Education: Reboot or Rewrite?
Is Education in need of a reboot or a total rewrite? What's not in question is the need to modernise. A rewrite would require a deconstruction and reassembly of a system creaking at the seams. Would it even be possible? It certainly seems that in its current iteration Edu 1.0 or, if you're lucky Edu 2.0, is unable to cope with the current monumental advancements in technology. It's probably a good time to explain the 3.0 thing.
Education 1.0: Let's start here. Traditional education model. Rows of desks, rows of bored students, teacher is the font of all knowledge. Look, listen to me and 'learn'. Little to no scope for self-directed learning or creativity. Think 1900's. Focuses heavily on rote learning and standardised testing. Stressful for teachers. Perfect for clerical jobs and accountancy. Very popular during the industrial revolution. One size fits all approach. Still available in many schools today.
Education 2.0: Teacher still the font of all knowledge, but with the addition of technology such as laptops and iPads in student's hands. More scope for self-directed learning and creativity (if allowed by the teacher). Very popular in the 2000's, leapt upon by big tech companies, often requiring huge investment to keep upgrading. Equipment becoming obsolete after a few years forcing student around the world to utter the phrase, "it's glitching' or why's it taking so long to boot up!'. Often shoved into teacher's hands without proper training. Can be stressful for them, students love it.
Education 3.0: Decentralised learning through technology such as web 3.0 and hybrid classroom models of learning. Lessons taking place in the virtual world and the physical classroom, experts in the field supporting teachers with content. Focus on creativity, self directed learning, and leveraging technology in all forms. The ability to learn anywhere, anytime from anyone. Perfect for 'micro schools' with the ability to move quickly and adapt to technology changes. For example, a classroom of students in Australia or Mexico speaking to a Sherpa in Nepal from a virtual classroom. Perhaps students learning about Bees inside a virtual beehive, being able to speak to a Beekeeper from another country (yep, were doing that). CURRENTLY DOES NOT SUPPORT EDUCATION 1.0!
Ok, that was a little tongue in cheek, but hopefully you get the idea. So lets look at some tech examples. Take the recent emergence of A.I content creation tools. ChatGPT sent Education Departments into a tailspin of knee jerk reactions and blanket bans. All the while Microsoft was implementing it into the very system we're all expected to use, Teams. Valuing it at $39 billion! There is a disconnect here. Education is just not ready. It moves like a super tanker. Without change, in its current form, it is fast becoming obsolete. You can fix broken. You have to replace obsolete!
I'm in a somewhat unique position. As a classroom teacher and an education consultant, I get to view the field from both sides. My consultant role is to guide schools and educators on how to use technology to make their classrooms relevant engaging spaces to learn in. The other side of my job, as a classroom teacher, means I'm on the front lines. Teaching students while I'm teaching teachers, and here is where the worlds collide.
Collide might be a strong word, perhaps grate against one another like tectonic plates. Quite apt considering there is seismic change happening. I work within the frame work of Education 3.0. To facilitate this I've been working with Web 3 tech, Virtual Worlds and A.I for the last year. I creating the EDUmetaverse and honed a model of teaching and learning in virtual spaces called 'The Hybrid Classroom'. All of which came about during lockdown. When we couldn't go to classes I watched Zoom 'lessons' where the students were savy enough to film animated gifs of themselves and then leave for the day! Something had to change. No ones fault, Education just wasnt ready.
Utimately the issue is that you cannot fit Edu1.0 into Edu 3.0, in the future I fear that this is what schools will try and do. We're already ahead of the curve, and I say that without any sense of showmanship or bravado. I know how much work it took to get to where we are now! I also know that what students are getting is an Education that will give them a fighting chance in the future. We must evolve, to stand still is to stagnate, to stagnate will be fatal. I don't get to make the changes, but if decision makers are listening, you need to move now!
Andrew Wright - Owner and Lead consultant of EDUmetaverse. www.edumetaverse.com.au The EDUmetaverse is built by teachers, for teachers.