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 eleven and twelve point are:
The school should be the center of the community. When constructed correctly a facility connected to the world should welcome all members of the community to utilize what it has to offer. Lifelong learning is a goal for all members of the community and locking the doors of an educational facilities does not promote this concept. Security is a concern and is normally the reason used by naysayers who find it is easier to lock facilities down. The worthwhile effort to utilize a facility fully will greatly enhance the value of a school. A school that is a safe learning environment for all in the community can be a tremendous asset.
Some areas of the school should be designed so they can be opened to the community without giving interested parties access to the whole of the school. Such areas as a cultural center, stage, and cafeteria, kitchen and gym should be secure and include washrooms and separate entrances. This design will allow each of the areas to be used separately by the community after school hours. Somewhere in the school, a historical record of the School and community should be displayed in pictures or art. The school should reflect the community and also be a central part of the community. To make the community a bigger part of the school requires the administration and educators to be willing to facilitate this. It comes with security issues, costs, and scheduling issues but the benefits should far outweigh the negatives.
The 21 years of age dictated by most departments of education as the cut-off age for interested parties to access high school education free in Canada is not something that should be a boundary in these facilities. Anyone who realistically wishes to complete their high school education should be able to within these new facilities.
The concept of grades should not be applied as rigorously as it is currently done within many educational facilities. A learner should be working at the level at which they can achieve success. Education should work in a step-by-step process that will allow the learner to fulfill all the objectives to achieve graduation at whatever rate fits their current lifestyle and goals. Education should be available to students when they are ready to be educated.
The flexibility of online learning, shared First Nations curriculums, and technology are all elements that will make it easier to create individual programs to meet each unique learner’s cultural and learning needs.
An exploration of the elimination of the grade separation of the students into classrooms is the future of education. Individual programs designed for each of the students might create an educational environment which would better provide the necessary resources and learning that the students require. If this goal is reached the need for classrooms at each grade level will not be necessary and informal learning rooms will be needed. But until such a program is implemented then grade classrooms are needed.
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