Virtualization of Education

Education, policy, and the future; these are all facets which this white paper aims to address by illustrating a lifestyle that is not so far off. The reader of this paper will better understand the possibilities of where education can go, understand what technologies are already out there to support those directions, and what schools and corporations are already doing to capitalize on the possibilities offered to this sector. Furthermore, the reader should better understand that the changes that need to be made to make way for this type of education are not just technological, but behavioral and political, as the landscape of education could change drastically.

To help explain what benefits lie ahead for a culture that adapts, the paper goes into what has already been proven through the use of virtual learning techniques and the effects that it can have on society. For example, it has been proven that while students only retain 10% of what they read, they retain 90% of what they do, even if it is a simulation. This means that schools, from Kindergarten to higher education, can use these simulations to increase the learning ability of their students. Along with the many opportunities offered to the education sector, technology poses as a huge enabler for new forms of innovation in the corporate world which can have much longer lasting and impactful effects on society.

At the end of the day, this paper shows that the speed at which education through this medium advances is the result of how open policy makers and everyday citizens are to the changes being made. This paper should serve as a starting point for anyone making a decision on whether or not to try these new methods and technologies.

One Day Flyer’s Ed. Pass = Fly!

I love flying.  I get nervous sometimes when there’s bad turbulence or a shaky landing, but overall I enjoy the experience of getting to the airport, eating at a restaurant or buying a magazine, and cramming into a seat that doesn’t fit me because all the exit row seats are taken by people shorter than 6’0″.  What I DON’T enjoy, however, is the safety speech/demonstration that occurs every time I fly.  


First of all, no one pays attention to what the flight attendant is saying.  I’ve told myself in the past that I would read through the pamphlet in the exit row to actually understand what to do in case of an emergency, but it’s hard to do.  Let’s be honest…do any of us really know the protocol?  For all I know, all of you do, and I’m making a fool of myself.  But I have a hunch that not many of us do.

So why don’t we know this protocol?  Simple: there are no consequences.  You can still fly if you don’t know how to fly.  This is unlike driving, where you need to take an educational class and have time behind the wheel before you can hit the road.

Now, I know what you’re thinking.  “Mike, you don’t actually FLY the plane…so why do you need to take Flyer’s Ed?  You don’t need to take Driver’s Ed when you’re just sitting in a seat as a passenger, either.”  Well, I agree.  Whole-heartedly.  You don’t really need a class on how to be a passenger on an airplane.  But if we DID have one, we could get rid of the flight attendant having to demonstrate it every single time we fly.  That would save him/her time & our sanity.

Finally, having this class would actually make people know what to do in case of an emergency.  If they took a simple day-long course and had to pass an exam later that day or the next morning in order to fly, I’m willing to bet they would pay attention!

I’m sure there would be a huge public outcry saying that this is unnecessary.  But just envision this.  You have a 6am flight back to Harrisburg, heading back to Bucknell after Spring Break.  You’re tired from the sun, you’re hungover, and you don’t even want to think about school.  Wouldn’t it be nice to hop on that plane, and have them just turn the lights off right away, without a peep from a flight attendant, so you could sleep and get the flight over with?  I’d sure like that.  🙂


Educate yourself

This week I attended the sustainability seminar that spoke about the new curriculum.  I think sustainability is actually a very interesting topic and wish I had attended a different seminar that spoke more about sustainability rather than the curriculum.  I mean yeah, I guess it was somewhat interesting to learn about the new curriculum but to be honest I don’t really care about a curriculum that wasn’t offered to me.

Don’t get me wrong, I do think that sustainability is an extremely important topic but I’m not sure its something that can be taught in the classroom.  I really think it is something that you kind of have to go out and learn on your own.  Its similar to what we were talking about in class with taking an entrepreneurial class.  There is no reason to do this, it’s more of something you just have to go out and learn on your own.

I hate to be so distraught towards I school I love but to be honest I kind of feel like this whole sustainability notion is more of a facade than something that is actually real.  I feel like Bucknell is doing it in order to look better in the eyes of a number of different people and so that they can make the claim that Bucknell is a highly “sustainable” campus.  Like I saw in some other posts, it is important to highlight that sustainability doesn’t just mean saving the environment.  I do support the parts of engineering curriculum that are being changed but I am by no means a huge fan of what is going on in the management school.

We have an opportunity

How can the world change if our future generations are continuing to be taught by old principles? This is a pressing question that was raised by the professors at the sustainability seminar. Change starts with small, but necessary steps. Old environmental attitudes and principles need to be changed in order to create a future for next generations. We now know that the resources on the planet are finite so we have to stop acting like we can keep taking from the earth without any responsibility. This change starts with the education of students at the college level.

I attended the 1pm section of the sustainability seminar in which 4 professor discussed the change in curriculum in the management, engineering, and humanities departments. I thought it was very interesting to see how Bucknell was incorporating the go green movement into their curriculum. It was refreshing to see the great extent of interdisciplinary courses because I think that students gain a lot of knowledge from taking classes in different majors. As a management major, I think I am a better and more rounded person when I take courses to explore different angles of the world. College students are some of the future leaders of the nation so they need to be educated on a wide variety of subjects. I think that by creating a new engineering major and by restructuring the management school, future Bucknell graduates will be more informed and prepared to enact change in the business industry. Professor Hiller, a management professor, explained not just the content of the new courses, but also why they were necessary. She explained that even though businesses are still mainly focused on profits, there has been a recent shift towards focusing on the environment. Businesses have felt pressured to start thinking about making their operations more sustainable. As a result, they need students who have education in both business and the environment. I thought that this was very interesting that the Bucknell administration placed a lot of emphasis on educating students to act more responsibility.

Throughout the seminar, I was thinking to myself if this new sustainability incorporation into management, engineering, and humanities will make any difference. The answer to my question came about when a man in the audience asked a question. He asked whether or not students will be able to bring any changes into Fortune 500 companies since these companies are more focused on profits not sustainability. She did acknowledged that major companies are focused on the bottom line. Although, she said that if there is no change on the education level then new college graduates will not bring any change to the business sector. Professor Hiller stated that it would be difficult for a college graduate to influence a major company, but if graduates start their own companies then they will have a sense of the importance of sustainability. I don’t think that any significant change will occur short term from the incorporation of sustainability and interdisciplinary courses in the majors of engineering, management and humanities. Although, I think that this change is very necessary because college professors can’t continue to teach old environmental principles. I do believe that this change in teaching will create long term change in the business sector. I do wish that I had the opportunity to benefit from this new change in the management department.