Educational Aspects

Students today cannot count on finding one smooth career path, because the jobs that exist today will change radically tomorrow. In fact, change will be the one constant in their careers. What tomorrows students will need is not just mastery of subject matter, but mastery of learning. Education will not be simply a prelude to a career, but a lifelong endeavor. This means that our students will not only be learners, passively absorbing subject matter - but more like researchers, actively exploring their environment.

The challenge for education will be to find ways of bringing to the process of instruction the passion for discovery that drives research. Students today should master the skills and tools of research as part of their basic education. To give the students this mastery we must create a learning environment in which research and instruction are integrated. An important aspect of such a teaching philosophy will be to stimulate the natural curiosity of students to the point whereby the pursuit of knowledge becomes a lot of fun.

    The History Project will achieve the same result for the study of history. Synchronoptic views will help to see relationships between seemingly unrelated things, thus provoking a journey of discoveries. An essential factor that fosters new discoveries is juxtaposition: the trick of putting things together that weren't put together that way before. Is there a link between Gutenberg and the Reformation? Is the flowering of Gupta India connected with the decline of Rome or China? How did the Renaissance relate in time to the fall of the Byzantine empire?
A spatial representation of time has obvious educational advantages: history can now be understood by simple perception without the terrible litany of memorizing dates, which makes traditional history often such a boring subject at school. Furthermore, the objections of some educators - that encompassing all the worlds major civilizations is asking too much of memory - is seen to be groundless since history is no longer learned but viewed.

Today, history teaching tends to emphasize themes, such as 'Patterns of Civilization', or 'Society and War'. This constitutes a definite improvement over traditional approaches, but the students often get lost in time - a basic scale of reference is missing. In this respect the History Project provides a valuable supplement to the official curriculum. But above all, a synchronoptic organization gives the reader an incentive to explore deeper, linking one idea with another as the student pursues his or her own personal learning path.