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Virtually all major car and tech companies are pursuing self-driving technology as the future of transportation.”

By Erika Twani, CEO of Learning One to One

The first autonomous prototype cars were drawn up back in 1930. It took 50 years before they were tested in the 80s. Although with various flaws, they are finally being scaled to the market. These self-driving wonders of sci-fi long ago are on an irreversible course. It will happen. It is a matter of picking the right technology. Something like what happened to video players (VHS or BETAMAX). Perhaps that is why we see technology companies like Google and Uber also vested on figuring it out. Autonomous cars are possible today because of many technologies, such as GPS with speed limit information, congestion maps and alternative routes, parking finder, and so many others.

So what does this have to do with education?

Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers” shared researches concluding one needs 10,000 hours of practice to be an expert on anything. Well, students spend 13,200 hours, Kindergarten through High School, practicing to sit and wait for the next instruction. What can we expect from these students when they reach adult lives? If so many things are becoming autonomous around us, why are we still insisting on a dependent education where students cannot self-govern themselves? No parent wants their children depending on them all their lives, yet most school systems are doing exactly the opposite today.

Luckily, we have seen innovation towards learning and life autonomy. Go to Youtube.com and watch videos demonstrating how students learn better when they can be autonomous. Our channel has some of them sharing our own experience. Reflect on the best job you ever had, when your boss allowed you to take responsibility and the results. Didn’t it feel good? It is no different with students. Autonomy is a powerful state because it enables students to drive their learning like PhD students do, and that will reflect in their lives after 13,200 hours of practice.

We have seen many attempts to implement autonomous learning through the use of technology. Given them a computer and somehow magic happens. Do schools expect students to learn by themselves when they are in front of a computer? It does not happen this way! Autonomy is developed with time. Think of a child learning to walk: crawl, stumble, stay up, stumble again, a couple of steps, fall, and finally walk. It is the same process to develop learning autonomy. Educators and parents provide the necessary support to students enabling them to reach the highest autonomy level.

Like cars, education needed a driver: the teacher. Now drivers are transferring to cars the responsibility of driving. And like them, today’s education must transfer to students the responsibility of learning. That’s autonomous learning! It will bring them better social and economic opportunities in life, not to mention the intrinsic motivation to learn more because they are the ones in charge. The question now is: do we have the commitment and courage to make it happen?

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