Edu-innovation requires investment and incentives

| 7 Dec 2009 16:00

On Monday I attended an education technology conference-a few hundred people reviewing very simple education tools. On Wednesday I attended a military learning technology conference (I/ITSEC)-16,000 people experiencing sophisticated and realistic simulations of flying a fighter, piloting a battleship, and patrolling a village. US education and defense budgets are roughly the same size, but the Department of Defense spends 15 times as much on research and development and in a much more focused way. The DOD is a much better and more efficient learning system than the distributed K-12 'system.'

Retired Vice Admiral Al Harms, who led the learning revolution in the Navy, was the star participant on an education panel. Harms described how the US is slipping in international academic ranking and noted the unsettling implications of what will soon be a billion middle class citizens in India and China consuming education and energy at increasing rates.

Richard Boyd, from Lockheed's virtual world lab, discussed the use of simulations in building 'rapid pathways to mastery' in military, medical, retail, and transportation applications. He is confident that virtual worlds, simulations, and learning games will allow young people to learn more, faster, and cheaper than ever before.

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