrophysical Thermonuclear Flashes' that can simulate a supernova suggests the forthcoming superpower that can improve all global research and learning.
Technologies are changing so rapidly, however, that what is written here should be regularly updated or at least linked to web pages that help do so. Those who do not have the time or opportunity to keep up with developing technologies are nevertheless inevitably affected and challenged by the electronic/digital developments that appear to be transforming human institutions, and those yet to come that have a great potential for global education. Many are helpfully introduces in Rheingold (2003). Ntal (2004) reports on `the intelligent Internet' and `machines that understand us and even anticipate our needs. The question of Internet access in poor rural villages in the developing world is crucial and still difficult to do.
Rheingold (2003) pointed to the convergence of cheap computer-empowered wireless digital cell phones with instant access to all information and to educational and new kinds of learning games, with global positioning and other satellite access, connection to computer power beyond what we can yet imagine, and computer chips in everything, empowering our clothing, our chairs and desks, the walls of our rooms--which also become telecommunication windows to the world. Much of this is even now in reach, indeed Rheingold began by describing how instant access cell phones with text messaging were already transforming youth culture in Finland where 80 percent of adolescents already had the next generation of such empowered cell phones. The subtitle of his book is: The Next Social Revolution: Transforming Cultures and Communities in the Age of Instant Access. (see Padron 2009 on cell phones in Afghanistan.)
Already at some American higher education institutions technology systems are in place that bring together and coordinate on on one portable or larger in-room screen everything a student may need or want: wireless and cable, streaming video, courses, music, conferencing. a campus calendar, library and educational materials, TB channels including sports and more. See existing commercial services: <www.glowpoint.com>, <www.vbrick.com>.<www.radvision.com. And for a list of administrative technologies:<http://www.campus-technology.com/conferences/summer2005/index.asp>.
Perhaps most important for lifelong education is not any particular forthcoming combination of technologies, but rather the future design, interconnection and convergence of technologies on a global scale. such as the emerging semantic, intelligent grid computing which aims to be as easy to use as the telephone and as invisible as the grid that provides electricity.. Combinations into more comprehensive tools can make possible some kinds of research, instruction, and educational experimentation on a scale and with quality never before possible. Some large (very powerful and costly) technologies are already involved in the reshaping of education and the Internet and are going to evolve into something we perhaps cannot yet really anticipate, the enabling of a powerful new partnership between human brains and computerized 'whatevers’ (we cannot yet for sure anticipate them either). It is in our human interest not to let educational uses of these technologies evolve without our active planning, participation and institutionalization. Education research needs to mobilize the collaboration of thousands of minds--or more--if humanity is to cope with potential human crises. (2.1).
Taking into account the probability that the future is likely to be quite
different from we expect, the best way to talk about technology,
including future software, now may be to focus first on what needs to be
done and then on existing technologies that are most likely to grow and
expand into what is needed. So we begin with some examples. Second,
however, Larry Smarr (2002) began to create a `living laboratory'--industry,
government and university collaborating--to `fool around' with new ideas
that may or may not be practical; "weaving together emerging technologies
such as the wireless Internet, nanotechnology, chemical sensors and
sensor nets...and building them into the campus and community." Now in this
early stage of the transformation of learning, Long (2002) says, one might
be helped to understand is at <http://web.mit.edu/oki>.
And note the `living' DNA computer: <DNA computer: <http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/02/0224_030224_DNAcomputer.html>.
A major task of libraries will continue to be to preserve and transmit existing knowledge and lessons from history but with a new global style and research context. The fifth chapter will discuss libraries that, characteristic of all of education, are swamped with more information, data and knowledge than they can cope with. What are our best possibilities for dealing with the knowledge explosion and data glut? Unfortunately, important data in digital form is being lost. This online book will discuss empowering the `collective memory by bringing human minds and interconnected supercomputers into collaboration and the massive online `reference books' for a global learning system. Ahead of the `cosmpedia' is the already `wickopedia' with nearly 400,000 entries in many languages. (1.5)r
To preserve existing and forthcoming knowledge is going to require more effective organizing, classifying, indexing, searching, finding and integrating. A crucial technological development will be empowering the Internet to make it more intelligent. Bill Gates of Microsoft is said to have suggested that everyone’s portal to the Internet should perhaps be an encyclopedia. The word `encyclopedia’ too much suggests written and printed text, so the word `cosmopedia’ has been suggested. This would be a living, interactive bringing together of all knowledge, so that anything known can be accessed by clicking on any word, idea, musical sound, segment of film or other graphics, any math formula, meme or gene, nuclear or chemical term or whatever. Further it should at every point list all of the problems, questions, controversies, and the criticisms and needed research in relation to each item in the cosmopedia. And the data, information and wisdom included should be presented not merely in words, but also through illustrative images, graphics or filmed case studies and much more. Each item would lead to a web of information. (For example if one clicks on Mark Twain, one would be led to texts and films of all of his writings, to all criticism and writing about him, his cultural background and life history, indeed all that is known about him and his work) This can be done with existing technology and it is going to improve and expand exponentially.
The `global electronic cosmopedia’--the ultimate reference library for everyone in the world-- could include an interactive connection of all online encyclopedias, reference books, dictionaries, data bases, multimedia, TV news and documentaries and more, including the history and data of every person and community on earth. For more detail on cosmpedia, See: Rossman (2004) and the essay appended in the bibliography at the end of this chapter. To illustrate, here below is science fiction exercise to stimulate creativity and imagination. (See Levy 1997 on `cosmopedia.’ The term has been copyrighted for a commercial CD-ROM project and has varied meanings elsewhere.) One way to think about it is through this brief science fiction glance:
“It is July 6, 2022. Our planet is overwhelmed by inter-related crises: billions are hungry; violence, terrorism and crime are rampant; a billion are seriously ill from new diseases and a deteriorating environment: bad water and soil, a sick ocean, polluted air; desertification and massive crop failures, and other crises. Many think that the very survival of human life on the planet is at stake. So a more educated population is finally motivated to act politically. Humanity has powerful new technologies, such as the ability to link tens of thousands of supercomputers to do things that have never been possible before--out pacing any human mind--yet this fantastic machine intelligence cannot alone seem to cope with the moral, ethical and political problems that underlie the crises. So the leaders of major nations call upon the world’s universities to mobilize and coordinate efforts to bring together hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of human minds (collective intelligence) through the powerful `successor’ to the World Wide Web and Internet--to cooperate with the machine intelligence to find holistic solutions to the crises. All such problems are seen to be inter-related: for example, food supply is limited by farmer health and education as well as the weather, poverty, ignorance and environmental decay. So it finally becomes clear to key political leaders of major nations that no one of the crises can be tackled alone, they all must be resolved together. So:
“(1) The effort to link and coordinate all human knowledge is enlarged. A global electronic cosmopedia and dictionary become the primary gateway to all human data and knowledge.
“(2) The cosmopedia is alive, increasingly intelligent and continually growing. It is each day updated so each `section’—the words `monograph or article’ seem too textual and linear--becomes the definitive draft of all that can be agreed upon and verified through a transdisciplinary process of peer review by scientists and scholars, with a careful listing and detailed description of all disagreements and needs; that is, of all that needs to be researched. Hazen (1997) pointed out that "the key to understanding why science is an endless frontier lies not in cataloging what we know, but rather recognizing the vast amount of what remains unknown--the unanswered questions." These areas of needed work are expanded by dialog with other disciplines in a quest for holistic solutions. As in the Yale Human Area files, these `definitive cosmopedia section’ are made concise by the elimination of all duplication. Also articles can be presented with graphics, models, maps, simulations and so forth. While as accurate as possible, the sections are enlivened by computed-assisted constructions of reality, simulations of possibilities linked to the largest possible models of the physical and social world, and of the universe.
“(3) Every essential word in each definitive section is hyper linked to its precise meaning (only one meaning is allowed, there are plenty of words in various languages to be used for other meanings) in the global dictionary—which links the equivalent of the Oxford English Dictionary in every language. It defines every shade of meaning in every language and dialect, with each word coded to a specific use and meaning. (Or a numerical part of the coding, for example, might attach a number to each word; for example: church1, a building; church2, a congregation, church3, a denomination, church4, a mystical universal religion and so forth, wherever the word “church” is used.) Note: in the University of California `OceanStore' system each fragment of stored knowledge has a “globally unique identification tag.” The cosmopedia, of course, has much more sophisticated coding not yet developed in 2002 so that the automatic translation of scientific papers from one language to another can be precise. Linking every word to a dictionary or search engine is discussed in Educause, April 2005..
“(4) Similarly every idea--perhaps every sentence-- is hyper linked to expanding webs of documentation <http://www.buyya.com/ecogrid/wwg>., as well as to every individual scientist, every publication and every organization <http://www.uia.org>. that is involved in research on that aspect of a problem. All researchers are invited to participate in a continuing online seminar, and its related online journal that is daily updated. (A first model of this was seen in the 2001 online seminar, involving over 5000 people in over 123 countries. to work over the World Poverty Report.) Different from year 2001 scholarly journals, once a question is raised, the discussion and research continues ceaselessly—even for centuries--until all the questions are answered and all sub problems and controversies are resolved. Every university in the world, which has the willingness and capacity, is asked to create an ongoing, day and night, year after year continuing online symposium on one of these research areas; as in 2001 was proposed in medicine.
“(5) In each case every research team and university is asked to give some time—in relation to each scholar’s bit of knowledge and research--to solving fundamental human crises and their sub-problems (such as the problems defined by the Union of International Associations, See Sinnot in references below)
“(6) Who does the work? Every graduate student’s thesis, dissertation, term paper, et cetera and every scholar’s journal papers and monographs can be related to the updating and researching. Undergraduate and secondary school students have access to the cosmopedia and are encouraged to bite off a small piece of some cosmopedia-defined-problem to work on in each course, or as the beginning of a lifetime scholarly calling. (Secondary school students at Dalton School in the late 1900’s were already been preparing a CD-ROM history of New York City, a project in which each year’s class picks up and expands the term papers prepared by students the year before. H.J.A. Goodman of the World Brain group of the American Association for Information Science proposed that every retired scholar and scientist might be employed part-time to work at updating in his or her field. Thus collective intelligence is mobilized, if first only in collaborative work, for example to create interactive indexes and links.)
“(7) To capture the imagination of children and to inspire and motivate the political will of the public, every `living section’ in the ` cosmopedia’ has attached stories with graphics, films and case studies to show needs and what is being done about them; and has links to action groups and their publications and projects. Every individual in the world is invited to have a lifelong hobby interest in one area of needed action. Also the cosmopedia includes inspiration from art, music and so forth to empower and motivate responsible action or research-and-action in relation to each cosmopedia `section.’
“(8) The daily updated (from research and feedback) electronic online textbooks in every subject--and at every level of learning—are founded upon and linked to appropriate cosmopedia `sections.’ Related tutorials are then adapted to the age and level of information of each learner and his or her e-textbooks.
“(9) The cosmopedia makes it possible for the global virtual university to become a lifelong learning and research institution, with seamless relationships to educational activities of each individual from birth to death. Essential learning at every stage of life can be available on the sequel to Internet2, discussed below. Lifetime learning is related to a continually enlarging profile of each individual’s gifts, talents, limitations, handicaps, opportunities, and so forth. Each person is empowered with an electronic memory (a lifetime of learning can now be recorded on one disk), instantly accessible, indexed by job and personal and professional interests. Each of these personal electronic memories can be plugged into the universal cosmopedia memory for corrections and to meet specific needs, and can also be linked to the electronic memories of others in a work team research project or whatever.”
(Also note, the Wikipedia, a wiki-based encyclopedia project < http://www.wikipedia.org/>.Ir began as an offshoot project of Nupedia encyclopedia project and "as of September 2003, there were over 300,000 encyclopedia articles in various languages."<http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Statistics>) and Rossman (2004) "Cosmopedia: Tomorrow's World of Learning."
1.3.2 MAPPING AND ORGANIZING KNOWLEDGE FOR USE AND TRANSMISSION <http://benking.de> .
Transformation in learning will also be accelerated as the Internet become a grid, a matrix, and has increasing intelligence, essential if scholars are to cope with (tens of?) billions of pages on the World Wide Web. The work on a grid, like the one that supplies electricity to the public, is being developed by scientists at CERN, in Switzerland, for a their own specific purpose; as the World Wide Web idea emerged there in 1989, also to serve a need of Physicists. In August 2001 IBM, the National Science Foundation and others were developing a grid for research purposes that was expected by 2003 to have over 450 trillion bytes. The CERN grid was being created to distribute information from the Large Hadron Collider to universities and researchers via a system of multiple tiers connected through fiber-optic cables. This was to make it possible, as not possible with existing PCs, because of the volume of data, for an individual researcher anywhere to access data directly from the individual supercomputers. For present and future developments see the Grid Forum: <www.gridforum.org/> And: <www.nsf.gov/od/lpa/news/02/pr0238.htm>, <www.globus.org/research/papers/anatomy.pdf>
(However, Robert Floral of the USA Sandia National Laboratories warned that the next generation Internet or grid would likely be vulnerable to all kinds of attack. The grid holds the promise of being able to solve problems and do remarkable things for science research in real-time and on a global basis. Therefore at the 2002 annual conference of the World Future Society Floral proposed networks patterned after nature, "self-preparing and self-protecting like living organisms; e.g., intelligent systems of complex adaptive agents that evolve and learn while continuously monitoring themselves.")
The Internet began with military and science networks and has grown to be available all over the world, with Internet2 providing faster and more comprehensive service to major universities, to scientists, and to many secondary and primary schools. No one university, phone company, or corporation could alone do what was accomplished together by all three. Not to be connected now with Internet2 has handicapped scholars much as they have been limited if they do not have access to the journals that report the latest research in their fields. So the Internet, which supports high speeds and powerful services, has moved to the center of the educational community—as new learning communities take shape on the Internet, possible as a result of cooperation among educational institutions, private corporations, and government agencies as well as individual researchers and their professional groupings. <http://www.isoc.org>. Its many component networks are funded differently, but many in corporations, governments and universities see these “electronic highways” as becoming to our global society what paved roads were for the Roman Empire. Next, however, they are becoming much more than highways. The Internet is on its way to becoming what some scholars call a `global brain’ or a global superorganism. That is, each individual scholar is becoming a cell that may be compared to cells in a human body, and the computer networks may be compared to the connections in a human brain. And the technology to accomplish this `superorganism’ already is coming into existence. "The Matrix may be the future of virtual reality," a report on the Global Grid Forum asserts, but "the Grid is the future of collaborative problem-solving." On George Landow and hypertext see <www.altx.com/int2/george.landow.html>.Steven Bugaj (Polish) of the WebMind group and his wife, an artist from India uggest that the emerging global brain will also have artistic dimensions, helping promote creativity and imagination. Perhaps as robots and other such tools take over most of our routine work, most humans will have time for more reflection, for developing creativity, imagination, and art talents.
However, Stanford Law School professor, Lawrence Lessig, in The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World has warned of a possible take-over of the Internet by powerful multinational all-for-profit corporations that will use copyright, patent laws and controls that may greatly reduce the use of the Internet for learning, innovation and creativity. Meanwhile Steve Wishnevsky of the Global Brain Group (e-mail Nov. 13 2005) sees google working toward the vision of a global brain..." composed of a large number of humans and a central system with much greater than human intelligence." This raises serious ethical questions, he says, to motivate and rehearse its learning that should come collectively from the humans.
Archives of the Global Brain research group seeking to develop the Internet include provisional definitions as follows:
“The "global brain" is the name given to the emerging intelligent network formed by all people on this planet, together with the computers and communication links that connect them together. Like a real brain, this network is an immensely complex, self-organizing system, that processes information, makes decisions, solves problems, learns new connections and discovers new ideas. It plays the role of a collective nervous system for the whole of humanity. No person, organization or computer is in control of this system: its "thought" processes are distributed over all its components.” The metaphor of the information network as global brain can be extended to the whole of society as a global organism. If the information processes in the network constitute the "mind" of this system, all people together with their artifacts (tools, buildings, cars, etc.) form its "body". Since individual people are organisms themselves, this encompassing system is an organism consisting of organisms, that is, a super-organism. The superorganism not only has a nervous system for processing information, but a metabolism for processing matter and energy: resources such as ores, water, oil are converted via various industrial processes into specialized goods and services, transported to the place where they are needed, used, and finally recycled or excreted as waste. And `living systems theory’ provides a detailed correspondence between the different subsystems of a society and those of an organism.”
We will say more about this later, but here is technology to help learners and `educators' deal with the information glut and achieve their basic objectives in an information society. Here are the beginnings of a collective memory, collective imagination and creativity and collective intelligence – putting many minds together, enabled by powerful computers, to accomplish what hitherto has not been possible. The Global Brain Group’s definitions also show that “to make the global information network function at a higher level of intelligence, instead of merely storing and transmitting data, new technologies are brought into play. These technologies are inspired by increasing understanding of how the human brain works: how it learns associations, thinks, makes decisions, etc. (2.2.2) At the same time, the information on the net is not centrally controlled, but distributed into countless data bases and in the minds of millions of people and their documents, with billions of cross-connections. “Thus, cognitive processes at the level of the `Global Brain’ must allow all this chaotic, heterogeneous information to interact so that collective patterns can appear. Some of the more traditional technologies include the various methods of keyword-based information retrieval. Others may use techniques derived from artificial intelligence, such as software agents, neural networks or data mining. Still others, such as collaborative filtering or groupware, enhance collective problem solving.
“Collective intelligence (see 2.4 for more) is the idea that a group or collective can be more intelligent than its members. The best known examples are social insects, such as ants, termites or bees, which are individually dumb, but capable of surprisingly intelligent behavior when functioning as a group. Even when the individual members are quite intelligent themselves, the group may be even more intelligent. The intelligence of the GB will be collective, as it arises from the interactions between millions of individuals. Symbiotic intelligence, a term introduced by N. Johnson, is the idea that intelligence can also emerge from the interactions between essentially different components, such as people and computers (see the Symbiotic Intelligence FAQ). As J. de Rosnay proposes, people will live in symbiosis with this surrounding network of technological systems, and out of this symbiosis, a higher level intelligence may emerge.” These definitions and much more information can be found at <http://pespmc.vub.ac.be/> where there also is information about collective filtering, human/machine interface, web learning, Englebart’s collective I.Q., and how to make the Web more intelligent. Also: <http://pespmc.vub.ac.be/gbrain-L.html> These pespmc web pages are not just now available.
Now add to this the holistic views offered by digital satellite imagery and usable via streaming video on the Internet. Baker et al. (2001) have pointed out that “one of the new millennium’s defining features is rapidly growing global transparency” as they provide holistic views of planetary and human ecology. For example, the CARES project <http://www.cares.missouri.edu> (ignore request for password and wait a moment) is in 2001 adding layer after layer of data—such as census information—to detailed photos of small neighborhoods, even of farms. Next can we anticipate maps of regions and neighborhoods that one can click upon for detailed data about education also, including illiteracy rates, health needs, foods available, local educational facilities and resources available, weather, crises, and everything that would be helpful for local people and lifelong education planners and model creators to use in improving the quality of learning? Olsen (2003) has pointed out that Internet2 is at a crossroads. It has transformed research and teaching and is now at a turning point.
Communication speed a hundred times faster than available at the turn of the century should also make it possible to greatly reduce costs of education delivery. Wi-fi can, as proposed in India, make wireless Internet Access available in cafes, librarier and other public places. Alongside the increase in computer power through parallel and interconnected systems, parallel communications in all-optical networks can perhaps reshape the entire educational world. One hair-thin strand of fiber could already in 1995 carry more than an entire day's communications of the entire world. So, in time, combinations of technologies--such as satellites and new smart digital radio connections--can bring the World Wide Web--and whatever succeeds it-- to educators and researchers anywhere in the world at affordable cost. Indeed, digital wireless radio may well be the more affordable and better way to make possible the active participation of developing world scientists in the global research community as well as making it possible to bring adequate education to everyone on the planet.,
It was also predicted that since network speed will be faster than many personal computers can manage, more and more of the computing will be done on the network grid, much as the telephone company does for the home phone. This can reduce the cost of upgrading software in the developing world. The fast network becomes the computer. Online management of `video on demand' should make it possible to access a library of CD-ROMs--or rather the successors to CD-ROM--which could contain all desired texts and videos to show how to do things. A researcher's laptop--or handheld device-- will tap databases and libraries worldwide as easily as one can use a hard disk or CD-ROM drive. George Gilder (2000) was often wrong in the stocks he recommended to investors in the 1990's but he was right in saying that the convergence of computers, communications and empowering software can `unleash creativity and "unprecedented hope to the people that the industrial age passed by." It is frequently asserted that broadband will not work so well once many more people are using it. However, Hurtig (2002) says that it government bureaucracy that is keeping America in the `wireless dark ages' and reports research and experience that demonstrates that there can be plenty of spectrum for all and to "develop solutions to intractable real world problems."
The number of enhanced wireless phones may increase soon to five hundred million with the ability to enable any scientist to connect on location anywhere in the world for education purposes. Think what a powerful instrument the telephone has been, interconnecting a hundred million phones via space satellites and Internet where there are not yet telephone lines It was thought remarkable in the1990's that a document could quickly be sent anywhere in the world. Now Lessig (2001) says that `infinite' bandwidth--"as electronic switches are replaced by optical switches--the speed of the network will approach the speed of light. Already in 2003 BBC was providing English lessons to Beijing and Lagos via mobile phone.
Pelton (2003) has reported that the amount of Internet-related traffic on INTELSAT alone had grown from 7% to 20% of all traffic, mostly via digital video broadcast at low cost. The desire for access continues to grow, he says, also via wireless and optical fiber with even more advanced, broader band systems ahead. Worldwide enterprises operated 24-hours a day which benefits global enterprises such as `big science." The insatiable demand for mobility and access to global networks anywhere on the planet has "led to the extremely rapid development pf wireless telecommunications and personal communications systems.
"Software creativity knows no boundaries" Vinton Cerf has said (2002) "And the Internet benefits from the unfettered human imagination." Yet, Lessig (2001) has pointed out, creativity, imagination and innovation are limited when the Internet loses its character as a `commons'--available free to all like a public park or street--is walled in by patents on code, copyright on ideas and content. Educators have much to gain from Linux and free code. Creativity comes from the bottom up, not from the top down...and too many controls. Dean Unsworth of the University of Illinois (2004) writes of the `liberating' potential of open sources software. (More in volume 3.)
Many educators feel swamped with too much inadequate software, lacking time to examine all education packages themselves, yet dissatisfied with choices others make for them. Roush (2003) has reported on new approaches to software design and creation that can help programmers cope better with complexity, replacing it with "easy-to-understand tables, maps and highlighted text." The payoff to new approaches he reports, "should be more reliable software for everyone." Gleason (2003) says that universities, plagued with problems with commercial software should adopt "free, open source software that all could contribute to and help update. Should not the goal be standardized open source software for all the world's educational and learning institutions, much as auto tires have standard sizes despite the brand?
Dertouzos (2000) proposed that computers--that are not yet `human-centered'--seriously limit educational uses of the Internet and Web. He used the analogy of the automobile; if instead of having a steering wheel and brake, the driver had to enter coded instructions to “control spark advance, fuel mixture, the valve clearance of each cylinder, the angle of each wheel, the tension on each brain drum” and had to keep doing this constantly while driving. This is exactly the sort of thing we have to use when we cruise the Internet with 600 page manuals to read all the time. So the time has come, he said, to change the machine-oriented mindset and invent controls like a car’s steering wheel, gas petal and brake that are developed for people. This is why the information technology revolution still lies ahead, Dertouzos says. “The Web and Internet of today, compared to where we are headed, are (old fashioned) steam engines compared to the modern industrial world.” Now our learning structures are moving into an airplane age. To envisage the future of global lifelong education we anticipate a spaceship age.
Beyond convergence, digitalization and jargon about people-friendly computers and intelligent agents, education needs an underlying computer and information infrastructure that will tie the elements together at a higher level. There must be specialized, customized hardware and software for education at all levels. By 2010, Dertouzos predicted. a hundred billion appliances will be interconnected. The “Internet is just the tip of the iceberg” so planners must take a longer look into the future--an unfinished revolution-- and stop planning only for what can be done with `Model T Ford’ technologies we have today. Or as Dertouzos said it: “Rather than drowning in information overload and computer technology,” we must throw out the 20th century models and create a new master plan and philosophy. For educators this means letting learners and teachers “interact naturally, easily and purposefully with each other” and with the surrounding vast universe of information, experimentation and search for truth, justice and wisdom.
As global learning moves into virtual space its planners should heed the advice of Dertouzos that the industrial revolution did not just move humanity into `motor space,’ leaving the old human world behind. But then and now, new technologies that continually change entered and profoundly affected everyday life and work. Nor, then as now, information technology did not move us into some `magic new world.’ One sign that the information age revolution is finished, he said, will be when computers disappear as motors did in tools to help human beings work in new and more powerful ways.
A next step towards a more intelligent and educationally useful Internet will be the "semantic web" that recognizes the meaning in documents that are linked or accessed. The World Wide Web Consortium has been developing standards and technologies for a richer, more customizable Web in which searches will be more accurate and thorough and truthfulness of information will be easier to verify. (Technology Review, Nov. 2001). Olson and Bollen (2001) have been working to develop a framework to integrate knowledge from different disciplines into an encompassing `world view,' using the framework to implement "a self-organizing knowledge web that learns new concepts and associations from the way it is used, and `thinks ahead' of its users."
Software for global lifelong learning must also be affordable and customized to serve learners and teachers as well as a technological system; and not only standardized but also mass-produced to make it low priced. (3.9) It must interconnect and be adjustable to many small personal computers. Technologies must be designed so they will work together: digital cameras, virtual maps, hand held computer devices and much more. The need, Dertouzos has pointed out, is not to fix bugs in existing systems, but rather a radical change in mind-set. In many cases it may mean starting over instead of merely expanding and changing existing systems. Think how expensive long-distance phone calls would be if all calls had to be routed through a “switchboard” in London or Tokyo .Local networks can bypass expensive international systems. Users pay only for a local call but can still address their mail internationally. Long-distance telephone costs within one country are often manageable, whereas international rates are often still prohibitively high as set by government Post, Telegraph and Telephone (PTT) monopolies. In 3.3.5 we introduce the possibility of increasing the brain power and memory of the individual learners. It is now possible to record everything a person says and types during a lifetime--a 14-gigbabite servers should do--at a reasonable price. Next we can have the system to index it, access it at any time and place, and interconnect all we know with the similar systems of others we are working with.
High speed research networks are being extended, for example, to Latin America from the United States and some other industrial nations. One illustration was the provision of cable connections by a consortium of universities in Florida. This two-way project aimed to give researchers outside Latin America access, for example, to data from the Gemini South telescope in Chile. However, it may be decades before the poorest in rural parts of the planet can participate in such developments except through wideband digital wireless connections to the Internet, soon at modest cost. Combinations of much simpler technologies are creating an educational revolution for the poorest. Experiments and demonstrations are showing how poverty areas began to participate through radio, e-mail, video-and audiotapes, and CD-ROM and soon with wireless telephones, as seen in countries such as Bangladesh. Affordably priced technologies now become effective components in a larger mix, empowered by interactive two-way participation and can be used for the benefit of all students in a class or of individual, self-directed learners. (2.2.0, 1.3.5, 3.2.7) On Sept. 20, 2004, the `India Space Research Organization' announced the launching of the first satellite devoted excuively to long distance education for millions of illiterates in rural India.
A transportation analogy may be useful in discussing how to get the developing world affordably online. Today, some need transportation because of physical disability or because of distance to a school. Others, because of isolation and need, must have education brought to them. Perhaps adequate learning for everyone in the world will require that education be taken to billions of people, wherever they are; especially if and when our planet has ten billion people. Perhaps the only way lifetime education for all can be affordable, sustainable, tailored to need, ecologically sensitive and of high quality. At the beginning of the automobile era there were hundreds of companies producing and experimenting with cars. We do not yet have Model T Ford type educational hardware, but there are significant moves in the direction of standard electronic devices that can be affordable to billions of people. However, for many of the poorest their present best possibility for learning technology is more likely to be analogous to the bicycle than the automobile..
Dertouzos (2000) used the analogy of the automobile that can be driven without having to refer to a manual each time one wants to turn a corner. Perhaps a `lifelong education for all’ analogy should begin with the bicycle as a place to begin in some of the most undeveloped parts of the world. Bicycles can be used to generate some electricity. Solar power and batteries, however, are better alternatives. For with batteries the rider down a path where there is not yet a road can listen to tapes and as she rides or is at home where there is no electric grid connection. The illiterate farmer plowing the field can listen via earphones to a talking CD that gives him agricultural information. The next step in his lifelong education is the earphone that wirelessly connects him to a satellite where the universe of learning can be available.
Suppose we had the funding and political support to develop a system of digital-age learning for the whole world, what should we do? Suppose planners had the technological capacity to do anything they could imagine . . . what then would be the right things to do? (See 3.8.) Again we are perhaps only dimly aware of many future possibilities.
First, meanwhile, let’s propose that wherever possible there should be at a neighborhood electronic learning center (school), near enough for most children to walk, a technologically empowered education center for all ages: preschool head start and child care for working parents; a place of educational counseling and testing for all ages; classes for children by day and adults in the evening. (2.17) Everyone in every neighborhood who wishes to participate could belong to and participate in activities of the local `learning consumer cooperative’ that operates that `school' and its electronic connections to the world of learning; and which is a partner in planning for local needs. (2.17, 2.18 for more.) Successful prototypes exist and some American grass roots organizations and cities are providing equipment and support.
Second, let’s accept the fact that needs will be different in every culture, situation, and perhaps in every neighborhood; that therefore the construction of a global learning system should begin from the bottom up and not be imposed from the top, globally, nationally, or by an authoritarian regional education system. Could all the neighborhood educational co-ops were linked together as the structure for a regional, national, and global administrative system that could mass produce for economy (Again more in Volume III., especially in 3.10.
It would be splendid if everyone on our planet could right away have an Internet connection and the most sophisticated information technology and connections to learning and healthcare. Already there are successful demonstrations of how `electronic learning' can be brought to all in advance of cable connections. Solar-powered TV, cell phones, HAM radio and battery-powered CDs and digital radio can be used now to provide developing world rural teachers and individual learners with greatly improved resources before cable and satellite connections arrive. ` Volunteers in Technical Assistance' (VITA) has shown that often it does not take a huge organization and vast funding to have great ideas and make them available to the developing world. VITA was the first private voluntary organization to apply advanced microelectronics and space technology for communication with the developing world for humanitarian and development purposes. It did so by using a Low Earth Orbiting Satellite, a series of independent short-wave radio systems, and an electronic wireless computer messaging system for use in time of disasters, for health education and information, vehicle tracking, data gathering and sharing and much more. Rather than waiting for more sophisticated communications, VITA has worked with whatever systems exist to promote decentralized, usable communications, including battery or solar‑powered inexpensive ground systems. In 2001, WorldSpace announced a receiver that is being mass-produced to receive crystal clear digital radio via satellite that a huge share of people in Asia and Africa can access with a four-inch dish. The receivers are already on sale in many developing countries. WorldSpace nonprofit foundation has sought to help make the technology available to those in poverty and those who are geographically isolated. The dishes cost $200-$400--which is too expensive for the poorest except perhaps in India where amateurs construct their own--but which can be installed in tele-centers for a whole village or neighborhood to use at affordable rates. In time it will have multimedia capabilities and will provide much clearer reception for the millions who receive education via radio.
Next there may be baseball-sized satellites, cheaper to build, to put in space, cheaper for users, and Negroponte (2002) that "spread spectrum" wherein each Wi-Fi system makes it possible for messages to leap from peer to peer can bring inexpensive connections to the rural world of developing nations at very modest cost. Now is the time to prepared for what is going to be available in a few years. However, there are problems, security, support, lessons to learn from the experience of others.Many such possibilities have been discussed by Joseph Pelton (2003, leading authority on satellites.)
(Note reports of InfoDev research, detailed case studies, open source tool kit, etc.<http://www.infodev.org/>. At the 2005 World Summit on the Information Society it was reported, for example, that.Nortel is focusing on connecting communities to foster trade, education and healthcare in developing countries by providing wireless broadband to rural areas. such as in Haiti where they have established CDMA high speed networks with wireless MESH networks...and also in eight provinces in Angola
New technologies are being reported nearly every day. Satellites--to “provide medical service” and educate millions in remote villages--have transformed the global communications system so that already by 1987 half the world’s population could be linked together live via satellite at any time of day or night. (Pelton 1987). A 2001 glimpse at the future was seen in the University of California (Irvine and San Diego’s California Institute of Telecommunication and Information Technology (or Cal(IT)2) and its wireless Internet. Larry Smarr, formerly of the National Supercomputer Center, has proposed that the sequel to the Internet--`the grid,’ a ubiquitous wireless network always and everywhere available twenty-four hours a day--can have transformational uses n global learning, beyond using it to monitor the environment. Television became an important component of distance education in part because of INTELSAT's demonstration of reliability. It's two-way satellite system integrated a satellite and an earth (receiving/sending) station that brought TV courses to millions in Asia. Although most people think of the earth station as a dish-type antenna now so often seen in the yards or on the roofs of schools, receiving stations became a portable pack as small as a suitcase. New technologies --including streaming video on the Internet--now revive television as a major player in distance learning. Meanwhile much can be done via radio and TV.
Indonesia early had its own satellite system. Used to link eleven university campuses on different islands for distance education and teacher training “to improve educational quality” (Hudson and Jussawalla 1987). The University of the South Pacific and the University of the West Indies also then developed a system to serve education needs in several widely scattered island countries. India early used a NASA satellite to deliver educational programming to more than 2,500 villages.” Since then, satellites have become able to send many more courses at a time, can provide two-way television and broadband services which can greatly empower international education. For some time to come wireless broadband connections are essential for much of the rural world. Elsewhere global education will escalate though fiberglass cables, which are moving to connect most of the world. It is expensive, however, to wire the earth with cable able to carry the volume of sophisticated material required for global-scale research and learning. The companies that operate cables must “charge by the mile” to recover costs.
Radio can be increasingly important for isolated areas that do not yet have Internet possibilities. Local radio stations play a crucial role in much developing world education, passing on to battery-powered radios what they receive from the Internet. High frequency radio is often unreliable, except locally, although that can improve. Digital radio can play a major role, as HAM radio was early able to provide Internet connections. Satellite time is expensive although subsidies and flexible pricing policy may help educational satellites better serve educational institutions in the underdeveloped world. It will, however, require global-scale action as no governments or agency can accomplish that alone.
Markle (2001) has described how--”in ways that would have been impossible just a few years ago”--technology has been turning space into the wireless revolution’s next frontier as satellites are able to by-pass the Internet and transmit directly to cell phones. Satellite-based streaming networks, he said, will beam directly to `last-mile’ connections, bringing full-motion video to the entire planet. The entire broadcast and film industries will be transformed when three million simultaneous high-fidelity streams can be sent down to earth to any school. However, because of the many satellite bugs and bureaucratic hurdles in the way, fiber optics will continue to be the best option for online learning in the foreseeable future even though “air and vacuum are cheaper.” In time, however, satellites should take twenty seconds to transmit the entire Library of Congress with high quality sound and graphics. A vast number of courses and lectures can then be sent that quickly when `lightware' communications are combined with “digitally compressed two-way video.”
Some experts have pointed to the fears--of change and competition that arise when planners face the social hurricane of technologies that brings almost unmanageable floods to swamp current efforts to use its new possibilities. Perhaps needed global planning and coordination require new software, rather than just trying to build sea walls to keep the technology out? Surowiecki (2002) points to the potential of "the nascent world of broadband" that can transform the Internet to provide access to vast quantities of badly-needed learning. This is especially true as WiFi (such as the `cloud' over sections of downtown Athens, Georgia--makes it possible to use a cell phone to access the Internet from a downtown park bench.
We can now surmount the digital divide and provide learning for everyone in the world. It is a matter of politics and a higher level of priorities. See <http://www.isoc.org/oti/articles/1201/g8.html>for ways business, non-profits and people from developing countries, seeking to enhance global cooperation and create a global framework to establish priorities in such areas as e-readiness, assessments, giving advice and providing services in cooperation with local people as a `Virtual Policy Center.’ Online discussions have already been very productive and helpful. <http://www.ictliteracy.info/>..
A research project in Mongolia early obtained direct Internet access via satellite, using DirecPC. SatelLife HealthNet has been using low earth satellite communications in sixteen African nations. <http://www.healthnet.org>. But what about the individual learner in remote areas? Can standardized mass-produced communications equipment--simple and easy to use--be manufactured in the developing world to reduce cost? Various efforts have been underway to develop what some call a PCU (Personal Communications Unit), a portable computer/Internet device that can be used by learners and researchers almost anywhere, now that various kinds of wireless connections are becoming available. One in India--the Simputer--reads texts to illiterates and may be made available to the public in telephone booths--to those who have a smart card to insert. One in Brazil is to be placed first in schools, hospitals and libraries.
A development of an adequate, inexpensive hand-held `learning instrument' for the developing world can emerge from current experimentation, as with simple `Model T type' hand-held computer (perhaps what in time improves the `Simputer' in India) with the capacity for other features—such as solar power--to be added as they become affordable. The scientist in a developing country who cannot afford a trip to Europe or North America may first use them. Some scientists are already experimenting with one or another such `PCU,' created with rugged components from various systems and computer companies so that it can work in outdoor humid conditions without air conditioning. Like a `digital hard hat' for construction workers --invented at the University of Illinois (News 1997) some models might be outfitted with camcorder and digital equipment for collecting and documenting information, for communication with colleagues, and to retrieve data information as needed on the spot from databases. (Bass 1998).
Meanwhile, an e-Bus--a mobile computer lab with workstations and a satellite link--cam travel through rural neighborhoods, in Ghana for example. Such a bus has been one project of "a United Nations Development Program (New York Times, Aug. 23, 2001), promoted by the Community College Foundation in California as "one way to bridge the digital divide in communities that lack funding, local facilities and Internet connections." Many developing nations are not planning to use e-Buses because cheaper connections are on the way. (Negroponte 2002).
It is urgent to note that education for all, health care for all, clean water and air for all, and justice for all are political and economic problems, not to be solved by technology alone, but forthcoming technologies make it possible.
In Volume III (2.3) we will say more about future technologies we cannot adequate foresee or imagine, yet for which educators should now be planning. The engine driving all transformational technology for learning, of course, is the computer and existing computers are very primitive, compared to what is coming and for which we must now begin to prepared. For example, Brooks (2004) reports on an 'engineering revolution' that is discovering how to develop `bacterium that compute,' that can be used to built future computers..
Even now chips and everything get smaller and smaller in hand-held devices. Rheingold (2003) anticipates a vast increase in wearable computer, chips in clothing that replace many kinds of computerized instruments, such as those already demonstrated at MIT. On the other hand, he also anticipates Larry Smarr's "emerging planetary super-computer." (More of these developments in volume 2 here.) Many scientists aspire to create one huge computer,” consisting of a vast constellation of interacting `distributed’ machines, a global nervous system that would link together all the computers in the world. An analysis of vast distributed computer power was in the March, 2002, Scientific American <http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=000770CC-3712-1CEE-93F6809EC5880000> Linked super-computers can give teachers and education researchers power and speed to help learners in yet unimaginable ways..
As that begins to happen we can also anticipate the replacing of silicon chips with "molecules similar to those found in biology." (Schultz 2002) The power of interconnected personal computers is already being harnessed to work on large projects, and, at the national supercomputer center and elsewhere, scientists are linking many supercomputers to make `today’s information superhighways look like 19th century railroads.’ This system can empower learning, as other aspects of society, for it can be ever changing and keyed to the future rather than being limited to the platforms and conventions of the past. How will educators use more speed and power, new systems, software for new learning designs and models? How many are ready to be freed from the tyranny of present systems and pull order out of present chaos?
It is hard to predict what new technologies will be used for learning in the future because they are changing every few months. Many companies are pioneering in developing new technologies for education for all levels. Pelton (1990) foresaw that “reduced costs will make a cornucopia of educational services available to more and more people on a global basis.” But what will that `technological cornucopia’ contain and make possible? How can some kind of holistic structure be set up for global lifelong learning when academic structure is so fragmented even within one university (Levine 1993) and its divided, competing power structures?. If planners for future learning can have tremendous technological power to do things never before possible, what should they do? And how can more voice be given to the developing world in IT decisions? <www.panos.org.uk/ICT_decision_making.htm> A radical new direction for information technology, according to Michael Dertouzos will be to make computer systems serve people. . .rather than the other way around. More will be said about technology in volumes 2 and 3.
Neil Ferschenfeld of MIT says: "We've already had a digital revolution; we don't need to keep having it. The next big thing in computers will be literally outside the box, as we bring the programmability of the digital world to the rest of the world." Katz (2005) has anticipated the World Wide Web becoming a three-dimensional environment with virtual portals and avatars. However in 2005 the world of learning was at a primitive technological level as compared to what was coming in the next decades
Wireless networking in the Developing World. <http://wndw.net/.>
Acker, Stephen. 1997. “Collaborative Universities.” Center for the Advanced Study of Telematics, Ohio University.
The Future of Higher (Lifelong) Education: For All Worldwide: A Holistic View