EDITORIAL: Energy for learning

School districts across Northeast Mississippi began classes this week for the 2010-2011 academic year, and some will have larger classes, fewer teachers, and more costs borne by students and their parents for some extracurricular activities.
However, despite a statewide financial squeeze, most school districts reported an enthusiastic response from students, teachers and parents on opening days that typically are somewhat chaotic but charged with the energy unique to kids still eager for knowledge about virtually everything.
The rush of energy at the beginning of school typically subsides, but a prominent corporate manager, John Sviokla, stresses the need for speed and its importance in an article published earlier this year in the Harvard Business Review.
Sviokla is vice chairman of Diamond Management & Technology Consultants, Inc., and a former professor at Harvard Business School.
“In 1903, the Stanley Steamer set the world wide speed record for the mile at the Daytona Beach Road Course,” he noted. “… Today, what the interstate highway system was to physical productivity, fast Internet is to knowledge work – it an essential infrastructure that creates value for everyone. Think of the Internet as the highway of the mind. Speed matters: Are you chugging along at 30 mph down a dirt road, or are you flying down the autobahn?
“Just imagine what technology like this looks like when we have very fast, ubiquitous wireless. My question is what applications can you imagine? I’d love to hear. How is your business preparing itself for it?”
In parallel, the ethics of learning also drives knowledge. Another Harvard man, Clayton M. Christensen, professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, also offers great insight into how learning can be maximized:
“I got this insight when I was asked to teach a class on humility at Harvard College. I asked all the students to describe the most humble person they knew. One characteristic of these humble people stood out: They had a high level of self-esteem. They knew who they were, and they felt good about who they were. We also decided that humility was defined not by self-deprecating behavior or attitudes but by the esteem with which you regard others. … (I)f your attitude is that only smarter people have something to teach you, your learning opportunities will be very limited. But if you have a humble eagerness to learn something from everybody, your learning opportunities will be unlimited.”
Strong character and high technology meld for the best learning.

NEMS Daily Journal