Tag Archives: education

Computer Literacy – Then and Now

As our Founder, Liza Loop, said, people “need to know enough not to be intimidated” by computers; and “The computer is not the gatekeeper, there’s a person that’s responsible. Don’t hide behind the machine.” Computer literacy has been a public issue since computers became personal, and even a bit before that. Whether it is dealing with a Help Desk worker who is bound to following an algorithmic script, or whether it is any of us trying to filter out news stories, computer literacy has become a vital skill in today’s world. Liza describes computer literacy then and now in this excerpt from her presentation at:

Geekfest Berlin 2016 – Liza Loop – Computer Literacy

Thanks to GeekFest Berlin’s 2016 event, we’ve created a series of videos from Liza Loop’s presentation that touch on various aspects of the topic and our organization’s history within it. We pass this information along as possible aids to include in your communications and as an introduction to our mission and current activities.

The complete presentation is available at: GeekFest’s Youtube channel.

2016 was the year we at HCLE saw an increased interest in the history of computing in learning and education (hence our acronym, HCLE). We are building a virtual museum to collect and catalog born-digital artifacts and digitized versions of physical artifacts to researchers, scholars, educators, and the general public. Incredible amounts of money are being spent on how to improve education and learning, and how best to integrate technology into the process. Very little is being spent studying the decades of similar attempts, which may be why society continues to ask the same questions and make the same mistakes.

Our museum’s story stretches back to 1975 and the founding of LO*OP Center, (Learning Options * Open Portal), a 501(c)(3) California nonprofit corporation chartered:

To improve the quality of people’s lives by integrating cultural diversity and appropriate technology into local communities through educational projects and events.

The ways that computing changed learning and education have fundamentally shifted our society and civilization. We have found no other institution with a specific focus on formal and nonformal education that is working to preserve that history. If you are aware of any, please pass along the appropriate contact information.

Steve Wozniak and Number 1 Apple 1

The story of the first Apple 1 (#1 Apple 1) may not be what you expect, but that’s the reality of history.

It may seem ironic that a virtual museum would have such an historic artifact, but LO*OP Center, the parent organization of the History of Computing in Learning and Education Virtual Museum, received the first Apple 1 from Steve Wozniak, personally – back in 1976. Woz has always been an education advocate. When he saw a non-profit that had similar ideas, he decided to help by donating a computer he’d just designed. It happened to be the Apple 1, the first Apple 1. The story is best told by our Founder, Liza Loop, the recipient who then took the computer into classrooms. Here’s a link to the video, and other videos from the GeekFest event.

Steve Wozniak’s gift of the first Apple 1 to LO*OP Center 

Thanks to GeekFest Berlin’s 2016 event, we’ve created a series of videos from Liza Loop’s presentation that touch on various aspects of technology’s effects on education and our organization’s history within it. We pass this information along as possible aids to include in your communications and as an introduction to our mission and current activities.

The complete presentation is available at: GeekFest’s Youtube channel.

2016 was the year we at HCLE saw an increased interest in the history of computing in learning and education (hence our acronym, HCLE). We are building a virtual museum to collect and catalog born-digital artifacts and digitized versions of physical artifacts to researchers, scholars, educators, and the general public. Incredible amounts of money are being spent on how to improve education and learning, and how best to integrate technology into the process. Very little is being spent studying the decades of similar attempts, which may be why society continues to ask the same questions and make the same mistakes.

Our museum’s story stretches back to 1975 and the founding of LO*OP Center, (Learning Options * Open Portal), a 501(c)(3) California nonprofit corporation chartered:

To improve the quality of people’s lives by integrating cultural diversity and appropriate technology into local communities through educational projects and events.

The ways that computing changed learning and education have fundamentally shifted our society and civilization. We have found no other institution with a specific focus on formal and nonformal education that is working to preserve that history. If you are aware of any, please pass along the appropriate contact information.

Profile of an HCLE Pioneer – Lewis J Perelman

During the 1980s and 1990s, Lewis J. Perelman became widely recognized as a leading authority on transforming education, training, and employment systems to meet the needs of a post-industrial economy. A post-industrial economy would potentially make traditional education and learning models obsolete, the way jets took over from ships and trains.

“The salient economic connection in both transportation and education is that the success of one new technology wave eliminates the market for the old – not because it is better and not because on a particular test it gets better scores. Rather, because the new takes away enough customers to make the old economically unsustainable.”

“Long before reform of the educational system comes to any conclusion, the system itself will have collapsed.”

He advocated for an expansion of learning systems beyond the classroom and children because the modern world requires everyone to continue learning throughout their life in every aspect of their life.

“Of the more than sixty million Americans who learned how to use personal computers since 1980, most learned from vendors, books, other users, and the computers themselves, not in schools.”

He wrote about a new perspective on learning called Hyperlearning which will be enabled by a convergence of technologies like artificial intelligence, telecommunication, information, and biotech.

“Hyperlearning is a categorical step — the proverbial ‘quantum leap’ — beyond ‘artificial intelligence,’ beyond broadband telecommunications, beyond information processing, beyond biotechnology. Rather, hyperlearning represents the fusion of these technological threads. HL is weaving into the fabric of a new industrial base for a new kind of world economy.”

An additional concept called kanbrain was developed as an extension of the Japanese management system based on just-in-time learning, and collaboration.

As with most of HCLE’s Pioneers, his influence extended beyond education and learning. Dr. Perelman’s work also addressed and continues to address: alternative energy technologies; infrastructure security, resilience, and adaptability; climate change; knowledge sharing and collaboration; human capital investment; and sustainable business and economic development.

Additional information is available on our wiki.

Profile of an HCLE Pioneer – Don Bitzer

Don Bitzer saw a new way to aid education and learning through the use of innovative hardware and software in 1960. PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automated Teaching Operations) was a computer-based, interactive communication system developed to connect a variety of students, instructors, and resources. It existed before the ARPANet and social media which would eventually have much in common in PLATO.

The system allowed lessons to be stored in the computer and accessed by students at their convenience. It was also a distributed system which allowed access by multiple users in multiple locations. Eventually, a communication element was added called Notes, which allowed user-to-user discussions that didn’t require any action by the administrators.

To aid in learning, two other sensory interactions were enabled. Audio was provided that helped language instruction. Touch was added so students could select words or figures and learn more about them.

PLATO continues to exist in archive sites and in descendants that have evolved into commercial services.

PLATO is equally well known for the consequences of its creation.

Many of PLATO’s connectivity features were eventually echoed in the ARPANet and subsequently the internet. It took ARPANet about a decade to exceed PLATO’s traffic.

The Notes program became one of the first online communities, an ancestor of online bulletin boards and social media. It and its architecture enabled game play among multiple users, similar to today’s online games.

Don Bitzer is particularly known for the invention of the gas plasma display that was developed for PLATO. The addition of touch enabled more direct contact for the student. That ability and technology went on to create the gas plasma display industry. While PLATO’s goal was to improve interactivity, the television and monitor manufacturers were drawn to such displays to be thinner than conventional displays. In that regard, Educational Technology is like any other technology, advances in one field can have far greater impacts on other fields.

Don Bitzer is currently a Distinguished University Research Professor at North Carolina State University after having taught for several decades at the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois.

Additional information is available on our wiki.

Several of his videos have also been added to our HCLE Pioneers playlist on YouTube.

Profile of an HCLE Pioneer – Alan Kay

Alan Kay’s accomplishments created the foundations for so many of today’s tech advances that advocates of his work have dedicated a wiki to him, yet the foundations are so fundamental that the billions of people benefiting from his contributions probably aren’t aware of his influence. HCLE’s focus is on the history of computing in learning and education which is why we are collecting information about his work with the Vivarium Program (See our post about Ann Marion for another perspective), Smalltalk, and Dynabook.

Vivarium

The Vivarium Program created an innovative learning environment that was one of the earliest attempts to shift the school environment from a teacher educating passive students from a set curriculum, to students actively learning in ways that they inspired which were facilitated by teachers. Instead of reading about biology, students created simulations of biological systems that they could modify to better understand cause and effect as well as interconnectivity. It was the precursor to the personalized learning that is becoming more familiar

Smalltalk

While there were programming languages available for the Vivarium Program, Alan Kay saw a need for a different architecture. Some students may prefer text-based programming languages, but he saw the need for a language based on objects. Our world is built from objects, and programming based on objects allowed the computer to operate on things that had a variety of characteristics. The result was Smalltalk. The concept gained wider acceptance after the user community shifted the definition slightly, and modern object-oriented programming languages were born. Though it strayed from his original intent, object-oriented programming languages have become the basis of much of today’s computing.

Dynabook Learning Today

A natural extension of Alan Kay’s desire to transform learning was the Dynabook, a device that didn’t exist at the time. He saw a need for a thin and portable computer that would fit in a child’s hands and that the child could operate. Such a device would work well in the environment that was part of the Vivarium Program, as well as outside the school. A logical choice for the programming was Smalltalk. The three could be combined to dramatically expand learning opportunities, especially with advances such as the PLATO network and other innovations he worked on at Xerox PARC.

Learning Today

The Dynabook wasn’t created, Smalltalk became something different, and the Vivarium Program was eventually cancelled by Apple; but their influences have come together for children who learn while pursuing their curiosity when they use and play with tablet computers. A child learning to read at their own pace from an app downloaded to an iPad is remarkably similar to at least some of Alan Kay’s original intentions. Maybe the rest of the vision merely requires a bit more patience.

 

Additional information and pertinent links are available on our wiki.
Several of his videos have also been added to our HCLE Pioneers playlist on YouTube.

HCLE Summer 2016 Progress Report

HCLE Summer 2016 Progress Report

 

Welcome to the summer quarter of 2016 HCLE report. We share many of these news items via our outlets (wiki, blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) and collect them here for your and our convenience.

Our staff of 1.4 FTEs, several volunteers and many outside collaborators reached the following milestones in the winter (July through September) of 2016.

 

 

Fundraising

  • We updated our strategy to take advantage of our Oral History Workshop and our Make versus Buy process.

Catalog

  • The initial phase of our Make versus Buy process resulted in a trial of Collector Systems and a potential $300K savings.

Collaboration

  • The content of the Oral History Workshop is being edited prior to publication.

Outreach

  • Liza’s presentation at the Geekfest 2016 Berlin conference was well received.

 

Please pass our news along, especially if you know someone else who will want to contribute money, know-how, artifacts, stories, or connections. Even by glancing at what we’ve done, you’re helping make HCLE happen as you pass along the story. Thank you.


A Pioneer has passed

Seymour Papert, co-founder of the MIT Media Lab (then known as the AI Lab). Liza worked with him briefly in the 1980s and taught his childrens programming language, LOGO, in several California schools.

Although Seymour’s work is already well documented, his death highlights the urgency of our museum’s oral history work. Other prominent Pioneers are approaching the end of their lives. Many have not had a chance to provide such a complete legacy. We are working on a virtual exhibit to highlight Seymour’s numerous advances and accomplishments within the field of education and computing. His work is appreciated. His loss is felt.


 

  • Fundraising

    • Strategy

We updated our fundraising strategy to take advantage of our inaugural Oral History workshop (see below), the opportunity to refine our Cal Humanities proposal, and the preliminary results of our Make Versus Buy process (see below). In general, we intend to use feedback from our recent CalHum proposal to update our appeals. The results of the workshop are also an opportunity to demonstrate some of what we hope to preserve and accomplish. The results of the Make Versus Buy process help demonstrate one way we intend to support the creation of the museum.

After we’ve incorporated the feedback from CalHum, we intend to contact Foundations and NGOs with the news of the various updates.

If there are no direct responses, we intend to revisit the Kickstarter campaign, contact key foundation board members for advice, referrals, and hopefully resources.

We’re revisiting our list of foundations and so far have researched candidates to contact from:

      • Kresge
      • Moore
      • Broad
      • Sloan
      • Carnegie
      • Kresge
      • MacArthur

We welcome suggestions about who to contact.

In preparation for the next Kickstarter campaign that will target funding our Proof of Concept, we’ve drafted a series of interview questions from which we’ll create a video interview of Liza. A good video is highly recommended for Kickstarter campaigns, which is why we are focusing on a simple, yet hopefully effective approach.

 


  • Collection

    • social media

Our social media campaign is predominantly for advocacy, collaboration, and fund raising, but it has also been uncovering and collecting digital artifacts, online collections, and oral histories. We conducted a review of the discoveries and compiled them for eventual inclusion in our Catalog.


  • Catalog

    • Catalog Maintenance System – Make Versus Buy

We completed the main selection phase of our Make Versus Buy analysis. After reviewing approximately two dozen candidates, we decided to begin a trial of Collector Systems. Estimated savings are of ~ $300,000 and a shortening of the software timeline of approximately six months. Collector Systems was chosen because it is a cloud-based solution, with relatively low recurring and non-recurring costs, that is somewhat customizable, and that can be readily scaled as needed. The cost of the study was ~$800.

Our preliminary evaluation of the trial is inconclusive because of an interruption in communications, plus a miscommunication about the particular software package we should be using. Liza’s conversations with their CEO enabled a free extended trial until we’ve made our decision. At the close of the quarter, Collector Systems was shifting us to the software package more appropriate for museums, and using our map of the metadata crosswalk to modify their displays to match our needs. They were very receptive to suggested improvements such as including social media in the contact information. A gallery was created with relative ease, but will be probably be replaced after the account is switched to the museum system.

Concurrently, we will continue to use HCLE’s Catalog Maintenance System because it is our established process and we may need to return to it.

One consequence of our review has been an improved documentation of our current digitization, cataloging, and artifact management process. If we choose Collector Systems, we will similarly document the process.

We continue to improve our Catalog Maintenance System by fixing bugs and improving functionality.


  • People/Volunteers

    • Student Project

Liza attended the Sonoma State Internship Faire to recruit interns to work on any of eleven tasks.

Our current team of volunteers and consultants continue to help with specific issues with the Catalog Maintenance System and miscellaneous system administration tasks.

Kimberly Loop has been contracted to edit the videos from the Oral History Workshop held in June.


  • Outreach

    • Events

The primary event was Liza’s participation as a presenter at GeekFest 2016 in Berlin. It was a two day event that “brings together the founding fathers of the early personal computer era and the first Hacker scene and there will be a panel of memories from this era.” Liza was invited partly because of her involvement in the Homebrew Computer Club and the West Coast ComputerFaire. Videos of the presentations are available on YouTube.

We are also preparing a workshop for next year’s Society of California Archivists Annual General Meeting (AGM) April 27-29 in Pasadena. The workshop will convey our experience with our Catalog Maintenance System Make Versus Buy process, and will help others modify HCLE’s process to meet their critieria and situation.

1/1/2014 12/29/2014 12/30/2015 9/30/2016
Facebook 59 91 104 137
Twitter 67 271 408 469
WordPress 18 42 49 49
Wikispaces 12 41 62 68

  • wiki

    • The HCLE wiki continues to act as a communications center and as a digital loading dock. An alternative format was proposed and is undergoing outside review.

We continue to refine the videos from the Oral History Workshop that was conducted in June with Leuphana University in Luneberg, Germany. The goal is to create a series of videos, one for each presentation.

We are also in discussions about possible publications, both informal and academic, based on the event.

No decision has been reached on holding a similar event in 2017, partly because of insufficient funding.

Inspired by the event, we are considering producing a monthly series of Oral History videos and podcasts. Each video would be an interview with an HCLE Pioneer. Questions would be standardized. The interviewee would have the opportunity to present several slides, which is one of the benefits of a video rather than a podcast.


  • Exhibits

    • Thanks to some auspicious networking, we are in discussion to create a demonstration exhibit using virtual reality.

  • Operations

    • There are continuing efforts to improve our processes within CiviCRM and our gallery exhibits.

  • LO*OP Center

    • No significant support efforts were required in the quarter.

  • admin

    • A web site and domain name audit was begun to manage site and file proliferation.

 

Our Inaugural EdTech Oral History Workshop

A first workshop

On June 7th we held our inaugural Oral History Workshop – How Education Made Computers Personal at Leuphana University (Luneberg, Germany) and online. The workshop was a collaboration between HCLE’s parent organization, LO*OP Center, and Leuphana University to capture more of that history and make it available to modern researchers.

LLOHW image from Twitter

The history of how computing changed education and learning, and how learning and education changed computing is more than the story of hardware introductions and institutional initiatives. As one of the speakers, Lee Felsenstein, observed;

“the 60s – 70s resonated with the counterculture of a search for personal control, even through technology.”

And, as the motto of the People’s Computer Company stated;

“Computers are mostly used against people instead of for people, used to control people instead of to free them. Time to change all that…”

Our first workshop expanded on that theme with the influence of Montessori logic, applied conviviality, designs for teaching about and through computers, and pedagogy.

The four main presentations were:

  • Jeremias Herberg: IT Became Personal – Montessori Logics in 1970s Computer Hobby Groups
  • Lee Felsenstein: The Tom Swift Terminal and Applied Conviviality
  • Liza Loop: Distance, Synchronicity, Control: Exploring Designs for Teaching About and Through Computers
  • Howard Rheingold: Counterculture + Social Media = Edupunk Pedagogy


(June 2017 update: select videos available)

The workshop was well attended, considering that it was as much a test as it was a research opportunity. A few dozen people attended at Leuphana and online. Scheduling had to accommodate a 9 hour difference in time zones. It was impressive to see how many people were willing to stay up late or get up early to participate. As a reflection on the history of computing, such an event would have been prohibitively expensive and unpredictable decades ago. Now, the system we used was new, familiar to many even with a mix of languages, and was effectively a test for Leuphana. It worked more than well enough for us.

For about 5 hours, the attendees listened and participated in a discussion of the objective and subjective aspects of early EdTech. Dates and data are more readily researched; but oral history captures the subjective aspects like the motivations and circumstances that led to decisions, actions, and also abandoned ideas. Anecdotes may conflict, but they also reveal the various perspectives that existed and influenced those times and these times. Even though Jeremias didn’t work in the ’60s and ’70s, he was able to put the workshop in perspective thanks to his research. Lee, Liza, and Howard were active in that era; their presentations provided insights and inspired questions as well as possible further investigations by researchers.

Education made computers personal

Much of the early EdTech work which was dedicated to applying computers and computing to education and learning was done by people whose work challenged conventional institutions: innovators, educators, visionaries, and revolutionaries. Some of this work was recorded. Much of it was never written down in the rush to turn new ideas into programs, lessons and new ways of teaching or learning. The workshop helped to refresh our memories, to ensure  that the information is preserved, to archive it and to make it available to researchers.

The nature of the collaboration between Liza and Jeremias is a good example of creating a bridge between generations. Liza Loop is the founder of LO*OP Center and the co-creator of the event. In the early days of personal computing, she brought the first Apple 1 into schools, opened a public access meeting place for computing, and helped write the user’s manuals for the Atari 400 and 800 computers. She lived the history, and knows others who also lived it. Jeremias Herberg is a post-doctoral fellow with the Complexity or Control Project at Leuphana University and works on how computers influenced learning. A sociologist, he is studying the history of science and technology, and finding others who are active in this field. These young scholars realize that the pioneers from a pivotal era are reaching the end of their lives and opportunities to meet them and capture their stories are becoming increasingly rare. This inaugural oral history workshop was yet another step in passing along history. There are many more stories to tell, record and study.

Lee was involved in the creation of several countercultural movements and in computers, including the Free Speech Movement where he created the famous “Community Memory”. In 1975, Lee co-founded the Homebrew Computer Club, where many early Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, including Apple inventor, Steve Wozniak, used to gather to swap stories and expertise. As an engineer, Lee created the Sol-20, and early desk-top computer and the Osborne 1, one of the first portable computers. Choosing from a breadth of influences, he chose to talk about the Tom Swift Terminal, a pre-PC device that would have enabled personal access to remote computers and could also be expanded into a quite capable stand-alone machine. As for how “Education Made Computers Personal”, he noted that the 60s – 70s resonated with the counterculture of a search for personal control, even through technology.

Howard was one of the first writers to point out the educational values of digital networks. He was involved in the WELL, a “computer conferencing” system and, drawing from that experience, he coined the term “virtual community”. As he pointed out, many of the issues encountered in those early days still remain after decades of development, partly because;

“Technologies, including EdTech, are changing faster than society.”

Computers and computing have changed society and the way we teach and learn; but, fundamentally, many organizations and institutions continue to struggle to adapt.

Because the details of the presentations are too much to relay here we are working at making the presentations and the video available. (You can follow some of the proceedings via #LLOHW on Twitter.) When they are available we’ll post them this blog and publish announcements on our LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter pages.

One workshop is not enough. There is an urgency to record as many of these oral histories as possible. The memories are perishable. The artifacts and documentation are at risk of being dismissed or overlooked by subsequent generations unless they are combined with contemporary, interpretive commentary. We are endeavoring to record those histories through the workshop and also through a crowd campaign so many more voices can be heard. Howard, Liza, and Lee are already well known through their writing as are many other EdTech pioneers. However, equally useful stories from elementary school teachers, hobbyists, and self-taught students, have yet to be captured. If you have a story, pass it along. If you want to read those stories, visit the HCLE wiki (our digital loading dock while we build our virtual museum). Keep next year’s workshop in mind and let us know if you would like to be kept abreast of our plans. There are more stories to tell and hear.

Thanks to everyone who made it happen.

Gaps In EdTech History

There are gaps in history, eras when important things happened but no one properly preserved the records. If you study history, you probably have your favorite examples of mysteries that will only be resolved with a time machine – or a very lucky find. The history of education is facing such a blank space.

Within the last decade, conversations about #EdTech have been accelerating and expanding. More material is being produced than anyone can assimilate. The born-digital portion of the discourse is impressive. Even the research, analyses, and insights being developed today aren’t always archived correctly; but academic studies are more likely to be preserved by their institutions, unofficial but effective efforts like Internet Archive save many of the web sites, and popular press collections by journalists, bloggers, and commenters are more likely to be preserved (at least temporarily) by whoever hosts them. Today, born-digital means easily transferable, and possibly preserved.

The decades before the Internet became a common (and largely chaotic) depository for all of human information weren’t so fortunate. It was an era that started with discussions about students possibly being interested in getting jobs that would develop computers, up through the period when computers dominated classrooms but were largely constrained within the walls of the schools. It was an era that had governmental and institutional initiatives; but it was dominated by pioneering teachers, administrators, and students who didn’t wait for official approval to expand what, why, how, when, and where they taught and learned. Compared to today, there was far less material produced, which means each artifact is that much more valuable. We at HCLE (the History of Computing in Learning and Education Virtual Museum) are focused on that era and those people, and are surprised that we can find few others doing similar work.

The teachers, administrators, parents, and students then asked the same questions being asked today. How much screen time is appropriate? What lessons are best taught by the teacher lecturing versus the student exploring software? Does the cost of technology create a digital divide based on wealth? EdTech’s historical gap is filled with insights and answers that apply to questions today.

EdTech’s blank space exists because the pioneers who didn’t wait for approval also didn’t necessarily document their intent or process. Sometimes it was unintentional, because the pioneers were so busy pioneering that they postponed documenting their progress. Sometimes that was intentional, because official records could trigger official demands to cease and desist. 

The documents that were produced were usually printed on non-archival paper. They are perishing through age and neglect. The hardware is becoming more fragile, and possibly impossible to repair because of the lack of replacement parts. The software is being lost because it was stored on a variety of media, some of which are degrading quickly, some of which are orphaned because the hardware readers are no longer available, some of which are orphaned because the operating systems no longer operate, and some of which might work but no one remembers how to run the programs. The most valuable and ultimately most perishable information are the stories stored in people’s memories; the true source of the research, analysis, insights, and wisdom that may or may not have been documented elsewhere.

Liza's van with computer monitors, wheel barrow of monitors and Stephie dog
News “Managing the not-so-virtual assets of HCLE” – by Liza Loop

It is a sad, yet unavoidable, reality that the pioneers are reaching the end of their lives. The era we study began in the mid-fifties, sixty years ago. As people age, memories fade, and are ultimately buried. After they’re gone, their descendants are tasked with sorting through estates that may include boxes of old notebooks, personal letters, newsletters, photos, home movies, computers, programs – a massive amount of work given to someone in mourning who understandably wants to get past a difficult part of their life. Artifacts are easily tossed away. Our awareness of the urgency is why we are preserving our document collection, recording stories of the pioneers, and reformatting born-digital information that was almost orphaned. (Thanks to the volunteers and collaborating institutions that are making it possible.)

The loss of artifacts and first hand accounts is not unique to our museum. Any museum that is working with the history of a topic from the fifties through the nineties experiences the same urgency.

Change in society is accelerating, but today’s efforts are more likely to be born-digital in an era when the awareness of preserving the information is being discussed. The efforts of decades ago didn’t benefit from the preservation efforts; yet, those efforts were the enablers of today’s acceleration.

Change requires adaptation and learning. A hundred years ago there was change; but a person could learn skills that would be useful for decades. Very little retraining was required. It was the era of lifelong careers. If you needed or wanted to learn something new, you found a class and learned from the teacher. Today, the skills you learned to operate your computer, your phone, your car, and your appliances may become outdated with the next overnight update. If you need or want to learn how to use the new version, you expect to teach yourself, possibly by communicating with peers. We’ve become less reliant on authority figures and more reliant on ourselves and our community, online or offline.

Understanding how we adapt to change is becoming more important because change is accelerating and adaption becoming more necessary. And yet, the history of our adaptations to one of our most important changes is being lost.

Civilization was enabled by education. What, why, how, when, and where is largely different from a hundred years ago, and even fifty years ago. Our civilization is entering a new era that is dramatically different from the previous era. Between the two was a transitional era, an enabling time that is easy to ignore, overlook, and even throw away. We are working to defend against the growth of that blank space in our history, to save enough of the artifacts and first-hand accounts to tie the eras together, to document a time when change accelerated – a useful study considering how understanding change will be necessary for understanding our civilization. If you’re doing the same, great! Thanks for doing what you do, and thanks to everyone who is helping.