As an educational consultant, I try to predict the future and make sure that we design our schools and prepare our students for this future. As said by others, it is a future that we have no idea what it is going to be like. So, how can one effectively predict and prepare without accurate knowledge? Work with what we know. We are not in a factory era; we are in an information era. We need to teach students how to answer questions, not content. The information age presents way too much information to try to learn it all. Students need to be equipped with skills that will allow them to find the answers to anything they want to know.
There are twelve points every educational institution and educator must understand to continue to be effective in the future.
The seven and eight point are:
Computer Labs Conversion
Computer labs in the schools need to be converted into digital production space. In the information age students need space to create, consume, remix and share material with each other and across the world. Students today are “interpersonal, logical, special, intrapersonal, musical, linguistic, naturalist and body-kinesthetic learners. Educators needed to incorporate the authentic learning characteristics of the real-world relevance of active learning. The quick adoption of social networking by the youths of the world both surprised and frightened the educational systems and have resulted in a banning of many of the Web2.0 tools in schools. Educators who use the current web tools create a learning environment and community which reflects the reality of the students living in the information age. Creation of a connected learning environment is dynamic and motivating in worldly variation.
A digital production space would be very beneficial to the upper grades by allowing them to do active learning. The educators will require training to assist the students in becoming the interpersonal, logical, special, intrapersonal, musical, linguistic, naturalist and body-kinesthetic learners. The tools that the internet and computers provide allow students a variety of mediums and techniques to create and share their works, interests, and passions with the world. A well-trained instructor can show the students how to prepare themselves to utilize the best of what the internet has to offer and protect themselves from the worst. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and other social networking sites are all a reality which can be great for digital sharing, but they also come with many pitfalls. It is not acceptable to ban students from these sites and hope that if and when they get on them in their private life they will be able to navigate safely in them. It is the school’s job to educate, and these sites are part of the students’ world now and in the future. It will require training for students to be aware and control their digital footprint in the world.
Today’s children have new needs, new capabilities, new capacities; they are significantly different in nature from children born before the existence of the 'wired' world. The “wired” students are accustomed to having personal interest information at their fingertips and like the challenge of lifelong learning. Creating a lifelong learner is the new goal of twenty-first-century education and can only be achieved by an educator who shares the lifelong learner characteristic. We must all develop the aptitudes and dispositions of lifelong learning if we are to thrive in our dynamic and pluralistic age.
Using the internet is akin to teaching in the largest library in the world. The internet is just a click of the mouse away. The sage on the stage and the book library of the past pales next to the vastness of the internet resources. It allows teachers to remove themselves from being the focus of the education and allows the students (learners) to be the center of the process. The learners can actively participate in thinking and discussing ideas while making meaning for themselves. The content, instruction and assignments effectively delivered via digital devices will naturally changes the teacher’s role to more of a guide.
The library should be repurposed into a resource room for a one to one tablet program. For approximately the same cost of a well stocked K-12 library, a Kindle for each student with a subscription to Kindle Unlimited would give the students access to 800,000 titles on Amazon for 9.99 a month per student. The other uses of a tablet will give the student access to other websites other than Amazon. The Library should include charging stations and resource rooms for educational tutoring. The change of purpose of the library will require a trained information processing person who can facilitate a tablet program. A well-designed program will help a school become paperless as it can be used to share daily notices, assignment, grades, and other administrative information.
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