-by Terra Graves-
This book is different from any other professional reading I’ve done. The authors invite us to “Make this book yours: Write and draw on it, highlight the parts you like, and tear out what you don’t like. Customize it, and build it into your own guide to Knowmad Society.” Wow! Not many authors would suggest that you tear pages out of their book that you don’t like. They also encourage the readers to contact them with any ideas that are sparked by the content. This simple request epitomizes global collaboration and connected learning.
Knowmad Society explores the future of learning, work, and how we relate with each other in a world driven by accelerating change, value networks, and the rise of knowmads: nomadic knowledge workers –creative, imaginative, and innovative people who can work with almost anybody, anytime, and anywhere. The jobs associated with 21st-century knowledge and innovation workers have become much less specific concerning task and place, but require more value-generative applications of what they know. The office, as we know it, is gone. Schools and other learning spaces will follow next. This book explores the future of learning, work and how we relate with each other in a world where we are now asked to design our own futures.
This book is written by John W. Moravec along with these contributors: Gary Hart, Pieter Spinder, Bianca Stokman, Thieu Besselink, Edwin de Bree, Cristobal Cobo, Christel Hartkamp, Ronald van den Hoff , and Christine Renaud. Dr. John W. Moravec is the founder of Education Futures, a think tank and advisory firm with a service mission, serving governments, schools, and universities in the Americas and Europe. He is the creator of the knowmads concept, and co-creator of invisible learning metatheory for reframing human capital development in an era of exponentially accelerating technological and social change. He is a global speaker and trainer with 100+ invited engagements across four continents, including four TEDx talks. He holds a Ph.D. in comparative and international development education from the University of Minnesota; a Master’s of International Management, University of St. Thomas; and a Bachelor’s of Arts in international studies from the American University.
Related publications include: Aprendizaje Invisible, Manifesto 15, Higher Education 3.0: Knowmads Create Their Own Value!, Knowmad society: Borderless work and education.
The book is a collaborative effort of nine people who each share their insights and projects around the concept of the “knowmadic learner/worker.” From my humble vantage point, I will attempt to offer a critical response to this mindblowing work. A genius element of this book is that it provides chapter summaries if you would rather not read the entire chapter. Giving the reader choices in how to consume information is a structure very much rooted in 21st-century learning. The introduction of the book provides a taste of what each chapter is about. In the remaining chapters, Moravec, et al. share how their projects support this knowmadic concept and how school and work are redefined through this lens.
Here are the chapter titles:
The writing style is informal, but not casual. I did, however, learn some new words, which is always exciting for me. After reading some Amazon reviews of the book, I realized that my background knowledge of 21st-century learning and innovative classroom practices made the consumption of the content in this book fairly easy. For folks outside of education or innovative work environments, I think the content could be a little confusing or potentially unrealistic. I may be biased by my own dreams for the future of education/work, but the commentary and the descriptions of the different projects shared in this book are inspiring. I want the Knowmad Society to be the norm for my daughter, myself, my coworkers, and the world. I want it now. I’m drinking the Kool-Aid!
This book is an exploration of the future of work and school. I think it’s meant to inspire, to help other envision the possibilities and the positive impact on our global society. I feel it is best suited for educators, innovative employers, and existing knomads. I contacted Dr. Moravec and he confirmed this saying, “The book is intended for educators, knowmads, and people who are leading/embracing the knowmadic approach to learning and working.” It is hard to determine if the needs of the audience will be met by the text alone. The perfect knowmadic solution to this is the Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/KnowmadSociety/ which allows readers to continue the conversation with the authors and other readers.
This is the first work of its kind regarding the specific “Knowmad Society” concept because the author coined the term. However, the topic of the future of education and the work-world is written/spoken/podcasted about constantly. A Google search for “the future of education” returns about 1,290,000,000 results. A Google search for “the future workplace” returns about 222,000,000 results . A Google search for “the current debate on the role of technology in education” returns about 163,000,000 results. These are the HOTTEST of topics.
The book has a clear focus: what the Knowmad Society is and could/will be. The variety of perspectives of the contributors supports the promise of this eventual reality. The afterword, by former U.S. Senator Gary Hart, speaks to the existing reality that the equity-in-access gap is still a concern. He also addresses the potential for the Knowmad Society to bring forth a new era in economics, national security, and global equality. Knowledge is power, but it also reveals what is lacking for those who have little. The book does not address this concern. Perhaps a sequel is in order?
Moravec says, “The knowmad concept is based as an extension to the works of Michael Polanyi (regarding personal knowledge) and Peter Drucker (regarding knowledge work), layered on a future-looking paradigm based on the “emergent paradigm” work of Peter Schwartz and James Ogilvy.”
The main thesis of the book is that the Knowmad Society is upon us and growing around the world. According to Moravec, “Knowmads are nomadic knowledge workers –creative, imaginative, and innovative people who can work with almost anybody, anytime, and anywhere. The jobs associated with 21st-century knowledge and innovation workers have become much less specific concerning task and place, but require more value-generative applications of what they know. The office as we know it is gone. Schools and other learning spaces will follow next. The book explores the future of learning, work and how we relate with each other in a world where we are now asked to design our own futures.”
This thesis is supported by extensive research. There are numerous sources cited at the end of each chapter. While most of the resources are current (within 5 years), the oldest ones: Thorndike (1920), Dewey (1929) and Maslow (1943) are surprisingly still relevant. We have understood the needs of the learner and the nature of learning for almost 100 years, yet our education system ignorantly presses on using severely antiquated strategies.
This book is a MUST-READ. The strengths of this book are many. However, the one that stands out most for me is its optimism. Reading about how others are developing knowmads, either in a school or a business, makes me feel like anyone can do it. So… Hello, my name is Terra, and I am a knowmad.
Book Review: Knowmad Society, by John Moravec et al of Education Futures (2013)