Australia perth - 04 - v1


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Australia perth - 04 - v1

  1. 1. Faces of the School of the Future Eduardo O C Chaves Coordinator, UNESCO Chair of Education and Human Development at the Ayrton Senna Foundation Member, International Advisory Council of Microsoft’s Partners in Learning
  2. 2. Technology • Technology, if broadly understood, is whatever human beings invent to make life easier or more pleasurable • Some inventions involve the creation of hardware (tools, implements, equipments, etc.) • Others involve the creation of software (notations & languages, procedures & algorithms, methods & techniques, etc.) • The technologies that most affect education have to do with information and communication (ICT)
  3. 3. Technology and Change • Technology development always brings change in the way we view and do things, i.e., in culture • Four revolutions in information & communication technology (ICT): • The invention of conceptual language • The invention of alphabetical writing (Socrates!!!) • The invention of movable type printing • The invention of computers and digital technology • Each has brought about important cultural and social changes - which deeply affected education
  4. 4. Technology, Change and Education • Inventions such as these do not produce change in education directly: change is always mediated • They trigger it by changing culture and society – which then slowly force education to change • Until the 16th century, education was basically a very conservative force in society: it sought to preserve the culture of a society by carefully transmitting it from one generation to another • This worked fine, when change was scarce, piecemeal and very slow…
  5. 5. The Protestant Reformation • The Protestant Reformation changed all that… • But remember: the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century would not have taken place if it were not for the invention of the printing press! • The reformers, especially Luther & Calvin, were pioneers in seeing how education could become a strong transformative, even revolutionary, force • Because of their work, education was radically changed in the 16th century (that is the beginning of “Progressive Education”)
  6. 6. The Fourth Revolution • Computers & digital technologies have, in the past 25 years, drastically changed the way we: • Access information • Communicate • Do business • Work • Have fun • Enter personal relations • Make friends • Manage our love life • All these changes are basically changes in our culture (Drucker: our age is the 2nd Renaissance) • Technology changes society by changing culture (i.e., the way we view and do things…)
  7. 7. The Fourth Revolution and Education • It is virtually inconceivable that all these changes will leave education & learning unaffected • And if the way we learn and the way we educate ourselves changes, schools themselves will have eventually change – or else become obsolete in pedagogical terms (i.e., irrelevant in terms of its impact on education & learning) • (By the way: I say education & learning because education is inextricably tied to learning – not to teaching…)
  8. 8. How Change is Brought About in Schools • And yet, the mere introduction of technology into schools will not necessarily change them • Schools will only change when the changes that technology brings about in our culture and in our society make it absolutely necessary to find a new way of viewing education & learning – and the role of schools and technology in promoting education & learning • That time is now and our challenge is not to learn to use technology, but to use technology to learn
  9. 9. Scharffenberger’s “Three S’s” • Technology can be brought into schools to: • Sustain what is already being done there • Supplement what is being done there • Subvert what is done there • The first strategy is the way of conservation, the second, the way of reform, and the third, the way of revolution • How we bring technology into schools depends on how we stand in relation to the quality of the education that is offered in these schools
  10. 10. Negroponte’s Law • If we perceive the quality of schools as excellent, we will be unwilling to change them – much less change them radically (conservation) • If we perceive the quality of schools as good, we will be willing to change them – IF we are certain that the contemplated changes will improve them (reform) • If we perceive the quality of schools as very bad, we are often willing to risk and accept radical change, even if results are uncertain (revolution – that leads to real transformation)
  11. 11. Greg Butler’s Principle • The best time to change is when you (still) don’t need to…
  12. 12. The Hour is Now • Even for good schools, the time to change is now • Change must not be merely reformative • Change needs to be radical and transformative • Change has to be fought in the field of ideas • We must (the “Three R’s”): • reconceive education • redefine learning • and so reinvent schooling • If technology is brought into schools before we change our mindset, it will eventually subvert the present educational paradigm
  13. 13. The Traditional View of Education • Education has up to now been generally viewed as a process by means of which one generation of society transmits to the next its knowledge and traditions (its way of viewing things), its arts and techniques (its way of doing things), its values (its way of deciding what is important)… • Its objective has been to maintain the legacy that it believes makes up and identifies that society • The focus has been mostly on the legacy, i.e., on what needs to be transmitted, so that the future will be basically like the past (problem of identity)
  14. 14. A New Concept of Education • Education is needed, not to reproduce society, but to allow the human individual to develop • The individuals of some animal species are born basically ready for life (sea turtles, e.g.) • We are born totally incompetent and absolutely dependent – as if prematurely, “unready” for life • But we have an advantage: our “programming” is basically open, we are not totally “hard-wired” • And we are born with an incredible capacity to learn: and education is our software!
  15. 15. Education as Human Development • Education is the process through which humans develop, from the incompetent and dependent beings we are at birth into adults that are both autonomous and competent (both are needed) • We will be autonomous if we become capable of freely defining a project for our lives • We will be competent if we become capable of transforming that project into a reality • Education is the software that can make us both autonomous and competent adults
  16. 16. Learning • Learning, therefore, is not the same as absorbing and retaining information (see Peter Senge) • To learn is to become capable of doing things that we were unable to do before • And we learn to do things by trying to do them, making mistakes, receiving help and support, trying again, until we are capable of doing them • Learning is an active process: it involves doing things (even if the doing is mental) • And learning is collaborative (co-labor-active)
  17. 17. Learning and Education • A truism: it is the learner that does the learning • Others can help us learn (both in person, through “teaching”, and virtually, through books, recorded talks, videos, computers, etc.), but the learning is – or isn’t – ours alone • Others inevitably do participate in our education, but not as our “educators” • Paulo Freire caught this dialectic well when he said:
  18. 18. A Lesson from Paulo Freire • No one educates another… (education is clearly not analogous to banking: a matter of transferring funds from one account to another!) • But nor does one educate himself alone… • We educate one another as we collaboratively try to learn how to live our lives, “in communion”, in a complex and often unjust world • And that begins with choosing which life we want for ourselves (defining a life project)
  19. 19. The Old School… • Had a curriculum that contained the information people were supposed to know in each of the basic disciplines (subject matters) • Decided that teachers were supposed to teach (i.e., present, deliver) this content to students (teachers = content specialists and presenters) • Assumed that students learned by being quiet and paying attention to what their teachers said • Assumed that students would one day develop interests for which this content would be relevant
  20. 20. The Context of this School • Information was scarce and access to it difficult • Values were stable and believed to be universal • One lived most of his life where he was born • Contact with the “external world”, by travel and by communication, was minimal • The future was foreseeable: one knew the kind of person he would marry, the kind of job he would have, the kind of life he would live • There was not much talk about people defining a life project, “inventing their future”, etc.
  21. 21. The Faces of the School of the Future • The School of the Future, existing in a world made global by technology, is anything but local • Through technology its students will have access to information stored anywhere at any time and instantly communicate with anybody anywhere • It will need to be integrated with the community and the home because students will want (sic!) to learn anytime, anywhere, all the time… • But their learning will be personalized, and have its focus on their interests (life projects)
  22. 22. The Curriculum of the School of the Future • Its curriculum is not a grid of subject matters and series (academic disciplines and grades) • Its curriculum is a matrix of competencies, both flexible and rich, with the various competencies that students will need to develop in order to transform their diverse life projects into reality • The construction of competencies will draw upon disciplinary and other knowledge as needed • There are several different criteria for organizing competencies (and so building the matrix)
  23. 23. The Program of Study of Each Student • There is no reason why the program of study of every student should be the same: students are different, have different interests and talents, learn in different ways and want to learn different things • A given student does not have to develop every competency in the curriculum: only those that are necessary or important for transforming his life project into reality
  24. 24. Teaching and Teachers • In the School of the Future there is no “teaching” and “teachers” – in the common understanding of these terms • The focus is on students defining, planning and then implementing their own learning projects • The function of present teachers is to advise, to orient, to coach, to mentor, to facilitate learning (by watching & listening, giving feedback, asking challenging questions, calling attention to issues and neglected aspects, instigating curiosity…)
  25. 25. Methodology: Pedagogy of the Question • In the traditional school, the teacher knows the answers and tells them to the students • If students are allowed to ask questions, it is only to give teachers an occasion to answer them • This “Pedagogy of the Answer” (Paulo Freire) ends up killing curiosity, initiative, and autonomy • In the School of the Future teachers & students alike should be asking instigating questions and then looking for ways of answering them • This is the essence of problem-centered inquiry and project-based learning
  26. 26. Methodology: Learning Projects • Learning projects can be context-bound (“just in time”), short (“just enough”), practical (“how to”) • But they must always be “embedded” in the life project of each student and “hands on” • In learning projects the traditional boundaries between learning, work and fun become quite fluid • And the greatest and most difficult challenge of conventional schooling is easily met: motivation
  27. 27. The Key to Success • The key to success in work and learning is not to motivate ourselves to do things we do not like or learn things we are not interested in • The key to success in work lies in finding things we enjoy doing and then inventing (true!) ways of making a living with them… • The key to success in learning lies in identifying things that catch our interest and trigger our curiosity and then finding ways of developing our competencies by learning them…
  28. 28. Technology as Tool and Toy • Technology is whatever human beings invent to make life easier or more pleasurable • Some of our technology is tool; some is toy… • Tools help us sustain our lives, to keep on living • But it is our toys that give us a reason for wishing to keep on living • Perhaps the key for understanding the “digital generation” - the “digital natives” - lies in realizing that for them technology is both tool and toy…
  29. 29. Education and Happiness • The end of education is our own development • Since we never stop developing until we die, our learning has no end: that is the meaning of “life long education” • In the long run, education is nothing other than “the pursuit of happiness”: the creation, for each of us, individually, and of all of us, collectively, of a life that fulfills our deepest aspirations
  30. 30. Eduardo O C Chaves