Nearly every industry in the world has changed beyond recognition by the invention of computers, the internet and mobile technology. The world has been rebooted.
But has education changed and evolved?
The simple answer is no!
In the 1800’s, students sat in a classroom, listened to a teacher and took tests. In 2016, some students do exactly the same thing. Our current education system was designed and conceived for a different age…The classroom is a relic, left over from the Industrial Revolution.
So why has education not changed when it is has the most to gain from change?
Education has to give children the correct skills so that they can succeed in today’s hyper-connected world. The pace of change is accelerating. By one estimate, the amount of new technical information doubles every two years, and 70 percent of today’s students will end up in jobs that have not yet been invented
But it is not happening…
Researchers have identified numerous elements to bring about this culture change including teachers’ beliefs about what constitutes effective instruction, their lack of technology expertise, erratic training and support from administrators, and neither the time nor the incentive to explore and experiment.
Of course they will need a few core skills like reading, writing, math, thinking, imagining and creating, however we cannot know what knowledge or skills they are going to need in their lives. Simply buying technology and adding it to the current system is not going to work.
Yes schools have bought technology, substituted a chalkboard for an Interactive White Board. A good use of money and technology? Likewise there is nothing transformative about every kid having an iPad unless you’re able to reach higher-order teaching and learning.
We need to Reboot Education.
What skills are the children really going to need when they grow up?
The general consensus is that students need to acquire transparency-level skills in the following areas:
- Problem solving -Students need the ability to solve complex problems in real time.
- Creativity -Students need to be able to think and work creatively in both digital and nondigital environments to develop unique and useful solutions.
- Analytic thinking -Students need the ability to think analytically, which includes proficiency with comparing, contrasting, evaluating, synthesising, and applying without instruction or supervision.
- Collaboration -Students must possess the ability to collaborate seamlessly in both physical and virtual spaces, with real and virtual partners globally.
- Communication -Students must be able to communicate not just with text or speech, but in multiple multimedia formats. They must be able to communicate visually through video and imagery as effectively as they do with text and speech.
- Ethics, action, and accountability -This includes adaptability, fiscal responsibility, personal accountability, environmental awareness, empathy, tolerance, and global awareness.
I hope that education will be rebooted to include these skills so that children can succeed. As educators we need to be Future Wise to what and how children will need for theirs and ours futures.
How can we do this?
Education is complicated. There are so many elements that will make up the Future.
What will the school building look like? Will children learn in their living rooms?
Research shows that students and teachers do better in spaces that offer variety, flexibility and comfort. Classroom redesign has begun however maybe we won’t even have classrooms. Perhaps kids will just sit at home and log on to lessons brought into their living rooms.
Are online courses the future?
Online Courses ( such as University of the People) and MOOC’s allow students to study on a flexible time schedule, offers hands-on experience, and encourages ‘out of the box’ thinking. Great examples are Edx, Coursea, and CS50.
Do we need a timetable?
Are the teacher/student roles changing?
Teachers are acting more as facilitators rather than keepers of all knowledge. Students are driving their own education to the path that they feel best fits them. Knowledge is not something to be passively received; it is to be sought out, questioned, created, and investigated. Students need to be engaged in the processes of asking, acquiring, analysing, and adding to knowledge
How does Virtual Reality fit into education?
It will revolutionise field trips. If you want to teach a child about the solar system, the ability to physically drop them onto the surface of Mars and show them what the gravity there is like is an incredibly powerful educational tool.
A new Industrial Revolution?
As I think about what the future of education will be, I look at all these interesting changes that are happening now because of technology.
My hope is that some of these and more creative ideas will continue to be shared through our growing PLN’s to produce an education system that will allow the children to succeed in life. An environment rich in resources, the space to fail, explore, discover how the world works and the technology to share it with the world.