Lifelong Education on Service Systems
Article: Lifelong education on service systems: a perspective for STEM learners
Jim Spohrer — formerly the Director of Almaden Services Research, and now the Director of IBM Global University Programs — updated me on his current thinking about a potential design for education on Smarter Planet Service Systems.
|Systems that move, store, harvest, process||Kindergarten||Transportation|
|1||Water and waste management|
|2||Food and global supply chain|
|3||Energy and energy grid|
|4||Information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure|
|Systems that enable healthy, wealthy and wise people||5||Building and construction|
|6||Banking and finance|
|7||Retail and hospitality|
|9||Education (including universities)|
|Systems that govern||10||Government (cities)|
|11||Government (regions / states)|
|Higher education||Specific service systems|
|Professional life||Specific service systems|
Jim is following confirmation of the effectiveness of a Challenge-Based Learning approach by the New Media Consortium as “a strategy to engage kids in any class by giving them the opportunity to work on significant problems that have real-world implications”. I liked his ordering of systems into three levels:
- systems that move, store, harvest, process;
- systems that enable healthy, wealthy and wise people; and
- systems that govern.
These are ordered so that concrete systems would be studied in early grades. Kindergarten students — leaving the house regularly to experience walking, buses and cars — could appreciate understanding transportation systems. Grade 1 students growing up with the modern conveniences of running water and municipal sewage, could study water and waste management systems. Grade 2 students, old enough to help make their own lunches and shop at local markets, could learn about food and global supply chain systems. Grade 3 students experiencing simple electrical appliances (e.g. toasters, fans) could take a tour of an electrical plant (e.g. hydro-electric facility, or wind turbines) to learn about the energy and electric grid system. By Grade 4, 21st century students will have already become facile with mobile phones and personal computers on the Internet, so understanding information and communications technologies infrastructure systems should be easier than for their grandparents.
At the next level, learners would become more adept with the basic infrastructure of a modern society. Grade 5 students could understand how physical environments are built, in building and construction systems. Grade 6 students could visit to a local bank — and in large cities, the stock market — to appreciate banking and financial systems. Grade 7 students, developing into teens with interests in fashions and parties, could learn about retail and hospitality systems. By Grade 8, as an complement to physical education topics on puberty, visits to a hospital could serve as in introduction to healthcare systems. The beginning of high school at Grade 9 presents an opportunity to discuss education systems, including universities and colleges.
Secondary school positions learners to be active members of society. Government systems are relatively abstract. Learning about city government systems in Grade 10, about regional and state government systems in Grade 11, and about national government systems in Grade 12 gradually prepares the young as future citizens who not only draw on public services, but will also vote in elections.
In higher education and professional life — since the major growth in economies has been in the delivered form of services rather than products, and in end products of information rather than materials — knowledge development would largely be self-selected from specific service systems of interest (coinciding with higher paying jobs).