“…every single day people use technology to create opportunities…There are 90 million small businesses that use Facebook…the vast majority for free. This makes Facebook one of the largest job creation platforms in the world and a really important driver of economic growth in local communities…” Sheryl Sandberg, COO Facebook
With the ongoing shift from paper to digital and from traditional classrooms and lecture halls to more flexible learning environments with big and small activity and learning spaces, blended learning approaches are improving learner engagement and learning outcomes.
In the interconnected Internet Age, with digital workplaces, digital homes and digital cars, the challenge and the opportunity is not preparing students for some distant future but enabling students to become more active and productive participants in team and individual learning projects now, using browser-based digital devices.
The aim is to balance access via connected digital devices with the mediating power of human cognition and imagination.
Digital learning platforms
“Bottom line: how we educate our kids needs to radically change, given the massive potential of exponential tech, e.g. artificial intelligence and virtual reality…And we’re now seeing countless new players enter the classroom, from a Soul Machines AI teacher specializing in energy use and sustainability, to smart ‘lab schools’ with personalized curricula.” Dr Peter H Diamandis, Singularity University
Innovative and disruptive times demand innovation and disruption in terms of educational pedagogy and digital learning platforms.
It is no longer sufficient for learning places to be built out of books, paper and whiteboards. The experience of learning itself as being profoundly changed by immersive technology.
After writing was invented humans went from completely relying on memory to be able to consult captured information. Machine-assisted learning exploration is providing new cognitive tools. With the growth of platforms like YouTube, users are developing visual mind sets.
The promise of lifelong personalised learning pathways is increasingly being turned into practice, with alternative learning and assessment providers leading the way in opening new pathways for different types of learners.
The challenge is for learners to become increasingly more autonomous and powerful in shaping their own learning and career destinies, in partnership with responsive educators.
Learning Resources-Search me
“Surfing the web is time-consuming. When information is infinite, individual pieces of information are worth nothing.” Charles Kuen Kao, Noble Laureate in Physics-for fibre optic research which paved the way for the internet
Teachers and learners have unprecedented access to a wide range of stimulating learning resources, many on quality attested sites. Sophisticated search tools enable the burden of searching for appropriate learning vignettes and knowledge sharing to be spread among learners, with teachers acting as knowledge navigators the educational equivalent of Shackleton’s Kiwi navigator Frank Worsley
It also allow the digital banking of learning artefacts and promotes sharing with colleagues. There are abundant digital pearls of information (but not ipso facto wisdom) already available, which don’t have to be cultivated from scratch, but simply re-threaded and re-purposed.
From consumption to production
“Ideas that would have previously would have only lived in the printed word…may now find better expression in the app, the blog, the game and the website.” Michael Lascarides
“Digital natives” who grew up with digital technologies may be very competent with social media, but research suggests they may not have practical work-ready or tertiary-ready digital skills, such as word processing and spreadsheets.
A UK report by Barclays identified a new emerging divide; new workplace entrants (aged 16-24) appear less skilled than their older but less ‘digitally native’ counterparts (aged 25-34). This could be because the younger generation of workers knew how to consume digital content, but had not yet learned how to produce it.
21st Century Skills
“… 65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t yet exist.” World Economic Forum report The Future of Jobs
Digital inclusion is not just good for individuals but for the economy.
The 2016 WEF report pointed out that the ability to identify and prepare for present and future skills requirements is increasingly critical for education and training organisations, businesses and individuals, both to seize the opportunities and to mitigate undesirable outcomes. The OECD’s Learning2030 framework builds on this ad other initiatives.
21st century skills comprise skills, abilities, and learning dispositions that have been identified as being required for success in 21st-century society and workplaces. They are complementary to basic building block knowledge and skills like literacy and numeracy, not substitutes.
Specific hard skills and soft skills sets are in increasingly high demand. There is a growing emphasis on critical thinking and problem solving, communications and collaboration, creativity and innovation, digital literacy and career and life skills, with an emphasis on flexibility and adaptability, initiative and cross-cultural interaction.
Far from “dumbing down” education many of the 21st-century skills are also associated with deeper learning based on mastering skills such as analytic reasoning and complex problem-solving. The focus is not on content for its own sake. The test is understanding why and demonstrating how, not regurgitating what.
The sequence is the secret. The most effective learning comes from a parallel process of knowing and doing.
This reinforces the case for humanities in the era of AI. Curiosity, creativity and empathy are a key part of the innovative process
A host of homegrown innovative tech firms like Rocket Lab, Soul Machines, Vend, Trineo, Seequent, Robotics Plus and RedShield Security have established high value-added niches on the world stage with unique products and services.
Small and agile networked organizations connect people, know-how and ideas at an ever faster pace. Increasingly value creation has migrated from what we can see (physical assets) to intangibles (ideas and attributes that define products or services).