The Cyber Kids Vision
In 1992, Yiannis Laouris together with George Vakanas and Maria Symeonides returned from the US where they resided to launch in Cyprus a nation-wide experiment based on a concept they then called the “profitable dream.”
They envisioned that introducing advanced computer technology in the lives of a critical number of young children using an educationally relevant and socially responsible, peace-enhancing curriculum would allow them to “transcend” the country’s educational and political shortcomings and accelerate growth of the new generation a decade ahead. Their motivation stemmed on one hand from the concession that educational systems all over the world were failing to meet contemporary needs and expectations, and on the other hand, from the advent of promising computer-based technologies which were signaling fundamental changes in social development and human evolution.
The Cyber Kids Experiment was founded and driven by a well-defined vision statement:
… to re-define the tools, methods and purpose of education, in light of relevant social change.”
The clearly stated vision served as the inspiration and the glue to build a team of committed agents of change and entrepreneurs.
Every word in this vision statement carried significant, well thought out meanings with profound implications.
- The term re-define revealed a revolutionary disposition. From a dialectic point of view, it implied that the conventional educational systems required exhaustive upgrading and transformation to meet the needs and challenges of the new millennium. It needed to be completely re-visited and re-defined.
- The term tools, referred to and called for the need to integrate emerging technologies into the educational context. For the 1990’s, tools referred to computers and the Internet. Today, it would also refer to mobile devices and associated services.
- The term methods, highlighted the urgent need for new methodologies, new pedagogies and new theories to guide learning activities.
- The term purpose, disclosed the requirement to question the very purpose of conventional education, and to open up discussion and inquiry as to why and for what end children should spend half their lives in schools. It further denoted the exploration and development of novel approaches to learning and acquisition of new knowledge in light of globalizing conditions and the consequent need for a global culture of peace and cooperative symbiosis. The central concept of the vision statement envisioned a society in which people not only engage in learning activities voluntarily and with enthusiasm, but also with high respect for knowledge, wisdom and human values relevant for global co-existence.
- Finally, the phrase ... in light of relevant social change, suggested that the above vision, stated within the context of a dynamically changing world, will be ever changing to accommodate evolving needs.