Green Education in Adult Learning

How is our course “Green education” related to Adult Education Centers: Some thoughts that can give you ideas about your KA1 and KA2 projects.

The green education is a horizontal priority in the EU strategy therefore it is relevant for all of us. More particularly the three main priorities of the EU are now Green, Digital, and Inclusion. The environmental issues are important for everyone and talking about education the “green” aspect is relevant to all levels of education. The ERASMUS+ program guide 2023 specifies the so called Horizontal dimensions of the program that are Green, Digital, Inclusion, Democratic life and key competences. All different actions in the program e.g. KA1 mobilities and KA2 partnerships should take into account these priorities so that the involved organizations learn about them and apply them in their everyday activities.

In the case of Adult Education Centers you should learn about the environment and sustainability issues, be able to promote these principles in your lessons and help your students apply them in their everyday life. As “Green education” is education that focuses on environmental sustainability and the conservation of natural resources “green education”, in the context of adult education, can be relevant in a number of ways. For example, adult learners may participate in classes or workshops that teach them how to reduce their environmental impact, such as by conserving energy and water, reducing waste, or using sustainable transportation. Additionally, adult learners may be interested in learning about how to create more sustainable communities, businesses, or organizations. Additionally, green education for adult learners could include learning about and understanding the impact of climate change on the environment, economy and society. This could also include learning about sustainable development and ways to mitigate the impact of climate change.

Furthermore, in our ERASMUS+ KA1 course “Green education: a project-based interdisciplinary approach” we examine the relation between the “green” and “the digital”. This is important for adult learners because all their activities, professional and personal include the digital aspect. A final thing is that in the course we present the modern methodologies for educators one of which is the design of multidisciplinary projects which applies for whatever subject you teach. Multidisciplinary projects are a convenient approach to education which permits you to incorporate the “green” and the “digital” into your teaching. A final point is “smart cities”, a concept that is directly relevant to adults and citizenship. Paphos, our city, is gradually becoming a smart city so we do include this aspect in our course.

Read the details about our course and book your next mobility here

https://www.gcharalambous.net/greeneducation.html

We will be happy to host you in Paphos in 2023!

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Creativity in the era of AI

In the era of AI and especially GPT-like models, creativity can be enhanced or assisted by the use of these models. For example, GPT can be used to generate creative writing, music, or artwork. However, it is important to note that GPT and other AI models are not inherently creative, but rather are tools that can aid in the creative process. Additionally, the use of AI in creative fields raises ethical questions about authorship and originality. It is important to consider these issues when utilizing AI in creative endeavors.

More particularly, GPT and other AI models can assist in the creative process is by generating ideas or suggestions that a human can then use as inspiration. For example, a musician could use a model to generate chord progressions or melodies, which they can then use as the basis for a song. Similarly, a writer could use a model to generate character or plot ideas for a story.

However, it is important to note that the creativity in these scenarios is still coming primarily from the human, who must interpret and make decisions about the ideas generated by the model. Additionally, it is important to consider the ethical implications of using AI-generated content in creative fields. For example, questions have been raised about whether AI-generated art or music should be considered “original” and whether the creators of the AI should be considered the authors of the content.

Another implication of using AI in creative fields is the potential for the AI to create something that the human creator never thought of, which could be a new idea, a new way of thinking or a new way of doing things. This could lead to new forms of creativity and innovation that humans alone may not have been able to achieve.

It is also important to mention that AI models, like GPT, are trained on a large dataset of human-generated content, so the output generated by AI will be highly influenced by the data it was trained on, which could include biases or stereotypes. Therefore, It is important for creators to be aware of the limitations and potential biases of the AI models they are using and to critically evaluate the output generated by the models.

In our Institute and especially in the ERASMUS+ KA1 courses we organize for European educators we have incorporated these new possibilities that technology presents today. In all our courses we teach the AI uses as challenges that lead us to more critical thinking, this way enhancing the skills of modern educators. See all our programs at https://www.gcharalambous.net/index-english.html

Global Warming: What is it and what can we do about it

Global warming is a general term used to describe the continuing rise in Earth’s surface temperature and its related effects. It is usually measured in degrees Celsius (°C) above pre-industrial levels, but it can also be expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). The increase in Earth’s temperature has been linked to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions, especially CO2. The causes of global warming are complex, multifaceted and not yet fully understood. However, we do know that human activity plays a major role in accelerating the rate at which it is occurring. There are many ways we can help mitigate the effects of global warming, all of which involve reducing our carbon footprint and the consumption of natural resources — both as individuals and as a society (our Institute “Georgios Charalambous Private Institute”in Paphos, Cyprus is trying to contribute to this effort by organizing a specialized course with title “Green education: a project-based interdisciplinary approach”. This course is suitable for ERASMUS+ KA1 mobilities and also as part of larger KA2 projects. You can find more details at the link https://www.gcharalambous.net/greeneducation.html )

What is the current state of Global Warming?

The current state of global warming is important to understand because it determines the extent of the problem and what needs to be done to combat it. International organizations such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) regularly assess the state of global warming by measuring its rate, potential effects, and potential solutions. The Global Climate Change Index, published by the Institute for Sustainable Development and the United Nations Environment Programme, provides one of the most comprehensive measures of global warming and its effects.

Why is there an increase in global temperature?

The overall reason for increased global temperature is that more CO2 is being released into the atmosphere, trapping more heat and raising the planet’s average temperature. The burning of fossil fuels, the clearing and draining of forests, the over-grazing of grasslands, and other human activities that release CO2 into the atmosphere have caused CO2 concentrations to rise by nearly 40% since pre-industrial times. Of particular concern is the rise in CO2 emissions during the last 25 years, primarily as a result of increases in the combustion of fossil fuels and deforestation.

Climate Change and Global Warming

Climate change refers to a change in the Earth’s overall climate, not just an increase in temperature. Climate change includes shifts in the amount of precipitation, the frequency of extreme weather events, the amount of sea ice and the distribution of fish stocks. Moreover, an increase in global temperature will affect different regions in different ways. Some places will experience more frequent and more intense droughts, while others may experience more frequent and more intense floods. The IPCC has concluded that most of the observed increase in global temperatures since the 1950s is very likely due to the increase in greenhouse gas emissions associated with human activity. A reduction in greenhouse gas emissions will help to reduce the effects of climate change, thereby limiting the potential damage caused by global warming.

Importance of Limiting Global Warming

If global warming continues at the current rate, Earth’s climate will continue to get warmer. The global temperature could increase by as much as 4°C, which could have widespread and long-lasting effects on the planet’s ecosystems and economies, especially in coastal areas. There are also some long-term risks, such as the instability of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, which would lead to a rise in sea level. A rise in sea level would inundate coastal regions and force millions of people to relocate.

What can we do to fight Global Warming?

There are several things we can do to fight global warming. First and foremost, we must reduce our carbon footprint by decreasing the amount of fossil fuels we use and the amount of CO2 we release into the atmosphere. Secondly, we should reduce our consumption of natural resources — like water and food — so that we are not overusing them. Many of these solutions will require us to make significant changes to our lifestyles and our communities, but it is important to understand that these changes are necessary. Fighting global warming will protect future generations and allow us to continue to live on a healthy planet. In this respect education plays a very important role. The Georgios Charalambous Private Institute Ltd in Paphos Cyprus is trying to contribute to this effort by organizing a specialized course with title “Green education: a project-based interdisciplinary approach”. This course is suitable for ERASMUS+ KA1 mobilities and also as part of larger KA2 projects. You can find more details at the link https://www.gcharalambous.net/greeneducation.html  (See also other relevant courses on https://www.gcharalambous.net )

Conclusion

Global warming is a real and pressing issue, but it is not too late to fight it. If we can reduce our carbon footprint, reduce our consumption of natural resources, and make other changes to our lifestyles, we can significantly reduce the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere. If we do this, we will decrease the rate of global warming and protect our planet for future generations.

Of men and machines

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The book “La Guerre des Intelligences” by Dr Laurent Alexandre is a good opportunity to reflex on a sensitive issue. The book is about “how artificial intelligence will revolutionize education”.

It is true that AI has the potential to revolutionize education. The book discusses many possible applications of AI in the educational system. But beyond that, it discusses transhumanism i.e. the possibility to use chips and the latest advancements in biology to enhance the physical characteristics of the brain. We talk of course about possibilities that seem endless if not frightening.

According to the author we can enhance our intelligence with biology methods or with some chips installed in the body and especially in the brain. It seems too simplistic, though, to start from there and believe that these type of “more intelligent” creatures that we will create, will finally live a better life or even that they will act this way or another. This is more so true when we try to predict the kind of life in the societies that the “transhumans” will create.

Drawing conclusions from such possibilities is at least dangerous. Humans are not only intelligence and their societies are unpredictable complex systems even now. When converting to “transhumans” with supposedly enhanced brains, they will have increased the degree of complexity of their organization therefore their societies will be super-unpredictable. Most possibly such societies will also be super-sensitive to all kinds of changes within the system.

Thus, to expect education improvement by improving the human brain with technology or biology tricks is at least risky. Let us not forget a parallel issue: just because we invented Prozac it didn’t mean that we created a society of happy people; rather the contrary.

P.S. The person shown in the photo does not exist. It is the creation of an algorithm.

Telling the future

ship1 007

Telling the future has always been a popular activity among humans. But why humans would even want to know the future? Probably there many reasons but in general it seems that we feel insecure; we are uncomfortable with the unexpected and thus we want somebody to tell us the future. Hundreds of people or groups invest on that fact: People who tell the future as a hobby, people who do it as a job, people who try to cover their psychological needs by having supporters and followers; even the end of the world has been predicted thousands of times.

Regarding education let us just not forget that after 40 years of “technology in education” there is no big change in education especially in Europe. You see, we can easily raise questions like “what is the big difference in education we offer”? More children want now to learn? Do they learn mathematics more easily or faster? Do people love learning foreign languages more now? Changes need time and it seems that the educational systems change in a completely different rhythm compared to that of tech advancements.

When time has passed we forget to look back. Do you remember that device called TV? It still exists; but when it was invented there was again the prediction that education has changed once and for all, teachers will not be needed any more and other fancy things. Reality proved different though.

Now there is this big discussion about Artificial Intelligence. Again one can hear the same predictions: no schools, no teachers and even more impressive things like children with chips in the brain and the like. So, why not, let me tell my own predictions for the year — and beyond. Artificial Intelligence is not going to change education dramatically. Because education is a whole system and systems do not change overnight. Michel Serres, the French philosopher, used to describe this phenomenon as a big ship where the captain gives the order to turn to the right. The ship of course cannot turn to the right immediately as it is a really voluminous device; it will take its time. The problem in our case though is that until we turn right there is one more command to change route and then another one etc, ending up with no actual alterations. Happy New Year!

P.S. “My beloved OVELIX (container ship)”. Pastel by author.

On beasts, teachers and classics (or the aftermath of a course)

herculesThis small article comes many months since the last one in this blog. I have thus not obeyed the basic advice for a good blog: publish regularly. Despite that fact, I will post today (and try to continue in the future) because a course that I shared with a group of classics teachers last week gave me much food for thought. And here we go!

I recall the advertisement of an energy drink, some years ago, which used the slogan “bring out the beast”. What a saying! What a declaration! Maybe, the ultimate expression of the philosophy of a whole era. Maybe the notion of the purpose of the modern civilization that pushes us to become superhumans before becoming humans.

Superman is not merely a comic hero; it is what you are called to become, in order to run faster and to achieve more. And if you cannot become that (and clearly you cannot as you do not have the physical force, the natural capacity to fulfill that) don’t worry. Drink the magical drink and you will fly. The superdrink will release in you your superpowers (and not necessarily the good ones), it will help you “bring out the beast”.

Modern marketing, as the real child of our epoch, is in a hurry. It wants to sell here and now and to achieve that it pushes people too much. And it forgets that humanity and civilization have struggled during thousands of years to bring the beast back, to put it in the cage at least, to control it that is.

Humans do have inner power; many powers. But if these powers are not controlled they will be used for destruction. Our modern civilization, supported by the accelerated technology and globalization, has deified money as the final idol. Profit (in cash) is the ideal for anyone now: individuals, nations, countries. And the system is in desperate need of consumers. This is why it pushes people to look down, to look to the earth, to the soil and mud rather than up, to the spiritual, to the heaven. It underlines the passions and their satisfaction rather than your ability to learn, to criticize, to think, to love.

To teachers: do not expect a system that worships material life to give nice advice to students. It only wants to produce practically dead, in mind and spirit, consumers not thinking, live, responsible citizens. Use technology at school but also draw on the wealth of the classic past. Teach with technology but be also inspirational to your students and teach them urgently beauty, poetry, philosophy, creativity for a better future locally and globally.

Seven Complex Lessons in Education for the Future

morin_edgarThese days, being on holidays, I have started to study the book of Edgar Morin “Seven Complex Lessons in Education for the Future”. I consider Edgar Morin one of the biggest thinkers of our time and one of those few people who have understood the essence of the modern world and help with their theories to set new foundations for the future. Reading Morin during holidays is essential as one needs this calm hours that only on holidays we have, to reflect on his great thoughts on the new.

We live in an era of high speed and if there is one problem with this situation it is the fact that we no longer reflect on how we live and work or we just do it very quickly. Thinkers like Morin can, in my opinion, help any teacher understand his role in the modern world. Edgar Morin proposes this model of complexity where you have to examine everything under the light of context, globality and complexity. Very interesting indeed and in every page I find new ways to understand especially my job.

But in any case I am on holidays, so more details in the near future. Have a nice summer rest everyone…

The next Rembrandt project

“The next Rembrandt” is a very interesting case of Artificial Intelligence (AI) experimental use. Scientists had an AI program analyze the style and the totality of the work of the great master and then had the program decide on what could be a “new” painting that Rembrandt would have made. The result is really impressive if we consider all the technologies used until the end of the project: After deciding and creating, the computer could print its new painting on a 3D printer actually recreating even the style of Rembrandt’s brush. You can find all the relevant details in the video below.

Now the questions remain open and the answers controversial of course: what is it that we have exactly created as humans? A new way to analyze the work of an artist? A new way to see and understand art? A new way of creating? Is it creation? Are we at a stage where creation of the new will be done by the cooperation of humans and machines? And moreover, do all these applications of AI have a place at school? You, as a teacher, decide!

Van Gogh’s visit to Paphos

OK, Van Gogh never visited Paphos. It took us 127 years after his death to become the European Cultural Capital of Europe. If we only had achieved this, then! Maybe there was a possibility that he would have visited us, spent some time wandering about and, who knows, inspired by the Mediterranean air, painted a few landscapes.

As of course all the above are fiction I turned to technology to fill the gap. And here are some examples of what could have been some painting of the great Van Gogh if he had the chance to visit us!

The above images were made with the help of Deep Dream Generator at https://deepdreamgenerator.com. According to the site itself this “is a platform where you can transform photos using powerful Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms.”

Well, once again AI is here and pushes things! Maybe the result is not perfect but it is an important moment in the history of humankind when we can analyze the style of a painter and then have the machines paint like him. This is not the first time anyway, years ago the same happened with classical music and maybe a future article would be well worth to write. And let us not forget the really scientific work done on Rembrandt in “the next Rembrandt project”. All these cases oblige us to make some thoughts and put some questions. Here are some: Is this creativity? Or a new way of creativity? Or a new opportunity for creativity? Can a teacher use it in classroom as part of the art lesson and not only? Will thinking machines be our next tools to create art or our co-creators in art? Will AI be the teachers’ co-worker in the classroom? Food for thought in this brave new era.

PS The photos show Paphos castle, and a vineyard in October, Kili village, Paphos. Copyright Georgios Charalambous, all rights reserved.

Technological Innovation in Education

imagesIt is true that ICT technologies have given us impressive educational tools during the last three decades but the problem is that more impressive technologies come all too often. How can an educational system incorporate all these changes in such an accelerated mode?

The Social Acceleration Theory of prof. Hartmut Rosa identifies the economic motor as the main external factor that sets technological innovation into motion. Capitalist economy needs growth in order to exist. And in order to have more growth i.e. more production, more consumption etc., the capitalist economy demands for more capable technologies. Technological innovation really creates a competitive advantage for some time for those who have, understand and use the newest technologies and  faster production, cheaper products, more consumption etc are achieved under the motto “time is money”.

These are not the values of education though. A school is not a factory; a teacher is not a production engineer; a school principal is not a marketing manager to push for more consumption. Teaching methods of course need renewal and using ICT tools can mean more effective methods but still we cannot convert the use of technology to a goal by itself.

We lately witness a real effort to catch up with new technologies in the European educational system. Still it would be nice to initiate a parallel action of similar effort in order to define again the terms education, school, pedagogy in other worlds “paideia-παιδεία”. Finally redefining the teacher’s role in this new technological society would be of particular importance as teachers are the key persons in the era of technology.