You wouldn’t teach your children to code on a typewriter, would you?
So why are schools still preparing our children for an exponential world, with the tools and techniques that were created for a system where progress was linear and knowledge was power?
Perhaps we are now at an inflexion point where more and more schools, universities and organisations are going to realise benchmarking the best from the rest based on ‘knowledge certificates’ (i.e. degrees, school exams) is pointless.
So what can we as parents do to better prepare our children?
Here are three suggestions.
1. Open our own minds to the possibility that change is needed
This is a rather obvious statement, but none the less, if we don’t challenge our own views and preconceptions about education, then we’ll accept the status quo.
Fortunately, thanks to Google, we can now access an incredible library of articles about the future of education. Here are two examples that I enjoyed.
1) Peter Diamandis, one of the worlds most respected visionaries, makes some powerful arguments about what’s wrong with the current school system and what should be introduced to fix it – https://www.diamandis.com/blog/back-to-school-edition.
2) Sir Ken Robinsons, 2006 Ted talk ‘Do schools kill creativity’. (Over 50 million views and sadly just as relevant 12 years on.)
2. Hedge the risk by exposing your children to new models
For many of us, the idea that the education system needs to change is not in dispute.
Yet, we would feel incredibly uncomfortable transferring our child to one of the more progressive schooling models.
You could look to hedge your bets by continuing with traditional schooling but enrolling your child in any of a number of more progressive extra-curricular options.
For example, one of my good friends, Willem Van Der Post, got so frustrated with the lack of progressiveness in South Africa’s education system, he created xTech.
Children from 14 years and up are exposed to industry thought leaders and a range of exponential technologies over a five-week period. The aim is to encourage them to think more about what sort of role they want to take in society and inspire them to start developing the skills they’ll need independently from the education system.
3. Try a new system
For progressive first movers, you could look at enrolling your child in your local equivalent of the Alt School or an institute such as Avalons that is applying The Steve Jobs School models.
They’ll typically use software solutions to scale and tailor learning outcomes, so students find they can work on individualised programmes, at their own pace. These environments also focus more on helping students learn skills (as opposed to knowledge), such as collaboration, leadership, creativity and adaptability.
Whatever you decide do try something new
Whatever your view about the future of work and the impact of exponential technologies, we can safely assume two things, being…
Firstly, it will be vastly different from the world of today
Secondly, the rate of change will be faster than at any time in your history
Against that backdrop, it’s quite reasonable to believe that the students who excel in the workspace over the next 20 years, will be the ones who have not relied on the rigid, traditional school systems of today.
So it makes sense to try something new. I’m certainly looking hard now for new experiences for my children that hopefully give them the right platform to lead fulfilling and relevant lives.
If you have come across any great education environments for an exponential world, especially online or virtual, I’d love to hear about them.