This is a presentation that I gave to the Council of Europe’s Youth Directorate and partners about the future of education and our attempt to create an example of that through Ubiquity University.
Here’s a TEDx talk I gave Oct 31 2018 on the state of the world, the implications for education and how we are trying to provide an adequate response at Ubiquity.
Here’s a 20 minute podcast from the Congress on Personalised Education in Utrecht.
Here’s the film of a talk I gave on the state of the world and how we are responding to that with Ubiquity. At a congress on personalised learning in Utrecht, 23 January 2018.
They take your dreams down and stick them in storage
You can have them back son when you’ve paid off your mortgage and loans
“Life’s For The Living” by PASSENGER
[Here’s a piece I wrote about Ubiquity and why I think it’s so important for the world.]
If there is anything humanity needs now, it is for people, in particular our young people, to dream of the future they want and make it happen. At a time where crises seem to follow one another non-stop, it must be hard to stay optimistic if your whole future is still in front of you.
In these early start-up days at Ubiquity, it helps me to remember what we are really about here. As our old systems groan under the strain of challenges they were not designed to meet, the global ecology becomes increasingly turbulent, social tensions are amplified and everything can seem to be descending into the abyss. Where are the leaders who are going to name things for what they are, be bold enough to lay out a vision radically different to the societies we currently live in, and inspire and resource people to make it happen?
Well they won’t come from the existing systems. They can’t, as like a fish in water, they can’t extract themselves from the mindset and practices that they grew up in and are responsible for ensuring the stability of nowadays. It is time for radical R&D from the bottom up. It is for those who feel the dis-ease of the current system and the call of a brighter future to make it happen. Many of us already are. There is an explosion of social innovation and entrepreneurship to parallel the despair and destruction of the old.
Ubiquity is designed to scale the renewal. I see Ubiquity as a new learning and innovation organ of the planet. Remember that ultimately we are all an expression of the Earth – you are the planet reading its own words right now. Ubiquity is one of the planet’s latest experiments to see how to navigate through this transition into the next phase of our being.
It requires a number of things. Firstly, ruthless realism to face what is currently going on and ground ourselves in the full realisation of the present condition, to focus us and release energy to prioritise what really needs to be done. Secondly, a passion-based commitment to play our part in the transition. What area is each of us called to work in? Thirdly, a humility to know that we cannot do it alone and therefore a quest for collaboration. Where are the other people drawn to the same passion who have complementary skills to us? Fourthly, a realisation that this is all bigger than any of us. It is a process of life that includes dynamics at planetary and universe levels. This means we need to trust that ultimately where things end up will be fine from the biggest perspective, not acting from a place of fear, but from a playful curiosity to discover how life is going to make it happen, combined with a clarity of action to take the next natural step with all our being.
Ubiquity’s job is to put in place the conditions for millions of people to be able to do just that – learn and act together aligned behind a shared vision of a world that works for all. If we succeed in that, the resources will follow, and will be distributed to whoever needs them to make their contribution. Humanity will end up playing a role worthy of our greatest potential, enabling life to continue its exploration into conscious co-creation between self-aware beings towards a world of both greater interconnectedness and each individual’s manifestation of their unique Purpose. If we need to be a business and call ourselves a University and platform to do that, so be it. Our form and structure however will always be a means to an end, and never an end in itself. And on our journey, we have already met and are sure still to meet many others with the same impulse, who we embrace as collaboration partners on this most epic of quests.
Driven to despair by how my smart and sensitive eldest son was suffering from increasing stress and depression by the mind-numbing rote-learning and non-step testing regime at his apparently top secondary school in the Netherlands, I googled in Dutch “education without tests”. Up popped the page of a tv documentary about a school in Roermond called Niekee where they had been experimenting with an approach called Agora. As I read the interview with one of the co-founders, Sjef Drummen, my eyes filled with tears as I recognised the secondary education of the future that truly honours and liberates the wholeness and potential of our children. The old system is broken and it’s breaking our kids. I was determined to do what I could to bring it to my home town and so earlier this week I visited Sjef and his amazing school. I feel immensive gratitude for the vision and courage he and his team have shown in actually manifesting a working example of how it could be done differently. As he repeated a number of times to me, “what we care about is what is good for the development of the child”. Below is some more information about Agora that I have translated from various Dutch sources, and some photos of the children’s working spaces (that they get to design themselves).