Imagine if you could toss out all of the traditional thinking and methodologies of education and schools. Then, from scratch, develop a new education system that is designed from the ground up to be relevant to the needs of the world today and in the future.
There are a myriad of things that are wrong with the current school system today. We teach with a focus on textbooks and memorization, which lacks a connection with the real world. We teach content that is traditionally measurable, ones that can be graded or compared against some average, while reducing the amount of time to play and explore.
Schools should help its students become the best version of themselves. Although the intention is there, many schools of today are not succeeding. Instead, many schools and education systems follow a century old factory system that was initially designed to create capable automatons. These schools are used to filter kids into different buckets for higher education and future jobs, where although they are provided knowledge, they are also told what they are not good at because of an expectation to succeed in the content assigned to them, regardless of their curiosity and interest.
One way the filtering is being done is through grades. Grades are assigned for tasks that students perform and if the tasks are done well, then a higher grade is given. The grades do not necessarily reflect ability or potential. It’s really all about following directions. Students who can test out with A’s are ones that will be capable of following orders very, very well. The ones that test out with B’s are one’s that are slightly less likely to follow orders all the way, but still follow the general path that is required. Student’s with C’s and below tend to be the trouble makers who are more disruptive and will need to be kept on a tighter leash.
This schooling system made sense in the past few centuries when the world was expanding rapidly and the industrial revolution was happening. We needed a lot of people to have the same skills and essentially be human robots to the industries that we’re being developed. Accounting, administrative work, and basic arithmetic were all absolutely necessary in a functioning society before computers.
But that is changing. The future does not look like it did in the 20th century. Automation will make repetitive jobs less repetitive. Machine learning will make automation smarter. We will gradually move closer to robots and computer systems that can replicate different tasks that used to require a human to do. And it will be happen fast.
So what are humans good for in the future ahead? Humans will need to play the role of what we call the ‘human touch’, or in other words, communication. Humans will be solely in charge of getting ideas across to others. Sharing ideas, collaborating to create new ideas, passing on ideas, all of this will be done by humans. Schools for the future should be focused on how to do this better rather than the memorization of textbooks and formulas. Schools for the future is all about communication and how to connect with the world around us.
I believe one of the keys to the future of humanity is in education and the direction that education is taking around the world is, to say the least, disappointing. I think we can do better, and to do that, we need better ideas, and thens someone to test and implement those ideas.
There are a four central ideas I want to present in this book.
The first section describes the importance of a new core curriculum that focuses on soft skills rather than hard skills, centering schooling on human skills rather than computer skills.
The second section dives into technologies and methodologies that we can leverage to enhance education in the 21st century.
The third section explores general curriculum design and how to connect the academia and the real world.
The four section digs into developing the school as a holistic community center of learning. A successful education does not end when students leave the school and it is known that the community is one of the most important indicators of an individual’s success during education. It is absolution critical that schools become not only a place for children, but also a place for adults to grow.