What is SOCRAIT?


SOCRAIT is my name for the SRSLS (spaced-repetition socratic learning system) that we need to push learning into the digital age.  The name SOCRAIT (pronounced so-crate) is a play on Socratic (because it’s based on Socratic questions), it contains SOC for social, AI for artificial intelligence, and IT for information technology.

Since July,  I have been preoccupied with this idea.   Many technology and learning experts who have read or talked with me about SOCRAIT have told me that they believe that our learning future has to at least look something like SOCRAIT.  They say (and I agree) that the simplicity of it just makes it feel “right.”  In fact, it’s such a simple idea, that I spent the last four months wondering if I was crazy – after all, if you’re the only one with the idea, then there must be something wrong with it, right?  As more people read the article and prodded at its weaknesses, the idea grew more robust.  The text of my article, The World is my School: Welcome to the Era of Personalized Learning, published today in The Futurist (read it as a PDF or read it online) has been finalized for some time, and at this point, I could probably write another article just about the game layer that SOCRAIT will need.

Now I need your help.  Someone or some company needs to step forward and build SOCRAIT.  I’ve pursued as many avenues as I could, but as a community college professor from an obscure city in recession-occupied Michigan, it’s hard to get taken seriously.  So, here’s your assignment:

  1. Read the article (the whole thing).  You can’t stop halfway, or you’ll get the wrong impression.  Every sentence matters.  Print it and read it.
  2. Agree or disagree, please share your thoughts and ideas (and if you have a public space, please use it) … tweet, blog, write, discuss.
  3. Send the article on to others through email, Facebook, and discussion forums.

If you believe in the power of a new way of learning (even if it doesn’t turn out exactly like SOCRAIT), please help me spread a new (positive) vision for what education could look like in the future.  Thanks!

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8 Responses to “What is SOCRAIT?”

  • Brenda says:

    Very interesting article. It is a lot to think about. I like the approach of thinking about changing education from the outside rather than from within. We are often too stuck in our ways to explore real change.

    I do wonder if the general population is truly motivated enough to follow through on this type of learning. Would they get frustrated, give up and go back to playing farmville?

    In addition to those who verify knowledge, I think there would still be a need for tutors or teachers. We currently use MyMathLab in Developmental Math and I have students who use all of the multimedia options but sometimes still need a person to clarify a point for them.

    Also, I believe there would need to be a way to verify the accuracy of an information source. We can learn a lot from the internet that isn’t necessarily valid information. I wouldn’t necessarily want my nurse or Dr. gaining their education solely by surfing the web. They would need guidance in choosing resources and then lab experience to apply what they have learned.

  • Brenda says:

    One more thought. I think you see the big picture of what could be. Is there a way to implement this on a smaller scale first and then let it build?

  • John Michelsen says:

    I’m a software engineer interested in building something like this. Would you like to collaborate on it?

    • Daniel Michalski says:

      Hi, I’m also very interested in building such a learning system. I’ve been thinking about something like that for over a year or so. I really think this is the future of learning.
      This got me so excited, cause i’ve been searching, and searching, and searching… for something like that. I couldn’t grasp the total idea by myself.
      And finally, after about 20 pages on google results, i’ve got to this page. Patience is rewarding :) .
      Let me know if I can somehow contribute to this project. I am a young developer, so it would be great to be a part of such a great system.

      Best wishes,
      Daniel Michalski

  • Thomas says:

    Hi there. Just watched your intellectual talk from the Ignite Great Lakes. I enjoyed your view on knowledge management and completely endorse your opinion. I’m a designer for an image tagging tool called Thinglink, and we understand and support a new learning environment. While we don’t have exactly what you are looking for, we come close. Through our service, it is possible to make a single image host any number of informative tags. This image can then be explored by others, with content pulled from Wikipedia, Youtube, vimeo, ted.com, social meda sites, and even listen to music directly from the image. We figure its a great learning experience for learners of all ages, and teachers are beginning to pick up the pace with us. Check out our demo page on tledu.tumblr.com for inspiration, or have a look at this doc that was initiated by a devoted disciple of Thinglink https://docs.google.com/present/edit?id=0ASfUsgJWgfcsZGNjOWZxZHRfNjI5Zno5MmszZ3Q&hl=en_US

    please don’t hesitate to contact us here at Thinglink. We’d love to help you on your quest to change the educational space.

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