Ps and Qs Education

Socrates-approved

There are quotes and there are quotes, especially these days, when messages, (mis) information overloads and links hit us through every imagined medium.

But despite this noise, one — attributed to Steve Jobs— holds my attention: “I would trade all of my technology for an afternoon with Socrates.” Ironic, coming from someone like Jobs who crafted technology-led miracles for the way we communicate now.

Of course, I don’t know the context in which he made this particular statement; if he really did make it. Yet, to me, this is a reassuring belief in how knowledge and technology go hand in hand. Perhaps Socrates would have been happy to see how technology has now opened our locked-down world to a plethora of knowledge.

The gloom around us notwithstanding, there is still hope and opportunity to become better versions of ourselves. And I don’t mean this in an esoteric, philosophical sense alone.

Adaptive learning

Literally every single day, I receive the most attractive emails and newsletters from around the world, encouraging me to learn something new. This is the renewed age of digital learning. Online learning platforms, virtual tools for collaboration and conferencing and learning apps, which were always around, are now back with renewed zeal to rope us into their offerings. Academic institutions are moving practically all their classes to remote modes, calling for new ways of learning and collaborating. And technology is making this possible, at least in parts of the world where we are fortunate enough to access and leverage it.

Where remote working has become the contemporary norm for some sectors, organisations are encouraging employees to take advantage of this period and learn new skills. Where I work, this is now a top organisational priority and all of us are reminded constantly to pick up new skills, refresh old skills and stay ahead of the curve. And these reminders come in the most refreshing, innovative ways.

Things are not hunky-dory. The circumstances are dynamic and the future puzzling, to say the least. But the current uncertainty shouldn’t stop us from arming ourselves with more knowledge and learning. At least the present looks certain, to some extent, so why not put it to good use through learning?

Depending on our backgrounds, ambitions and career streams, we could decide to choose the most appropriate online medium or platform, and set off on a fascinating learning journey. We could all become students and make new connections and friends across the world. We could share reliable and authentic knowledge through these new networks — responsibly, of course.

Learning something new could also keep our minds positively engaged and recharged and give us the much-needed respite from what surrounds us. I wouldn’t call this escapism, but perhaps a constructive way to deal with the reality.

So, I sure hope you sign up for a few online courses and begin your digital learning adventure. I am sure Socrates would approve.

The writer is a writer and literary journalist. She also heads Corporate Communications at UST Global. Twitter: @anupamaraju

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2021 8:55:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/socrates-approved/article31376491.ece

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