It was a great discussion last Tuesday night in our ECI832 class. The continuous evolution of society (or in some cases de-evolution - aka mullets) and the passing of the torch from one generation to the next. How does education change and adapt with all these changes both in mindset and access to technology? The questions posed for this week were:
So after our conversation, I looked at this week's suggested readings to see what correlations could me made with our conversation.
In the 2017 K12 Horizon Report , I was reading through the top 10 high lights of the big picture theme and one jumped out at me based on our conversation.
" Real-world skills are needed to bolster employability and workplace development. Students expect to graduate into gainful employment. Institutions have a responsibility to deliver deeper, active learning experiences and skills-based training that integrate technology in meaningful ways."
From our conversation, I would not say that these types of learning experiences are being integrated (and this report is from three years ago). I don't necessarily blame teachers for this (although some will be 'old school' four life and there are some that are trying to make this happen), As long as stakeholder such as universities, governments, parents, and other institutions put an emphasis on grades and 'covering' the curriculum, I'm not sure if these opportunities will become the norm rather than the exception.
In the 2020 Future Work Skills report, found skills number 3 was something that stood out to me.
"3 Novel & Adaptive thinking - Definition: proficiency at thinking and coming up with solutions and responses beyond that which is rote or rule-based."
My son basically summed up how he has been trained and knows how to be proficient at rote and rule-based thinking but rarely challenged beyond that. So what sort of world are we preparing our students for?
In the article 9 Things that Will Shape the Future of Education, the quote below caught my attention.
"Exams will change completely.
As courseware platforms will assess students capabilities at each step, measuring their competencies through Q&A might become irrelevant, or might not suffice. Many argue that exams are now designed in such a way, that students cram their materials, and forget the next day. Educators worry that exams might not validly measure what students should be capable of when they enter their first job. As the factual knowledge of a student can be measured during their learning process, the application of their knowledge is best tested when they work on projects in the field."
I haven't seen a lot of progress in this area and neither has my son. I looked at the date of when the article was written (2016). So there's still 16 years for this to come to fruition, but the pace education currently ticks at doesn't give me a lot of hope. That doesn't mean I'll stop trying to change the current narrative on this, as I hope that exams will take the shape of what is mentioned above.
In the TED Talk article What is the Future of Education?, this point stood out to me.
So long as there is a workplace… there will be schools.
“The K-12 experience for students also provides societal infrastructure that allows for a working class. By 2050, the ‘World of Work’ will have little resemblance to what it is today. We should hope this to be the case for schools as well. If we begin by helping children to identify their strengths, interests and values — and then dedicate time in school to cultivating them towards exploring where each child’s unique place in the world might be — I think we’ll be on the right path regardless of what new technologies or advances in learning become available. — David Miyashiro, Superintendent, Cajon Valley Union School District, California, United States"
I think schools will always exist in some shape or form. Even our conversation, my son pointed out a lot of soft skills that are important part of what he has learned in school (for me this is more important that grades - but I'm glad his grades are good to as the current system still places a lot of value on these and both of us know and mention this).
In the report What are the New Skills ,I thought that this was something that we need to focus in on more.
"Play— the capacity to experiment with one’s surroundings as a form of problem-solving."
School should embrace play as there are so many positive that come out especially problem-solving. I think one reason that my son eludes to Computer Science being on of the classes he gets the most out of because coding gives you a chance to play, make mistakes, and create something that you envisioned.
Dean Vendramin. Educator for over 20 years. Currently Education Leader for Math/Science at Archbishop M.C. O'Neill Catholic High School. Have a passion for all things in education with emphasis on technology integration, assessment, professional development, and 21 Century Education. Posts are articles he has written for the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation monthly newsletter The Bulletin, Saskatchewan Math Teachers' Society The Variable, blog requests from memberships he is a part of, and his own thoughts.