When it comes to the Future of Learning three basic cornerstones are the principles of making it happen.
1 Learn Beyond Borders
I strongly believe in Don Tapscott’s vision of the future learner: “It’s not what you know that counts, it’s what you can learn.” Learning itself has become the key factor and no longer just the knowledge you collected along the way. Cross the boundaries of your comfort zone once in a while. Explore, experience learning styles other than the ones you use. Chances are big that you will have to learn all the way through your economical active life. Consider learning as a tool, an efficient way to enrich yourself and your environment. Finally you will end up creating your very own eco learning system that opens up for new things to learn in the way you want it and not according someone else’s plan. Make it one of your passions and excel in it. Let no border stop you!
Teachers, work on learning gain instead of rather collecting points. Leave that stress making and needless scoring behind. Forget about the average pupil: he never existed and never will. Tell the childrens’ parents that you praise the way their children pick up knowledge and that they accomplish great things in that way. Cross that border, teacher, and don’t miss the future.
2 Embrace diversity
If you have children you know that there are unique. Your friends ar too. In fact do you know anyone who is just like you in everything you learn and do? You can have the same taste and like to drink the same cocktails but that’s too shallow. Being diverse is natural and logical. So why do schools still strife for the holy grail of conformity? Teachers are trained to do so, even now in 2015. It’s not hard to see that diversity is an enrichment rather than a hassle. Use the diversity to offer personalized learning and strife for maximal learning impact. Challenge the pupils rather than punishing or discouraging them by pushing the same content at the same moment to all pupils in the same way regardless if they’re ready or not, regardless their learning preferences, regardless of their learning history. The best example of ignoring all of this is ‘the test’. I will elaborate on that in another article.
‘Everyone must be treated equally’ and ‘the law applies to everyone’ will no longer exist in the future of learning. These humiliating principles should be erased forever because ignoring the diversity is ignoring the pupil. Look at diversity as a liberation of education. Close the gap not between pupils but between themselves. The ‘No Child Left Behind‘ act aims for conformity. No, advisors to Obama, you’ve got it fundamentally wrong. It’s not about dragging lesser pupils as ballast along the way and trying to get them to meet the expectations of conformity and compare them to results of others. It’s all about helping pupils to be creative with their own learning eco system. Don’t miss out on this opportunity.
In my honest opinion schools have one major purpose: give the pupil control over its own learning processes and use content as a means. As a principal I saw a bright pupil in primary flunk in secondary education because he didn’t learn how to learn. He had no ‘system’ and because of that he felt a wrongdoing. He was lost and had no grip at all. The parents’ disappointment was big and even more the pupil felt that he could not meet its parents’ expectations. When I met him years later he still felt a bit angry and I couldn’t agree more. He never learned to mobilize what he knew concerning his learning. Studying in an environment crammed with totally new knowledge everyday over and over again proved to be a living hell. He had to learn once bitten, twice shy. Didn’t the teacher in primary saw this coming? Actually no because he was ‘perfectly’ conform the expected level of knowledge and expectations. His grades were excellent.
With digital being the new normal, content will become more and more mobile. It will be no longer confined to text and work books. it will become much more visual, aural, easy to access on different mobile devices. Publishers like VAN IN are aware of that and just like its competitors the teams are working on mobilizing content.
Let’s help the pupil to keep its learning mobile. And make him aware of the fact that his learning styles of preferences will evolve and maybe even change along his way to lifelong learning.
Don’t miss out on the future of learning.