The future of education in four easy steps…

Preparing your students – or your own children – for the future?

There are plenty of people, and websites, out there who’ll tell you how to do it. For my part, I attended the Learning Media 2020 Visions of the Future Symposium today, and listened to keynotes from Hon Anne Tolley, Dr Monica Martinez (New tech Network), Professor Sir Mason Durie and Karen Sewell (Secretary of Education).

And while they all added their own spin on where we’re all headed, here’s the skinny on the next ten years:

Work together: collaborate or die! (to steal the phrase from Bonk): the New Tech Network classrooms are project-driven, and group focused, Durie explored the community efforts of Whanau Ora, and Martinez’s ‘maker’s economy’ is founded on local and global networks.

Teach ‘literacies’, not just ‘literacy’: literacies will mean more than reading, writing, visuals…to drink from the fire hydrant that is the information-rich internet, you need to discriminate, make sense of patterns and trends, map your concepts and exercise relational thinking. Wordle’s good. Mind maps are good. Metaphors are powerful.

Strive for equality, regardless, of culture and race and background: This is a prime goal for New Zealand success; Durie, Sewell and Tolley pushed hard on this main theme – and who would argue? Whether its whānau-driven online communities, Ka Hikitia in the classroom, or Youth Guarantee keeping young people learning, the need to reduce the over-representation of Māori and Pasifika in the ‘long tail’ remains urgent.

Embrace technology, or be isolated from the rest: As a tool for empowering and communication, technology now threads through all our lives: We keep developing, adapting, changing and slowly redefining ourselves in terms of the tools we use. But how much of this is legitimised in education? Or are students still secretly texting under the tables?

While indeed much of what was said has been said before, visits to  (some? many?) schools will confirm that the future is still very much unevenly distributed.

The question is: will – can –  education today help students be ready for their own future? Which, of course, begins in the next…few….seconds….

Check out my live Twitter stream from the symposium.

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