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 ageThe classroom is a relic, left over from the Industrial Revolution.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zw_7_r-D5Kk[/youtube]

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.

Photo Credit: arwcheek via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: arwcheek via Compfight cc

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.

Pedagogy first, it’s not about buying a load of tablets.

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.
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Created with Typorama – J.Bevans 2016 CC

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? 

We may conclude that it makes no sense to break down the school day into fixed “periods”. Interdisciplinary and real-world projects could be the answer.

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? 

3D printing will become mainstream, offering students the chance to create a new industrial revolution from their desks.

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.

Most educators and observers agree that the school of the future will go electronic with a capital E!

Education Rebooted.

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8 Comments

  1. University of the People (www.uopeople.edu) is a great example of online study, but it is not an example of MOOCs, as your post suggests.UoPeople is not ‘Massive’ – it caps classes to 20-30 students per instructor so as to allow for individualized attention. It is not ‘Open’ – As a university, students need to apply and be accepted. Moreover, University of the People offers entire degrees, as opposed to just stand-alone courses.

    1. Hi Sarah,
      Thanks for your comments. I agree with you. When writing this post I have grouped University of People into MOOC’s – I should instead have put it under online study. I will amend this on my post.
      Thanks for pointing out my mistake.
      Cheers, Joel

  2. Hello Joel.

    I enjoyed reading your post. As I started to write my own similarly themed post, I reflected on the lives of my parents and grandparents. Part of their education prepared them for a set of skills relevant to the times. My own grandparents grew up on farms and eventually relocated to the cities to raise families during and after the Great Depression. Both of my parents entered the work force and married before they reached 20 years old. They worked and retired from union jobs that they held nearly their entire adult lives. It goes without saying that the demands of society and the workforce of today have changed massively and that continued change is occurring at a staggering rate. Always some my favorite videos to ponder when thinking about the pace of change are the Shift Happens series. Here’s the one from 2015.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMB77eJPYs8

    You cite a list of 6 skills that students will need when they grow up. Here are more items to add to the list from an Education Week article written by Prakash Nair titled The Classroom Is Obsolete: It’s Time for Something New. He identifies accepted characteristics of schools of tomorrow:

    (1) personalized; (2) safe and secure; (3) inquiry-based; (4) student-directed; (5) collaborative; (6) interdisciplinary; (7) rigorous and hands-on; (8) embodying culture of excellence and high expectations; (9) environmentally conscious; (10) offering strong connections to the local community and business; (11) globally networked; and (12) setting the stage for lifelong learning.

    It would certainly seem that there is some crossover between our two lists. I would also add that many of these items, while the emphasis and context have changed, are not that different from life skills needed by my grandparents and parents. For example, anyone who has ever lived on or near a farm knows that you need to be creative and resourceful problem solvers not to mention being able to work collaboratively with others.

    One point I think we both have arrived at is that ultimately, while technology provides a set of tools and an environment to develop 21st century critical skills, it’s the teaching pedagogy that puts it to the best use. While one provides the thrust, the other adds the vector. To best support our students learning needs and prepare them for their futures, we need both.

    Again, great post – stylistic, smart, and concise.

    Best wishes, Chris.

    1. Hi Chris,
      Many thanks for your comments.

      I really like the look of Shift Happens- I had not seen this before.This is something certainly something I will bookmark and come back to. Cheers!

      The skills that we teach children are so important for their lives and the future of the planet. There is no need teaching the children skills that are obsolete and will not be used. Why do we have to have children sit exams without the use of a computer and a search engine? I think that these skills, like you say, are life skills that previous generations have used in their lives. But what I think should change is the way and how we teach these skills in school.

      The pedagogy has to be the driver in what we do -technology can of course aid this – but without the teaching and learning carefully planned for (by the teacher) then the lesson and technology will fail.

      Thanks for your thought provoking response Chris.
      Cheers, Joel

  3. Hi Joel,
    This post really made me think-I suppose to a millenial ,the actual changes may seem depressingly few especially since the possibilities are vast. When I was writing my post I was excited by the fact that things have changed so much and by the possibilities of continuing to move forward. But then I remembered, I’m one of those relics in the classroom – I’ve been teaching for close to 30 years, so you’d think there would have been more changes in education over that kind of time span. I feel slightly glum now!
    We need more teachers like you who have that spark and energy to enthuse others.
    Cheers, from the relic across the hallway!

    1. Hello Suzy,
      Thanks for your comments.
      I think that there are many great developments over the past 30 years in education. Don’t feel glum! I have learnt so much from you over the past few years.
      However I think there needs to be a shift in rebooting education. We can do better for our students in designing a carefully thought-out pedagogy to suit their particular future needs ( if we know what they are!!).
      But it’s not all doom and gloom… we are on the right track and I think our Units of Inquiry in GR1 are moving in the right direction- thanks to your brilliant ideas and collaboration.
      Thanks as ever, Cheers, Joel

  4. I’m friends with @whatedsaid. She proudly states she’s been teaching longer than many of us have been alive and she’s waiting to retire until the change happens. She’s kind of my hero. Because I get so damn frustrated sometimes. And I’m pretty sure Edna may get frustrated too. But at the Unleashing Conference (at Edna’s school) I realized that if we are frustrated then something is happening because people care. So I will get frustrated and angry and (probably) defensive. But I know that we are on the right track because I’m not the only one thinking we need change and I read and study a lot about this kinda stuff. And I’m surrounded by people who care.

    Thanks for getting frustrated with me!

  5. Thanks Rebekah for your comments. I think my frustration came out in this post! I want to do more but sometimes it is hard…. I think you are right that we are on the right track within education. We have made strides forward in teaching and learning. There is progress being made. But I want more…I am really looking forward, personally, next year to applying the COETAIL ideas that I have studied throughout the past year. Going in with a fresh head ,with Unit plans already mapped out, and plugging in some of the Future Wise ideas that I have learnt during this experience. Exciting times indeed….

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