Sun, May 16

Keeping pace with ever-changing face of education

Paul Amadio

Paul Amadio

Tomorrow’s world depends on today’s most valuable resources, our children. What a complicated set of issues our children will inherit.

Today, we face the emotional and financial impacts of the COVID pandemic, widespread political division, social justice issues, economic inequality, and climate change, just to name a few.

Adding to the current difficulties, today’s students will need to learn knowledge that hasn’t been discovered yet, preparing for jobs that do not exist, on methods and technologies that have not been developed. 

How do we best prepare today’s students to become tomorrow’s leaders? How do we educate them in a world where even today, 3D printers can build a house in 24 hours, shop at Amazon Retail stores that have 0 employees, eat at a McDonald’s in Phoenix that is run entirely by robots, have robotic surgery that is already more precise than the most-skilled doctors, drive on a highway amongst driverless trucks and cars, and the examples go on and on. 

Having spent my career in schools as a teacher and administrator, my colleagues and I often used a process known as backward mapping/planning design creating learning experiences and instructional techniques to achieve specific learning goals with the aim to engage learners.

Today, educators are asking, “engage them for what and in preparation for what?” Tony Wagner, formerly of the Harvard Graduate School of Education and well-known author on education, thinks the most fundamental questions we have to ask ourselves is, “What is it that we human beings can uniquely do that computers cannot, and how do we best prepare our young people for this new world to develop their fullest capabilities?” 

So, what will the school of the future look like? According to Wagner, “A lot of people think we have a knowledge economy and need knowledge-based workers, but that is not the case any longer. We are in the innovation era.” Want an example? Take out your device (phone, iPad, laptop) and search for … "What started the war of 1812?” If your search looks like mine, in .81 seconds there are over 40 million hits on that question. Education is now a commodity where information is available in a nanosecond.

Education is no longer about demonstrating mastery of dates, facts, and figures, and in fact, “the world no longer cares about what graduates know, the world only cares about what they can do with what they know,” says Wagner.

Over the next few months, I will present the current thinking on future education, how technology will impact future classrooms, and what methods and modalities will engage learners to create global citizens for a better tomorrow.

Paul Amadio is the Head of Verde Valley School in Sedona and a frequent presenter and consultant on non-profit leadership and educational design and planning.

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