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Fuller begins by tracing his own rocky start in traditional education and his eventual disillusionment with the establishment:. I am a New Englander, and I entered Harvard immaturely. I was too puerilely in love with a special, romantic, mythical Harvard of my own conjuring — an Olympian world of super athletes and alluring, grown-up, worldly heroes.
I was the fifth generation of a direct line of fathers and their sons attending Harvard College. For instance, because I had been quarterback on a preparatory school team whose quarterbacks before me had frequently become quarterbacks of the Harvard football team, I had hoped that I too might follow that precedent, but I broke my knee, and that ambition was frustrated.
But above all, I was confronted with social problems of clubs and so forth. The problems they generated were solved by the great [Greek] House system that was inaugurated after World War I. My father died when I was quite young, and though my family was relatively poor I had come to Harvard from a preparatory school for quite well-to-do families.
I was shockingly surprised by the looming situation. I suddenly saw a class system existing in Harvard of which I had never dreamed. I was not aware up to that moment that there was a social class system and that there were different grades of citizens. My thoughts had been idealistically democratic.
Some people had good luck and others bad, but not because they were not equal. I considered myself about to be ostracized or compassionately tolerated by the boys I had grown up with. Out of college, I went to work and worked hard. In no time at all, reports went to Harvard that I was a good and able boy and that I really ought to go back to college; so Harvard took me back.
However, I was now considered a social maverick, and I saw none of my old friends; it hurt too much. Each time I returned to Harvard I entered a world of gnawing apprehensions, not an educational institution, and that was the problem. Eliot , E. The chair was founded because its donor felt that the university needed to bring in individuals who on their own initiative have long undertaken objective realizations reflecting the wisdom harvested by the educators, which realizations might tend to regenerate the vigor of the university world.
Demonstrated capability in the integration of ideas is the general qualification for this professorship. By my own rules, I may not profess any special preoccupation or capability. I am a random element. And I have great confidence in the meager store of wisdom that I have secured. I am convinced that humanity is characterized by extraordinary love for its new life and yet has been misinforming its new life to such an extent that the new life is continually at a greater disadvantage than it would be if abandoned in the wilderness by the parents.
The kind of examination procedure that our science foundations and other science leaders have developed is one in which they explore to discover whether [a] capable student is able to unlearn everything he has learned, because experience has shown that that is what he is going to have to do if he is to become a front-rank scientist. The frontiers of science are such that almost every morning many of our hypotheses of yesterday are found inadequate or in error.
I am quite confident that humanity is born with its total intellectual capability already on inventory and that human beings do not add anything to any other human being in the way of faculties and capacities.
What usually happens in the educational process is that the faculties are dulled, overloaded, stuffed and paralyzed, so that by the time that most people are mature they have lost use of many of their innate capabilities. Today we are extraordinarily mobile… Comprehensively, the world is going from a Newtonian static norm to an Einsteinian all-motion norm. That is the biggest thing that is happening at this moment in history. Fuller writes:. The new life needs to be inspired with the realization that it has all kinds of new advantages that have been gained through great dedications of unknown, unsung heroes of intellectual exploration and great intuitively faithful integrities of men groping in the dark.
It will not be as regenerated and inspired as it might be if it appreciated the comprehensive love invested in that heritage. I have taken photographs of my grandchildren looking at television.
I am quite certain that we are soon going to begin to do the following: At our universities we will take the men who are the faculty leaders in research or in teaching. We are going to select, instead, the people who are authorities on various subjects — the men who are most respected by other men within their respective departments and fields.
They will give their basic lecture course just once to a group of human beings, including both the experts in their own subject and bright children and adults without special training in their field. This lecture will be recorded. They will make moving picture footage of the lecture as well as hi-fi tape recording. Then the professor and his faculty associates will listen to this recording time and again. The whole of a university department will work on improving the message and conceptioning of a picture for many months, sometimes for years.
The graduate students who want to be present in the university and who also qualify to be with the men who have great powers and intellectual capability together with the faculty may spend a year getting a documentary ready.
They will not even depend upon the diction of the original lecturer, because the diction of that person may be very inadequate to his really fundamental conceptioning and information, which should be superb. His knowledge may be very great, but he may be a poor lecturer because of poor speaking habits or false teeth. Another voice will take over the task of getting his exact words across.
Others will gradually process the tape and moving picture footage, using communications specialists, psychologists, etc. What is net will become communicated so well that any child can turn on a documentary device, a TV, and get the Einstein lucidity of thinking and get it quickly and firmly.
I am quite sure that we are going to get research and development laboratories of education where the faculty will become producers of extraordinary moving-picture documentaries. That is going to be the big, new educational trend. There is a direct, fixed, wireless connection, an actual direct linkage to individuals; and it works in both directions. With two-way TV, constant referendum of democracy will be manifest, and democracy will become the most practical form of industrial and space-age government by all people, for all people.
It would be possible to have large central storages of documentaries — great libraries. A child could call for a special program information locally over the TV set. He points to Einstein, who he had met a few years earlier, to illustrate his point:. That is probably the poorest place he could have gone to study. When an individual is really thinking, he is tremendously isolated.
He may manage to isolate himself in Grand Central Station, but it is despite the environment rather than because of it. The place to study is not in a school room. He concludes optimistically:. Education will then be concerned primarily with exploring to discover not only more about the universe and its history but about what the universe is trying to do, about why man is part of it, and about how can, and may man best function in universal evolution.
The universities are going to be wonderful places. Scholars will stay there for a long, long time — the rest of their lives — while they are developing more and more knowledge about the whole experience of man. All men will be going around the world in due process as everyday routine search and exploration, and the world experiencing patterning will be everywhere — all students from everywhere all over the world. That is all part of the new pattern that is rushing upon us. Fuller goes into his prescient vision in greater detail in the rest of Education Automation , including some timeless commentary on the complex politics of education.
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Fuller writes: The new life needs to be inspired with the realization that it has all kinds of new advantages that have been gained through great dedications of unknown, unsung heroes of intellectual exploration and great intuitively faithful integrities of men groping in the dark.
He concludes optimistically: Education will then be concerned primarily with exploring to discover not only more about the universe and its history but about what the universe is trying to do, about why man is part of it, and about how can, and may man best function in universal evolution. Share Article Tweet. View Full Site.
Education Automation by Buckminster Fuller
You can trace the history of ed-tech through many education philosophies and through many technologies. And too often, we focus simply on technologies related to the computer and the Internet. Broadcast has long history of usage in the classroom; and radio, film, and television have been seen as appropriate, if not innovative technological interventions in teaching and learning. And the better the production value of the performance supposedly, the better the learning. I have taken photographs of my grandchildren looking at television.
Buckminster Fuller and Education's Automation
Buckminster Fuller - was an architect, engineer, geometrician, cartographer, philosopher, futurist, inventor of the famous geodesic dome, and one of the most brilliant thinkers of his time. Fuller was renowned for his comprehensive perspective on the world's problems. For more than five decades, he developed pioneering solutions reflecting his commitment to the potential of innovative design to create technology that does "more with less" and thereby improve human lives. The author of nearly 30 books, he spent much of his life traveling the world lecturing and discussing his ideas with thousands of audiences. In , shortly before his death, he received the U. Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, with a citation acknowledging that his "contributions as a geometrician, educator, and architect-designer are benchmarks of accomplishment in their fields.
Buckminster Fuller a " was an architect, engineer, geometrician, cartographer, philosopher, futurist, inventor of the famous geodesic dome, and one of the most brilliant thinkers of his time. For more than five decades, he set forth his comprehensive perspective on the world's problems in numerous essays, which offer an illuminating insight into the intellectu. For more than five decades, he set forth his comprehensive perspective on the world's problems in numerous essays, which offer an illuminating insight into the intellectual universe of this "renaissance man. While Fuller wrote the works in the 's and 's, they could not be more timely: like desperately needed time-capsules of wisdom for the critical moment he foresaw, and in which we find ourselves. Long out of print, they are now being published again, together with commentary by Jaime Snyder, the grandson of Buckminster Fuller.