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The times they are a changin’

Along with hunger, democracy and environmental sustainability, the question of how to fix the education system is a wicked problem, according to Alto Director Andrew O’Keeffe. As he puts it, there are no “silver bullets” – they are all “huge, complex issues with so many angles and interdependencies that it seems impossible to solve them”. One of the best ways to get ideas flowing is through establishing a platform where people can share just one idea. From there, “cross-pollination” can occur and common themes and responses can be identified.

In a new video series entitled Change one Thing, educators, change-makers and visionaries answer a single question: If you could change one thing today in education, what would it be? The question evolved from a wide-range of stakeholder responses that highlighted three key themes:

  • What is the purpose of education in the 21st century when we now carry the knowledge and history of the world in our pockets?
  • Is our current system – one that was designed in the industrial age – still fit-for-purpose?
  • What should we be teaching to prepare the citizens of the future, when the future is changing more quickly than ever before?

In episode one education policy expert Tom Bentley argues for a change in the single number assessment system that has dominated the Western education model since the 1900s. He contends that such a reductionist approach is a “fallacy” and that it has a “constraining effect on people’s own understanding of what they can achieve”.

Education pioneer Sophie Fenton appears in episode two and argues that “a human-centred approach to education” will be critical in a world adjusting to AI, VR and the internet of things. She’s concerned that, if we ignore this, we potentially run the risk of being governed by rather than governing the technologies we want to enhance our lives.

Peter Hutton, Founder of the Future Schools Alliance, recommends a dramatic shift to student-centred learning. He recommends students, in conjunction with “responsible, caring adults”, “come up with new models for education where “they are at the centre of their education plan”.

To view the episodes and join in on the debate, visit http://changeonething.education/episodes/.

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