THE LEARNING REVOLUTION
The educational system as we know it goes down in history. Changes in teaching methods come into effect before our eyes and their consequences will affect everyone. The sooner we accept this, the greater the benefits we can achieve.
Alvin Toffler, one of the greatest futurologists of the last century, said that the school we know was created to serve the industrial community. It's not exactly about the curriculum. Toffler means a kind of social training... or rather taming.
- We think that children go to school to learn history, mathematics, languages and so on. (...) But this is only a superficial program. (...) In all industrial countries, the hidden aims of the school are common - it teaches punctuality, obedience and routine. These are the customs and patterns of action needed by industrial society. To instill these qualities in students - this is the task of today's school - says Toffler.
The "Third Wave" of changes that he wrote about systematically sinks this industrial model in subsequent economies, thus giving space for the development of a new economic and social reality based on modern technologies. As this process progresses, the anachronism of traditional educational systems becomes more and more visible. That is why Toffler believed that the transition to the next stage of technological civilization will also involve changes in the school's goals. This is because of the change in the way we work.
- In a society of rapid change, it is not possible to deal with work through routine reactions. Man has to be more creative, he has to devise his own reactions to changing situations. And we will have to have schools that will prepare and encourage this kind of behavior. So I think we will have a school revolution, just as we will have a factory revolution. Both of them will more often be a broader revolution, which I call the 'super-industrial revolution' - states Alvin Toffler.
Another American writer and scientist, Isaac Asimov, had similar predictions. He noted that the development of technology would give a new face to education. According to Asimov, the new system would no longer force people to accept knowledge, but instead, encourage them to acquire it. This could happen thanks to the universal access to computers, which would facilitate the acquisition of knowledge. The changes also concern the role of the teacher himself.
- Schools will undoubtedly continue to exist, but a good teacher can do nothing better than to arouse curiosity, which an interested student can then satisfy at home at his computer - Asimov wrote.
Phenomena that once existed only in the imagination of futurologists, today are becoming trends covering an increasing part of the globe. Computers, tablets, and smartphones are already indispensable educational tools. But this is just the beginning. Over time, their use will change - probably students will no longer just use these devices to write essays or create presentations. They will move to a "higher" level of service, learning to communicate with machines using programming languages from an early age. Just look at the growing popularity of programming schools that target their services at children and young people.
Therefore, we will increasingly be moving away from a passive assimilation of information in favor of active interaction with the acquired knowledge. There will be an increased emphasis on the ability to apply the tools and knowledge we learn in practice. Traditional exams will be replaced by credit projects, where students will have to present "tangible" evidence of their skills. Teachers will not be overlooked by the changes. Apart from solid substantive preparation, they will be expected to be much more oriented towards practice than today. The teacher must become a versatile specialist, working on the borderline between education and coaching. Only then will they be able to prepare their pupils for the challenges of existence in such a changing world. As the OECD points out in its study The Future of Education and Skills - Education 2030:
Students will need to apply their knowledge in unknown and evolving circumstances. For this, they will need a broad range of skills, including cognitive and meta-cognitive skills (e.g. critical thinking, creative thinking, learning to learn and self-regulation); social and emotional skills (e.g. empathy, self-efficacy and collaboration); and practical and physical skills (e.g. using new information and communication technology devices).
The market is already responding to these educational needs, providing knowledge in an increasingly flexible and practical way. The Edtech sector, i.e. educational services provided on the basis of new technologies, is one of the fastest-growing branches of the world economy. According to EdTechXGlobal, over the next decade the industry will grow at an average annual rate of 17%, reaching $252 billion in 2020. The potential of the industry can be proved by the current value of global spending on education in general - it is eight times higher than the value of global software production and three times higher than the value of the global media and entertainment industry.
Thinking about education requires a break with existing beliefs and habits. Regardless of whether we think about education in our own context or from the perspective of parents, we should realize that learning has become a continuous, lifelong process. The times when it was possible to prepare once for a profession that would be practiced throughout one's life are gone forever. Many of the jobs in which the youngest generation will work do not yet exist, whereas the jobs that we are currently doing ourselves are constantly evolving. In reality, where change is the only certainty, the constant development of competences is a necessity.