UNESCO’s Future of Education Contest
A global initiative titled Future of Education is seeking to rethink the role and purpose of education. Its goal is to mobilize collective intelligence, foster debate, and reimagine education for the 21st century. To achieve this goal, UNESCO has launched the Futures of Education, a year-long contest that will begin in 2020. Read on to learn more about what this contest means for education. And join the debate:
Future of education will involve re-envisioning the spaces where learning takes place
The World of Education has changed in less than 200 years. It was once the domain of test results, grades, and attendance. Today, the world is more complex and multifaceted, with a plethora of pandemic needs that go beyond school. Parents and educators alike need new ways to support their children, both at school and at home. One innovative workaround is Kidappolis, an app that helps parents stay involved in their children’s education through SMS updates.
The transformation would begin with re-imagining learning spaces. In addition to multiple physical and virtual environments, learning would include individual and group work, flexible pedagogy, and personalized content and experiences. Schools would become hubs for collaborative learning, leveraging the strength of communities to deliver personalized learning experiences to their students. But how will this transformation occur? What kind of changes are necessary to make the transformation a reality?
It will be structured around projects, not processes
In the future, the work structure of schools and universities will be built around projects, not processes. The goal is to blur the traditional lines between learning and work and to teach topics holistically rather than as discrete parts. For example, students could write stories instead of writing about them or design a boat. Such teaching is referred to as “phenomenon-based learning,” and emphasizes critical thinking, creativity and communication skills.
It will be personalized
Personalization in education will not be solely about technology. Rather, students will work independently on projects that match their interests, with the help of an adult who invests in knowing them well. This version of personalization is less dramatic and more prevalent than some might imagine. Math software programs like Khan Academy and McGraw-Hill’s ALEKS are perfect examples of this trend. While it’s easy to see how personalized learning could benefit students, teachers are still hesitant to implement this approach in their classrooms.
Many districts have adopted a form of proficiency-based learning, which shares many elements with personalized learning. Unlike traditional teaching, this system encourages learners to develop their own learning paths and to take responsibility for their own progress. Personalized learning programs also encourage students to develop valuable traits, including creativity, critical thinking, and self-efficiency. These traits are not necessarily core competency areas in most schools today. Instead, they are necessary for successful education.
It will involve connecting students and teachers from all over the world
With the advent of technology, education will become more personalized and more individualized. Students will no longer be bound by one model of learning, and teachers will become facilitators, not gatekeepers. They will be empowered to innovate, take risks, and seize opportunities. Teachers of the future will be data analysts, planners, synthesizers, and problem-solvers, as opposed to lecturers.
Using interactive tools, like video games, is another way to capture student attention and increase their learning. A school program for game development is transforming education. Teachers are now using games like Guitar Hero to engage students in the curriculum. Other innovative methods include using Google maps to conduct literature research, and using the Wii for physical education. VoiceThread and ePals, which enable peer communication with native speakers, will connect students with one another. Students will have access to virtual characters through augmented reality.
It will involve human interpretation of data
A growing number of students are embracing the technology of the future, which makes the role of teachers and curriculum more vital than ever before. While we’re currently immersed in a time of data analytics and artificial intelligence, the future of education will involve human interpretation of data. As we become increasingly dependent on our computers for all aspects of our daily lives, manual math skills will become a thing of the past. With these innovations, computers will soon be handling data analysis, trend prediction, and statistical analysis. Human interpretation of data will play a much larger role in future curricula, and will become an essential part of this new mathematics literacy.