The Codex of Kairos
Ensō Education Institute is an umbrella organization with a variety of initiatives to transform education, schooling, and learning.
Kairos is a call to adventure for Pathfinders to go on a Hero’s Journey through the Quests of Kairos to address the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and create a more perfect world for all.
A series of courses are offered for Kairos Pathfinders each year. The 10-week courses use Ensō’s unique alternatives to traditional curriculum, instruction, and assessment.
The Ensō Circle
The Ensō Circle includes:
- Guardians who provide services and support for Kairos
- World Builders who design and create domains
- Pathfinders who are learners and project participants.
- Navigators who guide learners through experiences.
The Ensō Guardians Council oversees projects like:
- Hosting events to support Kairos
- Developing alternatives to standardized assessment
- Developing alternative educational leadership models
- Overseeing publications and media productions
- Establishing a K-12 school system
- Creating a University Teacher Preparation program
If Pathfinders are interested in exploring projects around educational leadership, policy, and assessment, there will be a parallel track for those Pathfinders we refer to as Navigators.
The Mission of Kairos is to make the world work for everyone on the planet through spontaneous collaboration in the shortest time possible without disadvantaging any groups or individuals or compromising the planet itself.
The challenge is to make the Metaverse come alive through the combined power of human and machine intelligences.
The Goals are:
- Nurture the traits of curiosity and judgment to develop wisdom from knowledge, skills, and experiences of the past
- Nurture the traits of awareness and empathy to develop people of good character in the present
- Nurture the traits of creativity and courage to develop innovators and future problem-solvers of the world
Components of Kairos
There are five components of Kairos designed to prepare future generations for the coming Singularity in which machine brains will surpass human brains in general intelligence and join humans as the dominant life forms on Earth.
- Epochs are the time frames of Kairos
- Domains are where events and activities will take place
- Realms of Kairos represent the fields of knowledge and interests
- Powers are the tools, skills, and intelligences that enable Pathfinders to successfully navigate the Quests
- Quests of Kairos are the four challenges Pathfinders face on their Hero’s Journey
Long-Range Planning – Ensō Education Institute takes a long view of educational planning to include the 13.8 billion years since the creation of the universe and extending several million years into the future of conscious life in the universe in order to avoid errors caused by making decisions based on short-term needs.
Kairos focuses on three epochs in time.
Anthropocene. We draw wisdom from the accumulation of past knowledge, skills, and experiences during the Anthropocene Age. The Anthropocene Age is the period during which human activity became the dominant influence on global climate and environment.
Novacene. We find meaning and purpose in life today in the Novacene Age. The Novacene Age, described by James Lovelock, is the age in which humans acquired planetary-scale technologies.
Metacene. We learn to imagine, design, and create a future that works for all in the Metaverse of the future. Metacene, the age of metaverse, is used here to refer to the age in which human and machine intelligence work together to spawn an age of super-intelligence.
Ensō Education Institute acknowledges that learning doesn’t take place only in schools and education doesn’t take place only in classrooms. There are four domains in Kairos with Basecamps and Outposts in each. The Basecamps represent a variety of places where learning can take place – the Great Outdoors, Built Environments, Imaginary Worlds, and Media Worlds.
Basecamp Great Outdoors focuses on the natural environment to remind us that we are part of nature and that the protection, preservation, and enjoyment of the natural environment should be an integral part of learning. Good quality natural environments provide basic needs such as clean air and water, fertile land for food production, and energy and material inputs for production. Basecamp Great Outdoors’ first Outpost is in the upper Midwest, including Northern Wisconsin, Upper Michigan, and the Boundary Waters of Minnesota around Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. Outpost North Woods hosts an outdoor adventure each August. Additional Outposts will be established across the nation and around the world.
Basecamp Built Environment touches all aspects of our lives, encompassing the buildings we live in, the distribution systems that provide us with water and electricity, and the roads, bridges, and transportation systems we use to get from place to place. Basecamp Built Environment’s first Outpost was in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. There was an event in Dubai at the World Expo in January 2022. Future Outposts include Uganda, Telosa, Osaka, and Los Angeles.
Basecamp Imaginary Worlds focuses on physical simulated spaces and places like museums, zoos, and theme parks, and virtual simulations such as extended reality (XR) including AR, VR, and MR. The immersive experiences provided in Imaginary Worlds involve the student’s whole person, including the senses, personality, and emotions. Outpost Orlando hosts an event each fall at Disney World. Outpost VR hosts annual events in virtual reality.
Basecamp Media Worlds focuses on the intersection of education and media like movies, television, and social media with an Outpost in Hollywood, California. Media are a powerful way in which we learn. Print, audio, and visual media, such as books, videos, audio, television, or movies, hold our attention and help us retain information. Annual events are held in June in Los Angeles at venues such as the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures and the George Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.
Ensō Education Institute sees learning as a system with networks of many related parts. Isolation, lack of transparency, and failure to collaborate are among the greatest detriments to learning.
Realms are the fields of interest or activities around Singularities from the Big Bang that formed the Universe, to the Metaverse that will follow the Singularity of Super-intelligence. Singularities are instances in cosmic history in which key features of the universe came into existence when they had not previously been found to exist.
Pathfinders explore the Realms to gain a systemic, conceptual understanding of the nature of the:
- Solar System
- Super-Intelligent Metaverse
Ensō Education Institute recognizes a variety of skills/tools/intelligences that inform learning.
Pathfinders acquire six Powers in Kairos that enable them to overcome the challenges of each Quest. Powers are the tools, skills, and intelligences acquired and used by Pathfinders.
Pathfinders develop the Powers of:
- Words (linguistics)
- Numbers (mathematics)
- Sounds (audiation)
- Movement (kinesthetics)
- Vision (sight and imagination)
- Experiences (interaction and immersion)
Ensō Education Institute promotes project-based, problem-solving learning using Design Thinking and Imagineering processes. Pathfinders take on four Quests or challenges that follow the Design Thinking process.
- Question – identify and clarify the problem to be solved. In this Quest, Players develop a Design Brief with a clear purpose statement.
- Imagine – generate many possible solutions to the problem. In this Quest, Players keep a sketch-note Journal including mind maps.
- Make – create a prototype or model to test the solution. In this Quest, Players compile a portfolio documenting the process and results on a website.
- Share – present the results of your Quests in a clear and compelling manner. In this Quest, Players will create a short presentation video and make live presentations.
The Pathfinder Series
The Pathfinder Series is a 10-week course that meets virtually once a week for 90 minutes with group discussions and workgroup meetings in between sessions.
The 10 weeks are divided into four parts called Quests, which are based on the Design Thinking process.
Quest 1 is Question.
In this Quest, you will learn how to ask the right questions to identify and clarify the problem you want to solve. This requires asking two other questions: “What are your interests and passions?” and “What does the world need from you?” Your goal is to develop a coherent problem to begin solving over the next four months that is personally interesting to you and fills a need in the real world. How can you make a positive impact on a billion people on the planet?
Quest 1 Challenge: Write a Design Brief for a project of personal interest that addresses a need in the world.
Quest 2 is Imagine.
In this Quest, you will brainstorm potential solutions to the problem you want to solve. You will learn to develop fluency, flexibility, elaboration, and originality. You will learn to generate many potential ideas until you have surfaced solutions that will work in a way no one has thought of before. You will learn how to generate solutions to problems beyond your imagination.
Quest 2 Challenge. Keep a sketch-note journal to capture, document, and reflect on your ideas.
Quest 3 is Make.
In this Quest, you will develop a model or simulation of your best potential solution to test its efficacy. You will learn what models and simulations are and their power in addressing “wicked problems.” You will learn techniques to test your ideas in a simple, inexpensive, quick, and convincing manner. You will learn how to take your creative ideas and turn them into positive, tangible innovations.
Quest 3 Challenge: Compile a portfolio of documents and artifacts related to your project.
Quest 4 is Share.
In this quest, you will learn and practice several ways to explain the solutions you have derived in the first three Quests in a clear and compelling manner. You will learn to do an elevator pitch; make a 4-minute slide deck; and do a 15-minute TED talk type presentation. You will learn the power of storytelling using your voice, sounds, music, visuals, movement, and interactive experiences.
Quest 4 Challenge: Create a 4-minute video explaining your project and your process.
Principles of Kairos
Kairos’ alternatives to traditional education, schooling, and learning are built on several key principles.
Self-Direction, equity, and inclusion
In the early days, computers could only carry out instructions that were programmed into them. Now there is Deep Learning where computers have evolved to the point where they are solving problems we didn’t even ask them to. Computers can teach themselves to play games by figuring out the rules on their own; beat our best human players; and come up with strategies that no human player had ever thought of.
Like new computers, people can also learn without having content programmed into them. People can actually learn much better when they are self-directed. To enable self-direction, learners must have autonomy and independence, based on equity and inclusion under a system of justice, fair play, and the rule of law. Learning systems, while recognizing that younger learners are not yet fully developed, must demonstrate models of free republics under principles of democracy rather than autocratic enforcement of power.
We used textbooks in schools to gather information from many places into one easy to access source. We used to have to do the same with computers by feeding data into them and just having them spit out computations. Today, computers search through massive databases in networked resources around the globe in the Cloud. They compile their own data from multiple sources and see patterns we hadn’t even noticed. Learning is much more effective if students draw information from multiple sources.
Rather than all reading from the same book, learning is much richer if students draw from different sources with different perspectives on any particular topic.
Traditional learning too often discourages cooperation and sharing of information – “keep your eyes on your own paper,” “stop talking to each other.” Many computers, connected together and working in parallel, solve problems in moments that would have taken weeks, months, or years by traditional methods.
Throughout history, humans have succeeded by a high level of communication first in family units, then in tribes of known collaborators, and finally to large numbers of unrelated, unknown collaborators. Global societies are like human brains made up of billions of neurons (individuals) each with thousands of connections.
Many problems can no longer be solved at the local or national level. Money, commerce, travel, diseases, conflicts, violence, crime, and all manner of social interactions do not follow national boundaries. There is a distinction between patriotism and nationalism. Individual, city, state, and national autonomy and rights must be protected while working together to solve global problems.
Systems break down if there is not transparency and free flow of information within and between parts of systems. Many problems are difficult to solve because local, state, regional, and national networks often fail to communicate and collaborate fully. People learn better by figuring things out together and sharing ideas to solve difficult problems and accomplish complex tasks they couldn’t do on their own. Pathfinders learn to not withhold information and ideas and spontaneously share with other parts of the system.
Schools were originally set up with disconnected subject areas that too often compete with each other for attention, time and resources rather than trying to develop connections among systems. Systems thinking and systemic approaches to learning are essential to solving the complex, interconnected, systemic problems we face today. Patterns of competition, hierarchies, content silos, secrecy, and isolation must be replaced with networking, collaboration, transparency, sharing, and networking are needed to address complex problems in the future.
Short-sighted attention to immediate needs without considering long-term and unintended consequences were common before we had the technological capabilities to gather and process large amounts of data. Future decisions will be based on data with less reliance on personal intuition and gut feelings. Recognizing patterns of change from the past and extrapolating them into the future will allow better planning and decision-making.
Too often, students are expected to carry out tasks without being told why, or knowing or caring why. They are provided answers to questions they didn’t ask. And, when they do have real questions, too often they are told to pay attention and stick to the task at hand, or wait for the answer to their questions in a different class at a different time. Learning is more effective when it is personally meaningful to the learner, so they learn what they need to know when they need to know it. Standardized curriculum, set standards, and artificial scope and sequences are detrimental to high-end learning.
Too much of schooling consists of “school work” – classroom assignments that don’t relate to real-world problems or the needs and interests of the students. Understanding the meaning and purpose behind work is more effective than just the admonition that “you’re going to need to know this someday.” As automation, robotics and artificial intelligence continue replacing many tasks done by people there will be a greater need to help people find meaning and purpose in their lives.
There are many techniques to turn dry information into meaningful experiences. We learn better through stories than through disconnected data and information. We learn better by interacting with stimulating environments and by engaging our senses. The ability to add stories, interactions, and personal engagement will become increasingly important in education.
One of the major mistakes in developing the original education system was separating the development of our cognitive abilities from the development of our feelings and emotions. Sir Ken Robinson said that we treat our bodies as if they are just vehicles to get our heads to the next meeting. We have to bring back our insatiable curiosity, the visceral joy of figuring things out, the excitement of peak performance, and the satisfaction of a job well done. The sense of flow, exhilaration, and satisfaction of accomplishing difficult tasks and meeting personal goals need to be a prime motivation for learning. Competition is not the only or best way to motivate achievement.
History and science give us glimpses of patterns of change in the past. We are able to trace the evolution of species, climate change, continental drifts, mass extinctions, expansion of space in the universe, and a variety of ways the world is different today from the past. We must be aware that the process of change has not stopped. We are still evolving. Continents are still shifting. Climate change is still happening. Stars, like our sun, live and die. Change is inevitable and continuing. What seems true today may be different tomorrow. We must be able to adapt to change and be willing to change habits of mind when paradigm shifts occur. Learning means changing our minds.
At the conclusion of the Pathfinder Series you will have developed a solution to a problem that is meaningful to you at a deep level and fills a need in the world in a way that is beyond your imagination.
In the process, you will learn about your unlocked potential and what is holding you back from being the best version of yourself. You will also develop empathy and insights to help you become a problem-solver to make the world a better place for all.
Our goal is to prepare a generation of self-aware problem-solvers who can address the biggest changes coming in creative potential that the world has ever seen. You will no longer need to fear change because you will be a Pathfinder with the knowledge, tools, and skills to navigate any future challenge.