Key drivers of change are forcing us to deconstruct our industrial model of education and remix it to meet the needs for a vastly different world. Some of the key drivers influencing this remix are the exponential growth of knowledge; the explosion of technologies such as artificial intelligence and the increased capabilities of virtual and online experience; a growing concern with the equity gap; and the frustration that current approaches are failing to provide learners with the skills and attributes they will need to address future economic, environmental and societal challenges.
The debates rage about what needs to change, driven by personal experiences, context and assumptions. What is the difference between education, schooling and learning? What is the role of the teacher? How involved should learners be in deciding their learning pathways? How might parents be part of the journey? Dialogue is healthy.
There are some key trends that I believe are important in this dialogue. They are trends affecting all organisations, not just schools. But for the purposes of this post I will place them in an educational context. There are eight trends I would like to explore in more detail, as shown in the diagram below:
Increasingly, there is a connection between schools and businesses; and schools are linking the ‘curriculum’ to real life learning. Transversal skills are key competencies and skills that are relevant across a broad range of occupations and industries. For example, taking initiative is a transversal skill that will help people cope with unpredictable career paths in an increasingly complex world.
- Example: http://authenticlearning.weebly.com/
- Example: Reimagining Secondary Learning Ed Gazette
- Research: Authentic Learning Environments
- Stretch: Think Global School
In a world of increasing technological capability, there are more diverse opportunities to meet the needs of learners. Great teachers know their learners and use this knowledge to co-create learning playlists for students. They do this intentionally. Personalisation with the human touch helps to keep the social fabric of learning alive.
- Example: Hobsonville Point Secondary School
- Research: Personalisation Finally Threatening to Fulfil its Potential? Innovation Unit
- Research: Personalised Learning Through IT
- Research: Personalised Learning An Overview – University of Queensland
- Stretch: Beyond Badges: Why Personalized Learning Advocates Need to Care About Blockchain
- Stretch: Knewton
Learning is increasingly available 24/7 as technology becomes more pervasive. Educators are linking with others globally, sharing ideas and undertaking global projects. This outwards mindset is increasingly important. Foresight, including the ability to scan the environment, increasingly involves crowd sourcing – and technology is the enabler.
- Example: Flat Connections – Julie Lindsay
- Research: 24/7/365: The Implications – Mal Lee and Roger Broadie
- Stretch: Transforming Education and Healthcare – podcast with Dan Sullivan and Peter Diamandis
Teacher practice is being deprivatised. Teachers are co-teaching and working with others across curriculum areas and year levels. They are making learning much more transparent to students, parents and whanau. There is an increasing expectation that learning is visible, reporting systems are ongoing and that there is a greater connection between home and school.
- Example: Why Deprivatising Practice is So Hard and How We Can start
- Research: School Vision Shapes Curriculum Design
- Stretch: Wearable Technologies
- Stretch: Wearable Tech
People are more likely to be attracted to organisations that behave in principled ways, and that work for the greater good. Inequity of access to education, safety and health are increasing global tensions. Sustainability, and service to others, are demonstrated in organisational values. For example, the Singularity University is focused on addressing humanity’s grand challenges.
- Example: The Rise of the Ecowarriors
- Research: Disconnected: Youth, New Media, and the Ethics Gap – book by Carrie James, Project Zero
- Stretch: Deep Learning
In a complex, non-linear and dynamical world leaders, teachers, parents and students (well, yes everyone…) need to be able to think from multiple perspectives. Many of the issues facing us have no solutions and sometimes the problem itself is unknown, let alone the solution. Learning is becoming more agile and flexible and less mechanistic in design.
- Example: Learning Environments - High Tech High
- Research: Working in Complexity
- Stretch: Masters of Order and Unorder - Agile Architects introduce the Cynefin Framework
The power is with the people. Globally, people are wanting to be part of decision making and have a role in creating their environment. In schools students are wanting to play a greater role in what, how and when they learn. This trend is not just about student voice but also about growing learner agency – the skills for students to be self regulated and to take some responsibility for their own lives, while contributing to society.
- Example: CORE Education Trend -Learner Agency
- Example: Agency in My Diverse Classroom
- Research: Learner Agency – Using Spirals of Inquiry
- Stretch: Student Agency and Engagement (this is my favourite resource – check out the Super School Project at http://xqsuperschool.org/)
Schools are systems within systems. While schools have often worked in teams, many have not interacted beyond those teams. Collaboration requires an outwards mindset and sense of curiosity. There is increasing collaboration between disciplines, within clusters of schools and across industries. There is a greater level of dialogue about pathways and transitions within education and beyond.
- Example: Collaboration in Schools – blogpost and infographic
- Research: Te Atatu Community of Schools – Te Toi Tupu
- Research: The Power of Collaboration – The New Pedagogies for Deep Learning Project
- Research: Teacher Collaboration and Achievement of Students with LDs
- Stretch: Leaders 2030 – Bersin by Deloitte
Of course these trends are interwoven and vary from context to context. Combined, they are having a profound impact on schools. What is your vision for school? Have you extended your thinking?
The drivers of change are powerful and influence these trends in significant ways. We really do live in times of exponential change. Please send us your stretch examples of these trends so we can share them with others.
Give young people more choice, more access to technology, more varied opportunities, especially for independent learning while keeping each school’s character and motivating us to learn. Just don’t allow today’s reality to limit tomorrow’s possibilities. Greater Christchurch Secondary Students forum, March 5 2013.