A Contribution to the Educational Revolution.
It’s an exciting time for the field of education. During the 20th century, its practices and their implementation have been quite analogue and rigid. Even into the 21st century, it has seemed like an infinite loop within the program of our various national curriculums.
However, an educational revolution is relentlessly being scripted! One that is more akin to a development environment, than a fixed, executable program.
So, let’s start by laying out the fundamental problem quickly. It’s no secret that conventional education still has fundamental limitations. Only a handful of schools in South Africa benefit notably from quality computer-aided and other alternative learning initiatives.
Also, despite the efforts of well-meaning, often superhero-like teachers, many schools still struggle with “crumbling infrastructure, overcrowded classrooms and relatively poor educational outcomes,” as reported by Amnesty International. These cancel one another out.
So, the problem is a formidable one. The formal education system cannot possibly fix this alone – which is where this gets exciting…
The executable elements of education are now being reprogrammed by a more innovative brand of civil society and a high-energy global startup culture. Even our youth themselves often propose thought-provoking solutions (especially in the blockchain space, as you’ll soon learn).
Many programs are currently accessible in person, online or even via a cellphone. These programs are often more intuitive and less restrictive than conventional schooling, and though not yet a viable replacement, can very well supplement it while its viability is debugged.
We are now seeing a rapid increase in free, targeted, intuitive, interactive, and even gamified approaches to learning monetizable skills and developing strong character. In fact, at RLabs, we run such projects that aim to facilitate the acquisition of such skills and traits.
Within our greater DLab (Development Lab) environment, we run the RLabsU and Skills Accelerator projects. The former focuses on facilitating a peek into various disciplines (to generate interest and gauge learning direction), while the latter acts as a paid internship in which one or more of those disciplines are explored by a student for one year.
Naturally, though, our reach is limited by financial constraints. So, we frequently implore various sponsors to help us equip our young with these hands-on learning experiences.
It would be impelling to see more young people access what we offer, more partnership exploration and even more alternatives discovered and implemented. Ideally, it would be great to see an increase in sponsorship and other organisations following suit.
As a copywriter, course developer and creative at RLabs, I am part of a team developing learning materials. I am currently also exploring a personal fascination with blockchain technology and decentralisation (a truly democratic, community-informed, approach to systems development and management).
This technology can be applied to anything from website hosting (Web3) to finance, digital assets and smart contracts (the future of contracts). Imagine what else is possible…
Alternative education ecosystems built on blockchain are nothing short of wondrous. Blockchain can be used to set up DAOs (Decentralised Autonomous Organisations) that could focus on democratically seeking, developing and applying alternatives to conventional education.
We have already facilitated the birth of an organisation called Zlto, which was built using blockchain technology. They are more focused on encouraging a culture of giving, than specific education. But they are still a great example of the possibilities.
Their platform also offers nano-courses (in this case, like an interactive blog post) which offer various insights and guidance. They even reward the initiative to complete them.
Despite the anxiety, the education system inspires, I am even more enthralled by the revolution and being on the front lines, surrounded by dedicated agents of change. It’s an exhilarating time to be alive. The future is unclear and depends on how much hope we distribute and how much dedication we pour into what truly matters.
It drives me to know that, degree or no degree, we can all contribute something toward debugging the current program. And it is an honour to be a member of an organisation so lovingly dedicated to this pursuit.