Our friends over at Edudemic published a list called 7 Ways To Transform Education By 2030. It is based on a report called Waterloo Global Science Initiative’s (WGSI) Equinox Blueprint: Learning 2030. I’d like to take the list and comment point by point.
1. Change the focus from rote learning – the memorization of specific facts and figures – to the development of lifelong learners who are able to think critically and solve problems.
Yes I agree however this is going to happen regardless. Children growing up with Internet access are having their brains develop in different ways. It’s just not as necessary to remember things. This will cause increasing frustration at school for kids.
2. Encourage learning through cross-disciplinary and collaborative projects that are relevant and useful to their community.
Projects are useful learning tools however not every project requires collaboration. I think this is thought of as a panacea for what ails education. Most of what I learned in life I did by myself. Individual projects require thinking through the whole project, not delegating it to others. There is a place for collaboration but there should be a healthy balance.
3. Create an environment where students work in fluid groupings that combine students of different ages, different abilities and different interests.
Why? This is the diversity at all costs mantra. This is even dumber than collaboration for all things. Why not have students work together with people of similar interests? Why not put people of similar skill level together? That way they are all working towards the same goal. Different ages are ok to a certain point as long as they are similar in skill level and interest.
4. Shift the role of the teacher from “chalk-and-talk” orators to curators of learning, helping students grow their knowledge and skills.
Yes I agree completely. Learning should be student directed.
5. Measure learning progress using qualitative assessments of a student’s skills and competencies, rather than using high-stakes examinations.
Makes sense. Measure what a student can do at the beginning of the year and then at the end. Of course that means you will get different amounts of learning per students each year. Oh no they won’t be equal!! Inequality!! Ahhhhh!! Inequality is a natural human condition because we are all different.
6. Ensure that all groups – teachers, parents, governments and students – have a seat at the table when building the framework for learning.
The ones with the money are the ones at the table. That would be the government. Once they have your money they can ignore you. The only way to change that is to make the parents the ones with the money. Vouchers are one approach.
7. Empower students and teachers to experiment with new ideas in an environment where they can fail safely and develop confidence to take risks.
Experimentation and failure and risk taking is a wonderful idea and is the basis of effective learning. However, it means that you take as much time as you need, which is the thing missing from this list. Once time is variable, learning will be maximized. The whole system is the way it is because time is the constant and learning is variable.
What makes lists like this so off the mark is they are assuming that both students and society are going to remain constant until 2030 and we can change the education system. In reality, the education system will change to reflect the needs of society as they change. I think there is actually very little planned about our current system. It’s more like an animal than a government program. It will evolve to a certain extent but its fundamental nature will cause its downfall.
Mass public education is the dinosaur and the Internet is the meteor.