Selected publications (.pdf)

"Education Change, Leadership and the Knowledge Society" 
Global e-Schools Initiative (GeSCI)  

Survey of ICT in education in the Caribbean
Volume 1: Regional trends & analysis
Volume 2: Country reports
infoDev 

Using technology to train teachers:
Appropriate uses of ICT for
teacher professional developmen
t
 
infoDev (Mary Burns, co-author)

Project evaluation:
Uganda rural school-based telecenters

World Bank Institute
(Sara Nadel, co-author)

The Educational Object Economy:
Alternatives in authoring &
aggregation of educational software 

Interactive Learning Environments
(Purchase or subscription req'd) 

Development of multimedia resources 
UNESCO (Cesar Nunes, co-author)

Real Access/Real Impact
Teresa Peters & bridges.org
(hosted for reference; RIP TMP) 

« The race between self-driving cars and education | Main | And finally, demand-driven education »
Tuesday
Jun062017

Driverless cars, the gig economy and education worldwide



... prototype self-driving car Marc van der Chijs / Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0

(CC-BY licensed image from megadox.com)

What are the implications for education of change in the automobile industry?

 

Decreased efficiency of TVET plus increased importance of academic curricula.
Change drivers in the auto industry (and thereby in TVET) include: 1) The development of driverless cars; 2) the gig economy. These two emerging events are linked, of course, because gig-economy capitalists look fondly on the possibility of not investing in gig-economy labor. In any event, these factors are going to lead to the reduction in auto manufacturing.   And auto manufacturing is a big-deal sector, worldwide; there were about 94,000,000 cars made in 2016, by more than 9 million people supported by another 41 million employed in “indirect” jobs related to the industry (per the International Organization of Vehicle Manufacturers, or OICA).
We don’t imagine that people are going to make fewer trips — on the contrary — but we can predict that they will buy fewer cars. If car ownership costs me US $4,000 per year in California (where we _know_ we will get driverless cars first), that’s probably approx 200 trips. In which I can use my phone and my laptop, focus on my conversation with my lovely wife, Sandra, swap texts with my niece, read the new york review of books, see the Democracy Now! podcast, and generally enrich my life or increase my productivity (which fortunately might include building knowledge of popular culture as embodied by, say, Game of Thrones or Dear White People) and by doing anything other than driving. And, I’m not competing with the guy with the Tesla or the guy with the Corvette, I’m in the car that arrives with me in it.
And this car is unowned by me and by any other individual. So why would I buy my own car? 
Once “my” car arrives and offloads me it’s off to the next pick up, all night and all day long. One car doing the work of three or four cars belonging to three or four Uber drivers who (I hope) sleep sometime. 
So the use of cars becomes more efficient. 
So what does that mean for school systems in the US and elsewhere. The US is 2nd-largest manufacturer of cars in the world; China is the first, and has been since 2009. If I'm not buying a car, and neither are the three or four Uber drivers who have been made redundant by Uber's driverless metal beast, we're talking a serious reduction in demand for the automotive industry's product. (Over time, not right away. This all might start in California, but we are a ways from exporting driverless tech to, say, Burundi.)
I visited a vocational-education secondary school in Indonesia in 2010, a country that produced over 1 million cars in 2015.  The school is really well run, but of course jobs-for-graduates are the sine qua non of both school performance and community satisfaction. As new hires at the local auto manufacturing plant started to dwindle, the principal reached out to ask, Huh? What? Why? 
The auto guys responded that in fact they needed new hires with CAD (Computer Aided-Design) skills. So the principal lobbied the school-community committee or association or whatever to purchase a CAD system (US $200 for educator versions in 2010, between $1 and $4,000 for businesses). The community ponied up and the kids gained skills and were again employable. 
TVET is huge. It’s the closest thing to demand-driven education that we have. And also the most consistently implemented program of learning by doing. We can assume that TVET will evolve to pace change in the auto industry, as best it can. But we should also assume that there will be a huge drop-off in demand for new cars and the workers who (would) build them.