The Blogging Luddite: Cyberspace Education and Training – Why Leadership Matters
Education or Training: what’s the difference? Do we really care in this age of total connectivity? Everything’s connected to everything, isn’t it? This is the Information Age…why isn’t everyone informed, educated and trained to operate in cyberspace…why is this even an issue?
Those in the business of preparing people to think and perform better in life are clear in distinguishing the difference between education and training. We need both but as we’ll demonstrate in the next few blogs, the approaches and objectives can be quite different. The point is that educational preparation for operating in cyberspace is a real issue.
The same is true for training about cyberspace and cyberspace security, but we’ll get to that later.
Right now, I’m going to add on to the last piece I wrote on “Relevant and Appropriate Education in Cyberspace, discussing the recent Coalition for Advancing Cybersecurity Education (CACE), in Dayton, OH. While this group focused on cybersecurity education, it’s important to think about cyberspace education in more general terms too.
To show you how well I think I can juggle, I’ll try to keep the distinctions between training and education in mind while also trying to distinguish between cyberspace education and cybersecurity education. That’s why this will take a few blogs!
Confusing? Challenging? Well, that’s why we call on the Blogging Luddite to help!
It’s not igpay atinlay…
The terms “education” and “training” can be confusing since the Latin root for educate, educatus, also speaks to training of children. I know I didn’t care which was which when I was a kid, since few of my teachers in Houston’s grade schools seemed to distinguish between the two either. Apart from a few exceptional teachers, it all seemed like training to me: very directive and focused primarily on passing a test. But that’s training…we’ll talk about that next time.
Today, let’s think about the other Latin term, educere, which according to the Online Etymology Dictionary means to “bring out, lead forth,” an explanation of the roots of the words that we use today. That’s right: “lead forth”…leadership, an important construct you’ve seen in these blogs before (here and here). I warned you it would be “Part II of Many!”
We’ve talked about leadership in general several times, and even leadership in virtual worlds. Now it’s time to talk about leadership in cyberspace education, whether about security or otherwise. You may recall that I started on a mini-rant back in January about why we needed both a science of cyberspace and a science of cybersecurity…I just wasn’t thinking about it in terms of leadership and education like I should have. Well, I’m going to fix that, starting right now!
…but it is Leadership!
Here’s the thing about educational leadership in cyberspace…it involves people, not technology (apart from being a tool for teaching and leading people). People must be educated (and yes, trained) to understand how to succeed…to recognize success and contributions to a greater entity than themselves. That “greater entity than themselves” part is what makes communities and nations great, by the way.
Yes, leadership is more than achieving some personal accomplishment. Leadership is helping the people you lead to succeed…providing them with an environment that sets the stage for their own personal accomplishments…to become good leaders themselves.
It even means helping your people become smarter than you are, capable of accomplishing more than you did. That’s leadership…that’s what education can do for us all: make success for our people ever more likely for themselves, their families and communities, and their nation. Education does that, with a little meaningful training tossed in where needed. So what does cyberspace have to do with all this leadership stuff?
With no real evidence to draw on yet (I don’t think it exists at this point), I’ll speculate that as a species we still think in smaller terms about social connectivity than what cyberspace enables. There are still a lot of folks who like their clans and tribes and don’t see the need to trust or work with others outside their social circles. Therefore, they often don’t think about success outside their own circle. Nations are an abstraction for someone else to worry about.
That may also be why so many tend to think of cybersecurity as a local problem that can be solved with local solutions. It might also explain why we have a hard time thinking about “everything being connected to everything,” as Ann Cudworth’s video on the SENDS Center for the Science of Cyberspace points out.
Leadership, particularly when synergized with the connective power of cyberspace, can bridge those abstractions, bringing us closer as a species, allowing us to share our education with others. That’s how leadership, education and cyberspace synergize: we learn about each other, our cultures and how we transcend the current constraints to the “future possible.”
In fact, education empowers the “future possible” and at no time in our species’ existence have we ever been so connected to the “future possible” than now. That’s why the SENDS team proposes to study cyberspace and why we look to do science about cyberspace in cyberspace. That’s what the whole SENDS Pilot was about and why now it is time to leverage that Pilot for greater success and leadership.
Education in and about cyberspace and social connectivity will make that “future possible” possible if we get the educational leadership part right. So, you’ll keep seeing The Blogging Luddite throw “leadership and education” around for some time…Bottom Line: we really need to get this right…now.
by Carl Hunt, sendsonline.org, July 7, 2011