Schools as we currently know them go back to the dawn of the industrial age. Class-rooms where teachers deliver chalk-and-talk lessons, assigning homework, trying to maintain order. The students are somewhere safe while their parents are at work, the kids being prepared for a work-force they would soon join and stay in till old age, probably with the same employer..
Times have changed, but schools have not, at least not enough to deliver the kind of education children need in the 21st century, says Australian educator Greg Whitby. He says the world is changing at an unprecedented rate, our schools haven’t kept up and so we’re missing opportunities to better equip our kids for a world that will change even more by the time they’re adults.
Greg makes a compelling case in his just-published book Educating Gen Wi-Fi. While rapidly developing new technologies are a key issue, Greg says it’s not just about computers, smart phones and Youtube. Children currently at school may have many different jobs in their future working lives, and many of those jobs have not yet been invented. School was once seen as “preparation for life” but Greg argues that education is life, and the most important thing schools can do is teach children how to learn, so they can keep on learning long after they graduate.
And if, like many parents, you think Youtube and the Internet should just be for play-time and recreation, Greg Whitby says it’s time to reconsider your position. Like all things, the new technologies can be used well, or very badly. But they offer great opportunities to teach our children well.
Listen to Greg Whitby talk about the origins of our current school systems, and what a 21st century class-room should be.
Listen to Greg’s thoughts on the role of technology in 21st century schools and why Youtube could be as important as text-books and homework.