March 14, 2018
Until this morning, I was not thinking about Stephen Hawkins this week. While checking the headlines in the morning, came across the news of him moving on to the next stage of his eternal life. The fascinating aspect of him was his clarity of thoughts about the issues related to Universe, in spite of his physical disabilities. This blog is not an eulogy of his accomplishments and contribution to the world in Physics.
What I want to focus on is, how he used the tools and machines to continue his education (in his case research) and learning for life even though his sense organs were not functioning. His brain was assisted by machine tools instead of sense organs to carry on his quest for knowledge.
Now we all can not be Stephen Hawkins, but with an adoption of lifelong learning process and using appropriate tools, we all can continue Education and improve our life experience. This brings to another question of what do we mean by “Education”? Typically we think of Education as Reading, Writing, Computing (numbers) to acquire knowledge and skills to accomplish tasks and / or solve problems. By acquiring these capabilities, we earn a right to be rewarded to live life. In other words, we typically think of getting Education to acquire skills that will allow us to make a “living”. What I found is that this is only a partial definition of the Education. As we cross different stages of life, we are observing that the need for Education never stops throughout the life. My own experience indicates that, now we are coming across many better tools than before, to continue our Education and Learning process.
When thinking about the tools, I used chalk, slate, pencil, pen, paper, blackboard, book, phone, slide rule, laboratory auxiliaries, calculator and computer for my formal education with the guidance from the teachers and physical facilities like schools, colleges and universities. However, next stage of my education during the life of work experience included self motivated and continuous learning to build more skills and knowledge. Now we are learning that the tools are becoming more powerful such as Apps like – Search (made popular by Yahoo and Google), Instant Communication with trails (emails, texts), GPS (Maps and Directions), Data Storage and Analytics, E-Commerce and Artificial Intelligence, supported by global online platforms and machines. They help us acquire more knowledge that continue to increase our education base. In a way, Life and Education will continue to travel together in our journey! The pace rate for the capabilities of these new tools is continuously accelerating. Knowing and using these tools will improve the physical as well as overall life of not only the future generations, but also the current generations of the societies in the world. We will look at the other side effects of these changes, some time in one of the blogs later.