Written by Craig Beddis

3 min read

Welcoming The Future of Education

  • Hadean

The effect of Coronavirus is changing our general way of life on a near-daily basis.

Western populations are finding supermarket shelves bare of goods that previously were run-of-the-mill essentials. Professionals, who have never worked outside an office, are now adjusting to permanent remote working – for an indefinite amount of time. And children whose sole responsibility was to be a student, are now finding themselves without school, their friends, or their teachers.

What is heartwarming is how different professionals have taken up the cause of educating the next generation. What’s enlightening is how they’ve delivered this cause through, not traditional means, but new technologies.

Joe Wicks, AKA The Body Coach, is teaching kids Physical Education in their front rooms. Famous illustrators are teaching children to draw, musicians are inspiring kids to play, and different authors are reading inspiring stories every day.

Traditionally, these classes were held face-to-face. Ten years ago they might also have existed on a DVD. Yet today, they are being broadcast in real-time via social media platforms such as Instagram Live.

Schools are turning to services such as Google Classroom – which has led to the app reaching 50 million downloads since the Coronavirus outbreak. Students, however, have tried to counter and enjoy their ‘corona break’, giving the app 1-star reviews in the vain hope it may get taken down. Some parents have even turned to remote private tutors – an industry which has seen a boom since the outbreak.

The ranking history of Google Classroom – Data provided by AppBrain

The ranking history of Google Classroom – Data provided by AppBrain

So How Do You Set up an Education System for the Next Generation Today?

Today’s children are more technologically savvy than any prior generation. Yet despite this,, our education systems have barely changed since the industrial revolution.

Kids are taught what to do and how to do it – not how to think creatively and innovatively.

Platforms like the Khan Academy are trying to level the playing field across the world – offering a brilliant, standardised education to everyone. Pearson, another online learning platform, has seen an “explosion” in demand for online learning.

However, although the medium may be different with these services, the material they deliver is the same to the one you find in schools.

Kids are taught from old fashioned textbooks and via outdated mechanisms that do not speak to them. So why is this still the case? This hangover of yesteryear is an arbitrary approach used too aggressively, unfairly marking and grading children for using rote memorisation, rather than practical skills.

In the UK, there is a severe lack of students studying STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and mathematics. For the nation to achieve its socio-economic goals, more children than ever need to be inspired to go into these careers.

And yet the mechanisms employed in schools is disheartening and discouraging the next generation of thinkers, inventors, and crazy ones. But, the present can be a turning point, forcing us to transform our methods from “the way they have always been done.”

This next generation of knowledge workers will increase our production capacity as a global society significantly, and they will be entering into a highly globalised and digitally-connected world. For this cohort to fully realise it’s potential, society needs to take advantage of the myriad of opportunities we have to enable them to upskill in ways that have never been possible.

Not relying on outdated and arbitrary techniques and approaches, education needs to evolve to a leaner, more efficient way of teaching the students and empower them to achieve their potential. Only then, will we as a global community, truly benefit.