"We live in a complex world. We’ve political uprisings, we’ve stock market crashes, we’ve new technology bombarding us with information. How do we make sense of it?"
Does this question sound familiar to you? Maybe, just like me, you too feel overwhelmed by the changes and issues of the world we're living in. Changes and issues that particularly affect us as educators in an ever-evolving reality. So, our questions as teachers could be: how can we make sense of it, so that we can help our students do the same? how can we help them deal with the unexpected?
Mr Scott E Page (the Leonid Hurwicz Collegiate Professor of Complex Systems, Political Science, and Economics at the University of Michigan) has an answer to the opening question.
"The answer I'm gonna give, is that we make sense of it with using models. Models are gonna make us better at organizing information, better at forecasting, better at making decision, better at strategising..."
Now, I'm no economist, nor (no no!) matematician unfortunately. But if we talk of making sense of this crazy times we are living, any kind of help is more than welcome. Mr Scott E Page is organizing a free online course, starting this month, February 2012, on Model Thinking.
Even if the course is not aimed at teachers, I think it could be interesting for us as well, since it will be organized at different levels. A variety of models will be introduced -and for each model, there will be an introductory lecture of about 10 minutes, accessible to a general audience, and then advanced lectures, explaining the model's details and use, possible extensions, etc. Lessons will be recorded, so you can watch them at your leisure.
For the brave ones, there will be questions and quizzes, and even a final exam! If you pass, you'll be given a certificate of completion (and you'll earn my everlasting admiration!). Otherwise, you may want to just follow along for the introductory lectures and why not, try to understand some more of our reality.
Now, the course is free, challenging and interesting: I'll definitely give it a try, let me know if you decide to join in: we'll have fun sharing impressions and experiences!