Promoting a Global Community of Educators

Wouldn’t it be great if someone could find, convene, and facilitate educators and futurists to map the ideal future of education, then grow a global community of educators who could bring the ideals of that map into the realities of educational institutions? Someone already has started this process, and he is indeed both an educator and futurist — in Moscow. Pavel Luksha’s Global Education Futures effort started in Russia and is now active on every continent except Antarctica. We’ve walked and talked in my (geographic) neighborhood several times, and Professor Luksha and his family joined me and my friends in weekend art-making on a couple occasions. Our recent video interview is a continuation of a conversation we’ve been engaging for a couple years.

Luksha is a professor of practice at Moscow School of Management Skolkoko Institute of Science and Technology, established in collaboration with MIT; he initiated and catalyzed the NeuroNet initiative, a Russian national consortium in brain research and neural technologies. His deep interests in education, futurism, and brain capabilities underlie the convergence of his efforts to learn about learning, map out what and how 21st century students should be learning, then transform existing institutions to meet the challenges of contemporary life on planet Earth. He thinks big — very big — but simultaneously facilitates conversations about how to actually achieve the futures that his network maps out.

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“I see a new paradigm emerging,” Luksha told me, “including empowerment of learners, lifelong learning, learning that is not just individual but collective. We see the seeds of this new way of being existing in present-day institutions, teachers, and learners. If we could amplify the dynamics that are already beginning to transform existing institutions, we can hasten a transition to a new way of living, learning, creating, and being in a nonviolent way, without destroying what now exists, but transforming it from within. Digital media is part of the answer, but only part of the answer. Changes in social practices in the physical world should accompany changes in the cybersphere.”

Luksha points out that efforts such as  LRNG: CHI (“a new digital platform to help you boost your career game”) and similar projects in Wales, Spain, Moscow, St. Petersburg, and China are “creating blended online/offline courses and programs with a purpose.” He cites MIT’s  u.lab: leading From the Emerging Future (“An introduction to leading profound social, environmental and personal transformation”) as an example of “combining an online course with learning communities spread around the world that are connected with each other and engaged in social change projects of different scales guided by online courses — digital media that supports connection of grassroots movements at scale, creating spaces for physical, multigenerational, person-to-person connection and learning that we call cultural education hubs.” Such hubs that Luksha and others have started in Russia are part of an international alliance called Global Change Leaders Collaborative, launched by Ashoka Foundation.

“We want to plant seeds of change around the planet. One of the pilots is in Austria (and check out Luksha’s t-shirt and jacket in this description). We hope to launch other pilot projects in Europe, U.S., and Asia over the next year.” If you have given up hoping for systemic educational change worldwide, check out our video conversation and renew your hopes.

Banner image credit: Global Education Futures