This post reflects some of the key sessions from the Connected Education Summit, 22 April 2015, where I was presenting, and some emerging thoughts on the ideas we heard.
It was a day aimed far more at the intersection of business and education than at practitioners. We heard from (largely white, middleclass male…) futurists (‘where the world is going’), demographers (‘how do we know it’s going this way?) and pragmatists (‘this is what we need to do about it’) from international business (IBM, National Broadband Network, OECD, Mindlab).
The driving theme was that all the trends point to the urgent paradigm shift that we all know about by now that are driving (or should be driving) innovation in the education sector, issues such as rampant youth unemployment, aging populations, differently behaving generations and increasing inequity.
Worryingly, there was quite a bit of talk about creating “pipelines” between school and business in ways that would address the skills gaps and unemployment, and not quite as much discussion about the purpose of education or how it might be made engaging for young people while they are there.
The stories from Matt Richards (@sirmattrichards) were a welcome relief, as he shared examples of his makerspace projects St Columba, and the presentation from Prof. Barbara Ischinger (previously of the OECD) did point to the need for a broader, competency based view on education, suggesting that international benchmark tests such as PISA would be broadening their focus in the future towards assessing ‘global competency’:
Here’s a taste of some of the other ideas / solutions that were presented:
Stanley Litow (Vice President of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs, IBM)
- Exploring the possibility of using Watson to harness information and help teachers harness information on the fly and…
- the establishment of a new model of education in the form of the public-private partnership P-Tech schools, which he described as “the fastest rollout of any development in education in the US”. Not necessarily a good thing, in my view. With phrases such as “Don’t let them out unless they are ready to succeed”, the demand to meld the worlds of academia and work and the promise that “when they graduate .. they will be ‘first in line’ for a job with IBM & a ticket to the middle class…” there were shivers down the spine of those looking for a more holistic view of education. So, nothing new really – just the same industrial model of ‘ship ’em in, ship ’em out’ education….
Leslie Loble, Sep Sec, NSW, Dept. Education
“We need a critical focus be on the pedagogy of the use of the technology and the govt. should explore how to provide the “pipelines” (there’s that word again) and enabling elements to help shift schools and learners.”
David Houle [
@evolutionshift], Futurist | futurewow.com
We have moved from the ‘information age’ to the ‘shift age’, shaped by:
- The flow to global – global stage of human evolution, and all aspects, such as education, are at a global stage
- The flow to the individual – last 40 years has seen an explosion of choice. Power has shifted from producer to consumer.
- Accelerating electronic connectedness of the planet
The transformation decade 2010-2020
The nature, shape, character and form are changing – or if not, why not? We are seeing the collapse of legacy thinking which will result in the opening up of space, space for C21st century thought.
Implications for education
We should understand:
- The value of digital experience at all levels of the education system, including pre-school.
- The importance of being aware of current neuroscience.
- That Baby boomers are bridge generations; GenXrs are in power; millenials are continuing education; Digital Natives – students…there is a disconnect with education. Lowest satisfaction rates for our clients.
- We live evermore in a spatial context, the ‘neurosphere’ [collected consciousness, online]. We now have both our physical reality and the screen reality. Education should reflect this – more spacial, less place-based…and yet culture and place are still important.
- 2015-2030 Education: we will see the greatest transformation in shortest amount of time, ever more global and connected. As education takes change into its own hands, higher education breaks up…