The woman who thinks time has rendered Western education obsolete — from unlimited.world with thanks to Maree Conway for her tweet on this

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

For years, Finland has loitered in the upper echelons of global literacy and numeracy tables, leading politicians from other Western nations to see its education system as a model of inspiration. Why, then, is the Finnish government submitting it to a radical overhaul?

Dr. Marjo Kyllonen is the Education Manager for Helsinki. Having devised the blueprint for the future of Finland’s school system, she is playing a pivotal role in driving these changes through. She is doing so because she sees the structure and aims of current education systems in the West as increasingly irrelevant and obsolete, relics of an Industrial Age that we started to leave behind a long time ago. She argues that we need to rethink our entire relationship to education to equip future generations with the tools they need to face the challenges to come –challenges such as climate collapse, automated workforces, urbanisation and social division. The key to her blueprint is an emphasis on collaborative, holistic, “phenomenon” teaching – a routine that is less beholden to traditional subject-based learning and instead teaches pupils to work together to deal with problems they will face in their everyday lives, including those they encounter online and in the digital world.

Other:

  • If schools were invented today, what would they be like?
  • Instead of studying different subjects in isolation, learning should be anchored to real-life phenomena, things that kids see around them, so they see the connection between what they’re learning and real life. The traditional way of teaching isolated subjects with a teacher as the sole oracle of knowledge is widening the gap between the lives kids are living today and what they do at school.
  • So we have to think, what skills will people need in 60 years? Life is not split into subjects, so why is learning? What is more crucial for future society is cross-disciplinary thinking; all the experts say that the big problems of tomorrow won’t be solved if you only have one approach.

 

From DSC:
Whether one agrees with Marjo or not, her assertions are very thought provoking.  I really enjoyed reading this piece.

 

 

HarvardX rolls out new adaptive learning feature in online course — from edscoop.com by Corinne Lestch
Students in MOOC adaptive learning experiment scored nearly 20 percent better than students using more traditional learning approaches.

Excerpt:

Online courses at Harvard University are adapting on the fly to students’ needs.

Officials at the Cambridge, Massachusetts, institution announced a new adaptive learning technology that was recently rolled out in a HarvardX online course. The feature offers tailored course material that directly correlates with student performance while the student is taking the class, as well as tailored assessment algorithms.

HarvardX is an independent university initiative that was launched in parallel with edX, the online learning platform that was created by Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Both HarvardX and edX run massive open online courses. The new feature has never before been used in a HarvardX course, and has only been deployed in a small number of edX courses, according to officials.

 

 

From DSC:
Given the growth of AI, this is certainly radar worthy — something that’s definitely worth pulse-checking to see where opportunities exist to leverage these types of technologies.  What we now know of as adaptive learning will likely take an enormous step forward in the next decade.

IBM’s assertion rings in my mind:

 

 

I’m cautiously hopeful that these types of technologies can extend beyond K-12 and help us deal with the current need to be lifelong learners, and the need to constantly reinvent ourselves — while providing us with more choice, more control over our learning. I’m hopeful that learners will be able to pursue their passions, and enlist the help of other learners and/or the (human) subject matter experts as needed.

I don’t see these types of technologies replacing any teachers, professors, or trainers. That said, these types of technologies should be able to help do some of the heavy teaching and learning lifting in order to help someone learn about a new topic.

Again, this is one piece of the Learning from the Living [Class] Room that we see developing.

 

 

 

 

The 4 Common Characteristics of Personalized Learning — from thejournal.com by Leila Meyer
iNACOL offers ideas for implementing personalized learning in K-12 schools with the support of families and the community.

Excerpt:

According to the report, there are many different approaches to personalized learning, but most of them share these common characteristics:

  • Student ownership of their learning process;
  • Focus on the learning process rather than “big end-of-year tests”;
  • Competency or mastery-based student progression; and
  • Anytime, anywhere learning.

 

See also:

 

 

From DSC:
In the spirit of pulse-checking the landscapes…those of us working in higher education, take heed.  These are your future students.  What expectations from students might you encounter in the (not-too-distant) future?  What are the ramifications for which pedagogies you decide to use?

Further out, for those of you working in the corporate learning & development world or in corporate training/universities, your time may be further out here…but you need to take heed as well.  These are your future employees.  They will come into your organizations with their expectations for how they prefer to learn and grow. Will you meet them where they are at?

We operate in a continuum…we’d be wise to pulse-check what’s happening in the earlier phases of this continuum.

 

 

Equipping people to stay ahead of technological change — from economist.com by
It is easy to say that people need to keep learning throughout their careers. The practicalities are daunting.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

WHEN education fails to keep pace with technology, the result is inequality. Without the skills to stay useful as innovations arrive, workers suffer—and if enough of them fall behind, society starts to fall apart. That fundamental insight seized reformers in the Industrial Revolution, heralding state-funded universal schooling. Later, automation in factories and offices called forth a surge in college graduates. The combination of education and innovation, spread over decades, led to a remarkable flowering of prosperity.

Today robotics and artificial intelligence call for another education revolution. This time, however, working lives are so lengthy and so fast-changing that simply cramming more schooling in at the start is not enough. People must also be able to acquire new skills throughout their careers.

Unfortunately, as our special report in this issue sets out, the lifelong learning that exists today mainly benefits high achievers—and is therefore more likely to exacerbate inequality than diminish it. If 21st-century economies are not to create a massive underclass, policymakers urgently need to work out how to help all their citizens learn while they earn. So far, their ambition has fallen pitifully short.

At the same time on-the-job training is shrinking. In America and Britain it has fallen by roughly half in the past two decades. Self-employment is spreading, leaving more people to take responsibility for their own skills. Taking time out later in life to pursue a formal qualification is an option, but it costs money and most colleges are geared towards youngsters.

 

The classic model of education—a burst at the start and top-ups through company training—is breaking down. One reason is the need for new, and constantly updated, skills.

 

 

 

Lifelong learning is becoming an economic imperative — from economist.com
Technological change demands stronger and more continuous connections between education and employment, says Andrew Palmer. The faint outlines of such a system are now emerging

Excerpt:

A college degree at the start of a working career does not answer the need for the continuous acquisition of new skills, especially as career spans are lengthening. Vocational training is good at giving people job-specific skills, but those, too, will need to be updated over and over again during a career lasting decades. “Germany is often lauded for its apprenticeships, but the economy has failed to adapt to the knowledge economy,” says Andreas Schleicher, head of the education directorate of the OECD, a club of mostly rich countries. “Vocational training has a role, but training someone early to do one thing all their lives is not the answer to lifelong learning.”

To remain competitive, and to give low- and high-skilled workers alike the best chance of success, economies need to offer training and career-focused education throughout people’s working lives. This special report will chart some of the efforts being made to connect education and employment in new ways, both by smoothing entry into the labour force and by enabling people to learn new skills throughout their careers. Many of these initiatives are still embryonic, but they offer a glimpse into the future and a guide to the problems raised by lifelong reskilling.

 

 

Individuals, too, increasingly seem to accept the need for continuous rebooting.

 

 

 

The freelance economy: Top trends to watch in 2017 — from blog.linkedin.com

Excerpt:

Freelancers now account for nearly 35% of the U.S. workforce and the trend is only picking up speed with more professionals opting to create their own jobs in lieu of more traditional full-time employment.

As we head into the new year, we want to shed a bit more light on this burgeoning sector of the workforce. What kind of location, industry and demographic trends are surfacing among the freelance professionals of 2016? You might not know, for example, that a whopping 40% of our freelancers are concentrated in just four states: California, Texas, Florida and New York. Or that more senior men are most likely to take the leap into freelancing.

The time is ripe to be a freelancer in America so we’re revealing insider insights like these to help you learn more about this trending profession. Check out the report below – gleaned from a survey of more than 9,500 of our ProFinder professionals – to see what we discovered.

 

From DSC:
Besides the workforce moving towards the increased use of freelancers, the pace of change has moved from being more linear in nature to more of an exponential trajectory.

 

 

 

Some important questions, therefore, to ask are: 

  • Are our students ready to enter this type of workplace? 
  • Can they pivot quickly?
  • Do they know how to learn and are they ready to be lifelong learners? (Do they like learning enough to continue to pursue it? Peoples’ overall quality of life would be much higher if they enjoyed learning, rather than be forced to do so in order to keep the bread and butter on their tables.)
  • Are they able to communicate in a variety of ways?
  • How are their customer service skills coming along?
  • How are their problem-solving skills coming along?
  • Do they know how to maintain their businesses’ books and do their taxes?
  • Are they digitally literate and do they have an appreciation for the pluses and minuses of technology?

I sure hope so…but I have my serious doubts. That said, many institutions/organizations representing K-12 and higher education are not doing a great job of innovating either. Though there certainly exists some strong pockets of innovation in some of our institutions out there — and the ability to pivot — taken as a whole, our institutions and organizations haven’t been as responsive, nimble, and innovative as our students need them to be.

After all, we are trying to prepare students for their futures (with the externality effect being that we, too, will also be better prepared for that future).

 

 

 

Developing Self-Directed Learners — from blogs.edweek.org by Tom Vander Ark and Emily Liebtag

Excerpt:

High engagement schools start from a different conception: knowledge co-creation and active production. They design a very different learner experience and support it with a student-centered culture and opportunities to improve self-regulation, initiative and persistence–all key to self-directed learning.

Why Does Self-Direction Matter?
Growth of the freelance- and gig-economy makes self-direction an imperative. But it’s also increasingly important inside organizations. David Rattray of the LA Chamber said, “Employees need to change their disposition toward employers away from work for someone else to an attitude of working for myself–agency, self-discipline, initiative, and risk-taking are all important on the job.

Many adults are working in roles where they need to be more independent and efficiently manage their own time often through a series of projects. Employers are looking for candidates that on their own are able to identify a driving question, determine a team they need to help answer that question, able to effectively work with that team, execute and manage the project–through multiple iterations with lots of feedback–and then reflect and evaluate their work. Students should be developing self-direction by learning in the same way.

Where to Start
If you’re a teacher or parent, you can ask good questions rather than provide simple answers; you can help students use a to-do list, develop a personal learning plan and a portfolio of their best work.

If you’re a principal, you can propose advisory period to promote self-direction and other success skills. You can make time in the schedule for more self-directed work. For example, Singapore American School added a makerspace with a genius hour and independent study courses to encourage to pursue self-directed learning.

 

 

 

 

Tech for change – from jwtintelligence.com by Jade Perry

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

At this year’s WIRED conference, technology entrepreneurs were dialed in to how they might tackle world issues.

Over two days of sessions in London, speakers celebrated technology’s latest developments in fields ranging from healthcare to finance, from energy to art. Throughout the event, the notion of ‘humane tech’ emerged to describe the ways in which technology is being used to improve the state of the world. Increasingly, technology startups are harnessing the latest advances, including virtual reality and mobile technologies, to solve societal problems and tackle real issues.

Alexandra Ivanovitch, founder of Simorga, presented the company’s mission to develop VR apps that combat prejudice. The work follows research from BeAnotherLab which demonstrated that racial and gender biases can be reduced using virtual reality. When a user experiences the world as someone else, essentially swapping their body for a different one, empathy increases and bias decreases. Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab has created a similar experience in which participants encounter racism while embodying someone else. The project’s mission is reminiscent of Sandy Speaks, the chatbot that uses artificial intelligence to educate people about the Black Lives Matter movement.

In a world where 26% of countries are described as ‘not free,’ technology is increasingly coming into play to empower citizens.

Another human rights issue that technology can seek to tackle is access to education. With approximately 250 million children globally failing to learn even the basics, there is scope for teaching through a range of technologies.

In addition to social issues and human rights, technology is being used on a broader scale to fight climate change…

Renewable energies that transform the everyday were another key focus.

 

Women of Foresight: Changes in Education for Future Student Success — from leadingthought.us.com by Dr. Liz Alexander

 

 

Excerpt:

Education. A topic that remains hotly debated all over the world. Especially now, as we struggle to find our footing as our futures hurtle towards us, faster and more profoundly different than ever before.

What changes do existing schools and colleges need to make to better prepare students for the trends we already see? Together with those “weak signals” that suggest other, possible futures? In “trying to adapt education for what the American economy is evolving into,” is mandating “coding classes” part of the answer?  Are we doing enough to take into account contrarian perspectives like this one? Who gets to decide what the purpose of education should be, in any case?

These are just some of the questions everyone–from policy makers to parents, academics to students themselves–need to think about.

Intrigued as to what the global futurist and foresight communities might have in mind, I posed them the following question:

If there was one thing I could change in education to better prepare students for the future of work, it would be…

The twenty women that responded to my call are either professional futurists or apply foresight in their roles as leaders in global firms and consultancies, think tanks and foundations. They’re from countries as geographically disperse as Australia, Egypt, Germany, India, New Zealand, Norway, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and United States.

(If you’re wondering why I only asked women, it was a deliberate move to broaden commentary on “our futures,” so people don’t think it’s the sole purview of older, white men. Also, because I believe women’s natural inclinations toward relationships and collaboration, communities and mutual support, are the future!)

 

 

One example/answer:

“…to put more emphasis on HOW students will contribute, rather than WHAT their expertise will be, by helping them answer these three questions:

  • How do I most want to contribute to something larger than myself, aka my ‘mission in life’?
  • In what work environment will I be able to make the meaningful contributions I’m capable of?
  • How do I interact with others? What might derail my ambitions, dreams, and wishes? What can I do about it?”

 

 

 

 

Cultures of Perpetual Learning — by Will Richardson

Excerpts (additional emphasis by DSC):

Over the years, we’ve heard a lot of predictions about what the future of work holds for all of us, not just our kids. It’s interesting now to see some of those predictions actually playing out.

Case in point is this post in the Harvard Business Review that summarizes the Herculean change initiative now underway at AT&T. It’s a fascinating read on it’s own, but it’s even more interesting when you start to align some of the findings to the work of schools. Or maybe more daunting.

The biggest takeaway for me? Professional learning is now the responsibility of the learner. I’ve harped on that for a while now, but AT&T pushes that idea in spades.

 

 

All of this works within a “culture of perpetual learning.” AT&T employees know that their roles will change, on average, every four years. In other words, if you’re not constantly learning, you’re toast.

 

 

From DSC:
Several graphics come to mind (see below).

 

DanielChristian-No-longer-running-sprints--but-marathons

 

 

 

From the HBR article:

Rapidly Shifting Technical Demands
For the past three years, AT&T’s CEO, Randall Stephenson, has been making large strategic bets on a diverse range of wireless technologies—most recently the $63 billion acquisition of satellite television company DirecTV. Asked about the decision to venture into new businesses, John Stankey, the head of AT&T’s Entertainment Group, says, “We have no choice.” Customers are demanding constant connectivity; from 2007 to 2015, for example, data traffic on AT&T’s wireless network grew by more than 150,000%. The company forecasts that by 2020, 75% of its network will be controlled by software-defined architecture. That percentage was virtually zero in 2000. This means, says Stankey, that most of AT&T’s global employees “signed up for a deal that is entirely different from the environment in which their business operates today.”

 

 

ExponentialNotLinearSparksNHoney-Spring2013

 

The pace has changed significantly and quickly

 

The school of the future has opened in Finland — from brightside.me

Excerpt:

Child psychologists have long argued that changing the approach we take to education would help many children learn to love school rather than hate it. We’ve all heard pre-schoolers talk about how they can’t wait to sit at their school desk and run to their next lesson with their rucksack over their shoulder. In fact, we probably remember that feeling of excitement ourselves the first time we went. But right from the first days of school, many children feel a huge sense of disappointment with what they encounter.

At the Saunalahti school in the city of Espoo, Finland, they’ve found a brilliant way to overcome this problem. Starting just with the school building itself, you’d look at it and never think it was a school. Instead, it’s more a like modern art museum – wonderfully light and airy. Experts from VERSTAS Architects made sure they moved well away from the typical dour design for a public school which we all can’t stand…

 

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