Thinking about some challenges for today’s (and future) education
Time goes by very fast and so are the “trends”. Our society is facing a very fast-paced lifestyle, where technology is all around us. For better or for worst, people rely on technology to do everyday tasks (organizing a schedule/calendar, writing, saving personal information, cooking, streaming/downloading/uploading multimedia from Internet, among many others) and current generations are used to it. We do not need to go 10 years in the future from now to identify many challenges that we may be facing in our world and the educational area is the one of those that need to be prepared to face the current (and fast) changes brought by technology.
The 21st Century demands educators with a new mindset: willing to become lifelong learners and innovators. Teaching must become a space of sharing and constructing the skills that are needed today and, also, that will be needed in the future (critical thinking, problem solving, etc.). Educators need to embrace technology as a main ally (but not the solution itself) to enhance the dynamics within and outside of the classroom, making every learning experience unique, relatable and meaningful to the students. Just like Joe Ito and Jeff Howe stated in their book “Whiplash”: technology is not going to wait for us to be ready for its evolution, changes are going to happen even if we are against them (or not prepared for them).
Becoming digital literate citizens will allow educators transform the society, making new generations become critical about the massiveness of content and information they find online. Today’s education has a big challenge since a long time ago: changing traditional instruction, which is totally based on information transmission and memorizing. This is slowly changing, but the majority of experiences that can be seen today, are still modelating this old-fashion way of instruction. The main issue with this, is that in current times, we need more critical citizens instead of living encyclopedias; we do not need people with all the answers, we need people that are able to doubt before reproducing what they are consuming (reading, listening, watching, etc.). We do need digital citizens (see Susan M. Bearden’s book “Digital citizenship: A Community-Based approach”), and, in order to reach this goal, we need to have digital literate educators to model this in our society, that would be one of the main challenges we need to face.