Education has changed a lot but needs to change more if our students are to be fully prepared for the world they’ll inhabit. Meet Education 3.0, the next step in the journey of education itself.
According to the Education Commission, 40 per cent of employers are struggling to recruit people with the skills they need. Education around the world is failing to keep up with the growing demand for skills, and increasing shortages of skilled workers in both developing and developed economies.
As William Daggett says in ‘Preparing Students for their Technological Future’, “Educators, parents, and the public at large must recognise a fundamental purpose to education – learning to apply academic skills needed for the increasingly sophisticated workplace and society.”
Cisco Systems has identified the shift that must take place for education to address the needs of the 21st century learner. The shift is described as moving from Education 1.0, the traditional education, to 2.0, which focuses on curriculum, teachers, accountability and leadership to 3.0 which is based on holistic information and 21st century pedagogy and skills. According to Cisco, no education leaders have reached Education 3.0.
Educators need to consider how to create meaning and context in lessons, understand the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects, become facilitators, not subject matter experts, and focus on building 21st century skills including creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving, communication collaboration, technology, self-directed learning and cultural awareness.
Our curriculum is here, but are we?
Richard Rowley, Education Director for The Mind Lab by Unitec, says when it comes to actioning change in our own back yard we should start with the curriculum.
“Look at it yourself, and ask yourself, do I embody in my practice what it lays out?”
The vision of the New Zealand curriculum is for the nation’s young people to be creative, resourceful and enterprising. To be informed decision makers and to seize the opportunities offered by new technologies to secure a social, cultural, economic and environmental future.
“Educators need to take the time to look at this vision, look at themselves and their practice. They need to ask themselves difficult questions about what they are doing to equip their learners for this new world.”
A fundamental shift to create meaning in education
Damon Kahi, National Technologist at The Mind Lab, says, “Companies are focusing on innovation and looking for faster and better ways of doing things within the company. Companies are automating certain jobs and allowing employees to focus on other areas within the business. The idea of having a safe reliable job is slowly starting to fade, as parents and teachers sometimes we turn a blind eye to this new world we are living in.”
According to Daggett, what needs to be learned is secondary to how to use the vast amount of information available.
“Students may have limitless technology and information at their disposal, but can they access that information efficiently and effectively? Can they evaluate it critically and competently and identify objective facts from propaganda? Do they understand the issues concerning access to and use of information? Can they create meaning from data? In essence, do they know the value of information, aside from what is needed to pass a test?”
Actioning change at Auckland’s Aorere College
The Mind Lab team is working with Aorere College to bring robotics to students in a way that ties the subject back to a real-world context, builds 21st century skills and creates cross-sector relationships.
The team is developing a robotics programme that takes a known problem in the school or community and poses a solution. Throughout this process they learn the crucial skills of collaboration, exploration, empathy, how to code and build robotics, how to create a business plan and understand how concepts such as automation function in the real world.
“Teachers are prepared to have difficult conversations to drive change, which can be hard because essentially what you’re trying to get people to open their minds when it comes to education, and a lot of teachers have deeply held beliefs,” said Rowley.
The traditional education system has a very narrow way of looking at the curriculum and assessments, so our focus becomes about opening schools up to the possibilities of what can be achieved, and doing it in a way in which the school is comfortable,” explained Rowley. “All of the teachers at Aorere College have done The Mind Lab’s postgrad programme, so they have that foundation.”
“It’s about the individuals and interactions more so than the processes and tools. It’s about encouraging students to realise their own potential, fostering creativity and giving our kids a head start.”
Catherine Knowles works for The Mind Lab.