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When the Maths won't work.

Yes, I know this will probably stir up some people and cause conniptions among traditionalists, but let's be fair; we are way beyond that. A little disruption is a good thing, right? So, let's talk education. Normally, in maths, 1 into 3 goes easily. Not so in education. I'm talking about Education versions 1, 2, and 3. I've written about this before in another post, but to summarise quickly, let me explain.

Education 1.0 is probably how most of us learnt. Look at the teacher, listen to the teacher, absorb what the teacher is saying, and, in my case, drift off and look out the window. This method worked great for accountants and factory workers. Education 2.0 introduced tech to classrooms. If done well, it was very effective. If implemented poorly, it was often damaging. Teachers with no training and students taking advantage of teachers with no training. Often hijacked by big corporations who made A LOT of money. Education 3.0 was on the cards even before AI and VR smashed their way into the world. Flexible, quick-paced and, again, if done right, effectively allowing the students to learn anywhere, anytime, from anyone. This opened up learning through technology and effective classroom implementation. Note: You do not need to throw the baby out with the bathwater!

As well as a consultant I'm still a teacher. When I'm in the class, or working with other teachers, I know the reality is that it's a lot harder to implement than it seems. Especially if you are working in Education 1.0. It's easy to say we should all be hurtling towards the 3.0 model. Here's the kicker: it is not possible. I don't think you can fit Education 1.0 into Education 3.0, not effectively. They are not compatible. It's like trying to run a 3.5 floppy disk on a solid-state drive. You can try and shoehorn them in, but you'd probably end up pleasing no one and creating a monster. Technology drives 3.0, but it doesn't replace the teacher; they work seamlessly together to enhance, engage, and transform classrooms. Education 1.0 is still "anaesthetising our students" at a time when they should be creating, designing, innovating, and inspiring each other. You cannot do that with a worksheet!

I think (and this really will tip people over the edge) the issue lies at the heart of what we see as "success" for our schools. If the criteria for a successful school is based on standardised testing results and how well your students can do cursive script (let me know if you can think of one job that REQUIRES you to write a page of A4), you will struggle to implement 2.0, let alone 3.0. Before everyone loses their mind, I'm not advocating we scrap maths and literacy by "throwing the baby out with the bathwater!". Key skills will always be key skills. We must, however, offer students an education that reflects not only the world they live in but the world they are going to be working in. Make it relevant for them. How many times do you hear people say, "I never use half of what I learnt at school"? Maybe that's the half we should focus on. Here's where I think we will see the rise of the 'micro school'. They will be able to pivot on the spot and reachout to technology, without being hamstrung by complicated decision making processes and red tape.

The rise of ChatGPT and artificial intelligence will force the issue; watch this space! Teachers, schools, and education departments will no longer be able to bury their heads in the sand. Assessments will change, rote learning is already dead, and if you think your students aren't using ChatGPT because you banned it, you're dreaming. I know that for many teachers it's daunting and overwhelming, they already have more on their plate than they can handle. This is why we should be teaching and training them to use this technology. Halving workloads and giving them back their passion. I think this is the most exciting time to be in education. I go to work everyday, either to the classroom or building something for it. I feel energised and driven because I see the effects of 3.0 firsthand. It is electric, like someone plugged the students into the mains. The future is bright, sometimes scary, but above all, it must be accessible to them.

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