The Future of Education With A Techno Optimist

In This Podcast
Show Notes
Raya Bidshahri
E 83

In This Podcast

  • Why traditional education models, systems and curriculum are outdated
  • Why almost all global challenges, man-made ones especially, boil down to human limitations
  • How parents can look to challenge the traditional education experience
  • How exponential technologies can be used to tackle global and existential challenges facing our world
  • Who Raya thinks we actually are (from a cosmic perspective)
  • Raya’s passion—the one that she is willing to suffer for
  • What the transformational points in Raya’s life have been
  • Why the future of education takes a more blended, hybrid approach, it isn’t just online and digital
  • Why the most challenging part of fundraising is subjectivity
  • Raya’s advice to leaders
  • What Raya believes the world needs most right now

Raya Bidshahri is a serial entrepreneur, writer, educator, futurist and keynote speaker. She has been described as a techno optimist, a communicator of popular science, and an advocate of curiosity, critical thinking, wonder, and awe. 

Raya is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Awecademy, a future-focussed educational organization that is disrupting traditional high school curricula and inspiring students to bring about civilization-level change.

Show Notes

The Future of Education With A Techno Optimist

Today’s guest on Corporate Unplugged is a serial entrepreneur, writer, educator, futurist and keynote speaker. Raya Bidshahri has also been described as a techno optimist, a communicator of popular science, and an advocate of curiosity, critical thinking, wonder, and awe.

Raya is the founder (amongst many projects and businesses) of the Awecademy, an educational organization that focuses on reimagining the current education system in order to disrupt the traditional high school curriculum and inspire students to bring about civilization-level change. 

Whilst Raya talks about the Awecademy in great detail in the podcast, she also provides incredible insights into how businesses can be run more effectively, and discusses bigger-picture topics such as who we humans are from a cosmic perspective and why we ought to be teaching young minds to consider an expanded sense of self, rather than just think of themselves as individuals. 

The importance of reimagining education

“We’re living through a world of accelerating change due to exponential technologies. 65% of the jobs young people will be doing in the future do not exist yet.”

Yet we are still teaching children using an outdated education model, including systems and curricula that were designed in the industrial era to create factory-style workers to do the same tasks over and over. The existing model of education isn’t designed to prepare young minds for a world of accelerating change.

And the workforce is evolving.

The impact of automation is showing demand for more critical thinkers, creative problem solvers and multi-disciplinarians. Awecademy is an online platform teaching young minds soft skills, values and competencies that are not covered in traditional education. This includes things like ethical use of technologies, mindsets like moonshot thinking, innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity, all the way to mindfulness, life, love and death developments of wisdom.

The best thing about teaching these soft skills is that it isn’t just preparing future generations for life in a reimagined workforce, but it’s empowering them to lead meaningful lives and have a positive impact on humanity.

Almost all global challenges boil down to human limitations

For a millennia, the global challenges that humans have been facing have been a result of human limitations, boiling down to issues such as egocentric concerns, unethical behaviour, lack of expanded sense of self, tribalism and nationalism. 

Raya believes that we can change that. Through the right kind of education you can allow people to have a more expanded sense of self; you can teach people the correct values that are positive and impactful as well as the competencies that will allow them to implement innovative solutions.

How parents can challenge the traditional education system

“Massive corporations are becoming so bureaucratic that they struggle to do something really radical and innovative.”

In the U.S. the public sector is incredibly test driven and teachers teach in a way not to optimise learning but in a way that will optimise results.

“We have decades of data to show that there’s no correlation between SATs and intelligence, or even life success and being able to innovate and so forth.”

Awecademy are releasing a guide for parents to help them supplement their childrens’ education, called “Alternative Pathways and Education”. The guide will contain a wide range of alternative universities offering innovative experiences that are completely dismissing the old system. They provide opportunities for project based learning, as well as all the different things you can do from a pedagogical and experiential perspective. 

And it’s not just universities that are challenging the outdated education system, forward-thinking companies such as Google and Tesla are ditching degree requirements, saying they don’t care if you’ve been to university. 

Defining leadership

According to Raya, a leader is someone who inspires through words and actions, who is able to work effectively, to motivate a team towards a certain goal. A leader isn’t necessarily the source of authority, nor the person that manages everything and says what needs to be done. Instead a leader inspires action through a place of inspiration rather than blind authority. 

“It’s so important to not forget about the human impact of teams that you work with.”

For a team to function effectively and efficiently they need to look out for one another and care for each other. There’s no point in making the world a better place, if you as a leader and your team are doing your work at the detriment of your mental health and your wellbeing.

If this talk resonates with you, we’d recommend you listen to this episode, too: Sangbreeta Moitra