It was an incredible honour yesterday, to hear Dr. Tony Wagner speak about his work in rethinking education for today. Being able to ask my question about how we work with a system that still defines graduates by 2-digit numbers, and ranks them individually, was enlightening and empowering.
I am a huge fan of Dr. Tony Wagner’s work.
On the plane home, I am reading (again) his book, “Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing our Kids for the Innovation Era”. I have shared excerpts from this book before. Today, though, I am intrigued by the ideas on p. 223.
“What does it mean to be an educated adult in the twenty-first century?”
We are entrenched in a digital economy. Time and time again, during the TELL 2016 conference, presenters expressed their frustration with how unaware educators seem to be with how fast change is happening.
Computers can now learn for themselves. In January 2016, a computer beat a professional GO player. This is orders of magnitude more significant than “Deep Blue” beating Kasparov at chess, and Watson beating Ken Jennings at Jeopardy!
Driverless cars are a reality, and $20.00 per hour jobs to ride in them are old news. Canada will be short 182000 people able to work in the digital economy by 2019 – essentially two years from now. Robots are, right now, replacing large numbers of standardized workers. Walmart is replacing warehouse workers with drones this fall. We have a crisis looming. Robots are replacing every paid position that is standardized.
TELL2016 presenter Carl Bull suggested that as comfortable educators, quite able to pay our mortgages, it is arrogant of us to ignore the reality that we have no idea how our students will achieve the same standard of living.
I deeply question why we continue to hire leaders and decision-makers in education who have no understanding of digital technologies. I wonder why the qualification courses our leaders are required to take have little mention of the importance of technology for learning.
I wonder why digital professional portfolios are seen as an “unfair advantage” instead of a non-negotiable part of the application process for leadership positions.
This week I saw many principals presenting at TELL2016, desperately working to create the compelling case for change.
I wonder who is listening.
I wonder when we will finally see that the vast array of digital competencies are essential for leaders, in this public education system tasked with preparing our youth to thrive in a digital world that many education leaders cannot even imagine.
Featured image by Dean Shareski CC-BY-NC-2.0
Innovative leadership is needed by Tom Whitby
And a Key to the Future by David Culberhouse