At some point or another, we all have desired a revamp of the education system. A survey conducted by Elon University with more than 1000 thought leaders, showed the hyper connectivity of today’s world may be leading to a lack of patience and concentration; and that an ‘always on’ ethos is encouraging a culture of expectation and instant gratification.
Concern is that new social and economic divisions will emerge as those who are motivated and well-schooled reap rewards that are not matched by those who fail to master new media and tech literacies. This accelerates the need for reinvention of public education, to balance the skills and help learners avoid some of the obvious pitfalls of a hyper connected lifestyle.
Not a new argument, the Internet has necessiated a revolution in education as a system; it is striking to see the idea expressed by so many experts, across so many fields.
“We need to adopt the approach already taken in many professions of clearly articulating what students are supposed to know and be able to demonstrate at various levels of educational attainment, and create accreditation standards and metrics that reflect it. This would put real teeth in the assessment of student learning outcomes by putting consequences on not doing it well, as well as put the focus on where the content comes from and its quality assurance that underlies the knowledge/competence we expect students to acquire,” says John C. Cavanaugh, Chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education
The experts predict that the most desired life skills will be
- public problem-solving through cooperative work (crowdsourcing);
- the ability to search effectively for information online;
- the ability to distinguish the quality and veracity of online discoveries;
- the ability to synthesize, or combine facts and details from different sources into coherent narratives;
- the ability to concentrate; and
- the ability to distinguish between the signal and the noise as the information we are exposed to gets bigger, and broader, and more plentiful.
All these skills can be taught; the question is whether these will be taught in school or outside of it.