Who Are Our Teachers? – Education’s Transformation
June 24, 2014 Kosmos Community News

Search For Purpose And Meaning: A Global Quest

By Geri Marr Burdman

While studying at the University of Puerto Rico in the late 1960s, I jumped at a life-altering opportunity when I learned that Dr. Viktor Frankl had traveled from his home in Austria to offer a series of seminars. Dashing between classes on the hibiscus-laden campus, I paused to scan some ads on a cluttered bulletin board. A hand-written note caught my eye:

Dr. Viktor Frankl
Author of Man’s Search for Meaning
Presenting a seminar for faculty and graduate
students at UPR today at 4PM

I seized the opportunity to attend that seminar, but little did I know I would walk into such a significant event. I arrived at the door just in time to catch a glimpse of the bespectacled, sprightly Viktor Frankl striding confidently toward the mahogany podium as a palpable hush came over the room. Without hesitation, he began to speak in a serene, resolute voice about his life’s work and the unspeakable suffering he and his loved ones had endured at the hands of the Nazis. His wife, mother, father, brother, sister-in-law and mother-in-law—along with six million Jews and fifteen million others—perished in the concentration camps.

The Mycelium Learning Journey

By Kosmos Staff

Everything is interconnected. Why then do we tend to treat education as the accumulation of discreet bits of information? Learning is a process and the purpose of learning is to engage in the world, to participate in its unfolding. In this view, everyone and everything becomes the teacher and we are all constantly learning together.

The word mycelium refers to the mycelium organism “the root system of mushrooms; an underground network that connects to the roots of plants and trees and distributes nutrients and information to support the health of the whole ecosystem.” The Mycelium organization is a learning community that asks whether education as a whole can function in this more organic way, or simply, “how can humans more successfully interact with each other in ways that nourish ourselves, each other and the world.” Social entrepreneur, photojournalist, and permaculturist Matthew Abrams is a co-founder of the organization. His work has taken him to more than 40 countries. He took some time during a busy week of successful crowdfunding to share the Mycelium vision.

What Is the Role of a Spiritual Teacher or Mentor?

By Nirmala

In general, a teacher or mentor is a person who guides, instructs, or helps another in the process of gaining knowledge, understanding, or skills. What about a spiritual teacher or mentor? What is their role? And more specifically what does a spiritual teacher or spiritual mentor in the nondual or Advaita tradition do?

A spiritual teacher/mentor’s role is unique in that the goal is not to transmit knowledge or understanding as much as it is to somehow bring about a recognition in the student of the student’s own pre-existing nature. This is a much more subtle thing than simply teaching someone a skill or understanding. It is not that a spiritual teacher never provides spiritual teachings or knowledge or understanding, but that knowledge or understanding by itself is not the goal. A student can have a broad knowledge of spiritual principles, and yet can still not have truly recognized those principles as being inherent in his or her own being. So spiritual teachers or mentors may teach a lot or they may not teach anything, depending on what the student needs in that moment to experience this deeper recognition of their own true nature.

Unshackled and Unschooled: Free-Range Learning Movement Grows

By Lorna Collier

Most people have heard of homeschooling — kids are educated by parents or caregivers at home, rather than at school, for a variety of reasons. But within the homeschooling community, the growing “unschooling” subset has a somewhat different, amorphous, definition.

Depending on whom you ask, unschooling is centered around what the child wants to learn using any and all resources available, not just fixed, school-prescribed curriculum. The general idea behind unschooling is this: getting kids to develop a love of learning for its own sake rather than for grades, and giving kids the opportunity to experience “valuable hands-on, community-based, spontaneous, and real-world experiences.”

Imagining MOOCs For a Developing World

By Jonathan Haber

No presentation by the leader of a major MOOC organizations would be complete without the tale of a student dodging bullets or walking from a remote village to a slightly less remote school to participate in a massive online course (with extra points for inspiration when these tales end with said students finishing at the top of their global class).

The thing is, these stories are all genuine. With global open enrollment, a student was able to balance completing Sebastian Thrun’s Udacity AI course with struggling to survive in war-torn Afghanistan. Nigerian and Pakistani educators have dedicated the few hours of electricity and bandwidth they have available each day to run the computer, router and projector needed to let students complete MOOCs in distant rural classrooms. And no happy ending has gotten more airplay than the tale of Battushig Myanganbayar, the 15-year-old “Boy Genius of Ulan Bator” in Mongolia who anchored his successful application to MIT with the top score he received in Anant Agarwal’s edX course in Circuits and Electronics.

How the Maker Movement is Transforming Education

By Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary S. Stager

The Maker Movement, a technological and creative learning revolution underway around the globe, has exciting and vast implications for the world of education. New tools and technology, such as 3D printing, robotics, microprocessors, wearable computing, e-textiles, “smart” materials, and programming languages are being invented at an unprecedented pace. The Maker Movement creates affordable or even free versions of these inventions, while sharing tools and ideas online to create a vibrant, collaborative community of global problem-solvers.

Fortunately for teachers, the Maker Movement overlaps with the natural inclinations of children and the power of learning by doing. By embracing the lessons of the Maker Movement, educators can revamp the best student-centered teaching practices to engage learners of all ages.