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Education in the Shattered Universe

Posted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 4:00 pm
by Ray_Of_Meep
From a role-playing standpoint, discussing the educational background of a character seems like a novelty; it's typically assumed that any character of a technical background will have the intelligence to complete their day-to-day tasks, and perhaps more in times of stress, depending on the personality and the depth of their knowledge. However, it's this nuance that interests me, as such seemingly inconsequential background information is what give characters more life outside of the immediate story at hand. The discussion of education is especially important for me from not just a narrative standpoint, but also from a science fiction standpoint: with high-end technology intertwined in these characters' lives, their way of navigating through the stories they're in, any proficiency would've taken some learning at one point or a another in their lives, with said learning being a core part of their lives in that time period.

I want to look specifically and institutionalized education in factions where such systems can afford to take place. For the purpose of speculation, I'll be looking at the Alliance, since the Taianese education system has already been established. In general, anti-intellectualism should be an ideology long past; most of the factions in this sector, as far as I can tell, haven't been here for more than a few centuries, and the technology that got them here, and allowed them to survive, are of course anything beyond our current wildest wet dreams. A rejection of knowledge, even for the purpose of isolation, would be suicide, leaving oneself to be trampled over by any faction capable of throwing a rock from space.

With a culture of knowledge building, at least for developed factions, now established, let's see how they go about it. Regarding the availability of information itself, any fundamental sciences, core navigation, survival, and fabrication methods should come with a ship's data bank, thus leaving even the most remote of colonies and all of their colonists the necessary information to proliferate. Not only that, in the case of the Alliance, there should be an understanding that worlds can be literally torn asunder in this dangerous sector they live in. Thus, with how compact knowledge can be stored in the far future, every ship can also function as a data bank of sorts, preserving all of human history, art, and culture, further enriching information available to all colonists. Extrapolating from the accessibility of knowledge in the 21st century, with Space X's Starlink program becoming a reality, it won't be far-fetched to say that most, if not all of humanity in the Alliance will have the entirety of human knowledge at their fingertips.

Well, where does that leave education? If we look at Bloom's Taxonomy ( ... xonomy.php), the bottom most aspect, Remembering, should be much less emphasized. Of course, memory, the ability to retain facts, should still be developed at an early age, but beyond mental development forcing memorization seems archaic, even by 21st century standards. Understanding, the next step on the pyramid, should become the core aspect of learning in youth. It is no longer useful to simply teach that Columbus crossed the Atlantic ocean, but rather explain the motivations behind such an action, the political, economical, and social factors that went into it. Similarly, a lesson on Force equals Mass times Acceleration should not stop there, even for children. Why is that so? What are the assumptions made for such a core part of physics, and how can it potentially fall apart? With the technology available to the Alliance, their emphasis on child rearing and raising a large, competent populace, creating minds capable of diving deep into information given and questioning it should be a systematic process that is highly encouraged, if not mandatory.

The methodology to do accomplish such learning should be fundamentally different from our current 21st century ways, or rather, our 19th century methods. For the current education system is based on strict timelines based on industrial working schedules, with very little motivation or any apparent application provided. Classroom based settings curb creativity and self-expression, forcing an entire populace into a single, inflexible way of thinking. This is almost the exact opposite of how to build a intellectually healthy and active population. But I digress, I'm not here to shit on the current (backwards) education system. With highly advanced AI, classrooms and teachers from a classical sense should be non-existent. Rather, highly-competent professionals will utilize AI to evaluate a student's natural tempo, their strengths and weaknesses, and create lesson plans and assignments that allow the best of the student to shine. Fixed schedules and locations of learning are to be completely done away with, replaced by milestones dependent on the student's natural mental development, allowing a student to work at their own pace in settings they are most comfortable with.There will still be rough divisions of educational level based on age, but deviations will be much greater. This should encompass most of a child's early education up until upper-"high school" or collegiate level. The goal of this phase of education is to A) develop the student's ability to independently seek out and understand information, and B) expose them to a wide variety of subjects and professions they are potentially interested in.

Re: Education in the Shattered Universe

Posted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 5:03 pm
by uso
There is more to school than just learning. It also gets kids to socialize and learn how to interact with one another. It can also help introduce them to other people, and start forming the networks they'll use later in life. School can also server as a daycare to keep the kids out of the parent's hair while they work though I think that is less of an issue for the Alliance.

I also assumed Wazu had a teach-bot that basically fed him episodes of space-bill-nye, though I also figured that's probably the reason why he wasn't great with people from the start.

If I had to suggest a way to do this in the Alliance, each student would have a caretaker-teach-bot assigned to them. It would pull lessons from a pool of them, and based on feedback assign new lessors or sign the kid up for club-activities so they can meet other students.

Teachers would be able to submit lessons to the pool, and based on feedback from how all the students are doing lessons can be prioritized or removed from the pool as needed. While some teachers would be club-leaders I think most wouldn't see the students ever and instead use the feedback from the system to continue building better and better lessons.

Then there are probably wavers or whatever to send kids to private schools or do other types of education.

Re: Education in the Shattered Universe

Posted: Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:39 am
by Ray_Of_Meep
I agree. The idea that everyone is home-schooled is perhaps impractical for much of the Alliance population, though I'd argue it'll be much easier with remote work being more feasible to do. Admittedly, the social aspect of education, at least for the youth, is something I haven't considered. The social ecology of children is one that I'm not particularly well-informed in, and going into that subject will only lead to a rabbit-hole discussion of Alliance social dynamics. Thus, I'll make a vague proposal and handwave it like this: social interaction will primarily take the form of interactions outside of school activities. Since, ideally, one isn't stuck in a classroom for a long and fixed period of time anymore, they have much more time to explore the community and interact with their peers. In an academic setting, young students will be interacting through completing small projects like those of science fairs.

With that being said, up until this point I've been mainly discussing education at an early age, the roughly 5 to 15 year timezone. By this point, all students should have the mental capacity to voluntarily seek out new information and analyze it, completing the "Understanding" level of Bloom's taxonomy and venturing into the "Applying" and "Analyzing" stages. They will also have a complete analysis of their mental tempo, their personalities, and their preferred working environments thanks to roughly a decade of advanced AI monitoring. Of course, not every Alliance colony will have such capabilities, requiring such analysis to be completed by humans instead in some places, and to a lesser degree of rigor. All of this studying will come out as a report providing the student career and future study recommendations, leading to the "young-adult" or "collegiate" stage of education.

One of the primary problems of modern education is that students don't have the ability to choose a career option that suits them and prepare for it, leading to a high school, and even college education, that isn't particularly meaningful. The system I propose seeks to prevent that entirely to avoid the waste of resources and loss of morale among students. With the resource abundance of the Alliance, young-adult students can choose a subject from the list of recommendations that interests them and collaborate with other students in 6-month to 1-year long projects, gaining much needed experience for the more advanced tasks their chosen profession calls for. For example, a student who wishes to become a satellite engineer will be given the resources necessary to built their own, small satellite from a relatively young age. Another student who wants to go into the field of genetic modification will be pointed towards a greenhouse shared by other students, with all the equipment necessary to experiment. Progress and resource consumption of these projects will be carefully monitored, with gates at specified times controlled by a mentor. Ideally, these projects are tailor made for the students' observed strengths and interests, preempting strong motivation and the mental capacity required for them to complete their projects successfully. After 3 to 5 years of completing such projects, students should have the experience and social skills to at least be a competent and well-informed citizen. They should now have the maturity and knowledge required to officially make a career decision, leading them towards either directly to a job in their chosen field, or towards "adult" or "upper-collegiate" level education.

Re: Education in the Shattered Universe

Posted: Thu Oct 24, 2019 6:00 pm
by Kim
Education on Jord leans more in the way of apprenticeships for traditional laborer roles with only the noble elite attending formal colleges about history, politics, military strategy. Tatya hini of Jord a similar pre-apprenticeship program to determine proficiency in a job before allowing movement into that job. They have a more oral tradition but attempt to communally teach all how to read, write. The use of the luisne is also important to passing knowledge across generational gaps.

Liang tatya hini use a pre-apprenticeship program to determine proficiency in a job before allowing movement into that job. They have a more oral tradition but attempt to communally teach all how to read, write. They have been forced to transition to more institutionalized educational systems to obtain work with Taianese employers.

Re: Education in the Shattered Universe

Posted: Fri Oct 25, 2019 12:08 am
by CadetNewb
Though already mentioned as being established on the wiki, I'll summarize Tai Pan's education system for propriety's sake. Less jumping around pages and tabs if anyone wants or needs to check. Long story short, they prioritize socialization of their children first. Information and so forth is as easy as a download, so that's trickled in at a slow but increasing pace as they grow. As they get older though, priorities shift to applying the knowledge, using it practically, that sort of thing, since they'll be heading to the Imperial Academy. Since info and know-how can just be downloaded, their formal education there is mostly about efficient performance and cultural conformity. Basically refining that practical use to a razor's edge while towing the party line.

It is honestly one of Tai Pan's greatest strengths, since this applies not only to their engineers and biologists, but also their soldiers too, with a very quick turn around time. The sheer speed and amount of high-quality graduates that they can produce in a very short amount of time is staggering, however, it's not without weaknesses. I'd say the uniformity of their 'product' is a double edged sword, though they are acutely aware of that and try to compensate. To give a more martial example, Imperial Stormtroopers come in high quantity and quality, but are uniform. A trick that works against one, will work on most others that are fresh out of the academy. In a sense, you could say the same thing about Terminators.

The real interesting part though, is how it pertains to 2nd Class Citizens. Getting a course would basically guarantee being ready to work as a star ship engineer or a geneticist, since they'll insist on hammering a person into it and not failing someone as a matter of pride. And because the memorizing part of class is a fast and easy download. However, it's expensive. Very expensive. They know that knowledge is power, and they loathe just handing it out.