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On the second day of the 2013 BSR ConferenceMarina Gorbis, executive director of the Institute for the Future, delivered remarks during breakfast about “The Power of Networks.” Of her many thoughtful andphoto moving comments, these three on education stuck with me. 

The world as a classroom.

One thing Marina discussed was creating a disruptive, social structured movement to decentralize education (along with government and the way we work) and expand learning in a way that no organization can do. She shared the example of HyperCities, a research and education platform where you can use your phone to travel back in time to explore the history of buildings and city spaces in an interactive environment. 

Moving from episodic to continuous learning.

Marina also talked enthusiastically about how content as a commodity leads to continuous learning and the rise of extreme learners. These are learners that are interested and motivated to soak up all resources available to them at any given time. She spoke of the rise of massive open online courses (MOOCs), which provide interactive user forums to build communities of extreme learners.

From institutions to learning flows.

Additionally, Marina spoke about learning no longer being confined to a place or an institution – but a flow. A river that you can dip in an out of. She referenced leafsnap, a free mobile app where the curious can take photos of leaves and visual recognition software can help identify tree species. Amazing. No hike will ever be the same. 

This idea of open data as a means to move our work, learning and governance from institution-based to citizen-controlled was more breathtaking than the pastry bar. Marina asked the room, “What idea have you fallen in love with this week?” I think I just found it. 

Read more from Megan’s experience at the 2013 BSR conference here

Title photo courtesy of Bruno Girin

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