News

News

And notes from the field

Does the future need schools?

Responses are requested by March 16, 2018.

As the future of work seems to become increasingly uncertain, schools charged with creating future-ready workers have changed very little over the past few centuries. A school from 2018 looks and functions little different than a school in 1918 would have operated. As we look 10, 20, or 50 years into the future, will ‘school’ be relevant?

Let us know what you think!

Note: This survey Closed on March 16. Results will be published shortly.

Thank you in advance for sharing your insight in this quick survey! This is an activity to generate an ecology of ideas for future research. A summary of responses will be shared in the coming months.

All responses in this survey are confidential. Read our research confidentiality and integrity statement.

 

Podcast episode 12: Catching up

John and Kelly Moravec are back, catching up on what they’ve been up to the past few months. John shares his experiences having run for school board in Bloomington, MN; Kelly and John discuss a French ban on cell phones in the classrooms; Kelly shares a confrontation with a colleague over punishments for font sizes; and, John shares interesting educational research emerging around the world, utilizing an expanded World Café method — the Knowmad Café.

Once you’ve listened to this episode, why not earn an hour of continuing professional education? After all, you’ve already done half the work. Just go to educationfutures.com/learn, and sign up for the Moodle course that corresponds with this episode. After you post your thoughts in response to the questions we have for you in the “sound off” forum, you can download your certificate of completion. It’s free, and it’s our gift to you for listening and for supporting us. Simply visit educationfutures.com/learn to earn your free continuing professional education credit.

This is an open conversation, and your participation is invited! Email your stories and responses to us at info@educationfutures.com.

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Cheating the death of imagination: Teaching the unknowable

The idea of a Technological Singularity has been discussed and debated intensely since the early 1990s. Coined by Vernor Vinge and popularized by Ray Kurzweil, the idea is that as technologies evolve, technologies improve, costs decrease; and, in turn, the process of technological evolution advances and speeds itself up, creating a J-curve of exponential, accelerating change. Eventually, the J-curve hits an inflection point, and change begins to occur at timescales that seem nearly instantaneous. This is the Technological Singularity.

At Education Futures, in our work to help guide governments and organizations, we’ve looked hard at what this means to humans and human systems – in particular with regard to how we will learn and work in the future. In this frame, the Technological Singularity also represents the point at which change occurs so rapidly that the human mind cannot imagine what will happen next. Moreover, technological change facilitates social change (and vice-versa). We need to prepare for rapidly-occurring, intense periods of social, cultural, and economic transformation.

The Technological Singularity represents the limit of human imagination.

It is important to note that the J-curve of accelerating change is graphed independently of scale. There is not a standard measurement of change, and there is no measurement of time. We can look at illustrative examples for correlates, such as the growth of microprocessor computing power under Moore’s Law, but the idea of a Technological Singularity is subjective to the human experience.

Herein lies the rub: We are all very different. We have differing abilities to cope with change, to imagine new futures, to communicate, to solve problems, use resources wisely, and so forth. We cannot expect to experience ‘the’ Technological Singularity together. Rather, we should prepare to experience many individual singularities, as individuals, groups, and as a society. Depending on who we are and the contexts in which we are placed, we will hit the limits of our imagination – our singularities – at different times and under different circumstances. Industries are transforming (and disappearing!) at different rates and at different times, communities are shifting at independent and co-dependent paces, and individuals and families are under increasing pressure to stay relevant.

Humans are not afraid of change, but we fear the unknown. When we hit the limits of our imaginations, we push back toward the knowable, often with very ugly consequences. Brexit, the election of Donald Trump, the state-sponsored fake news phenomenon, and the rise of slavery advocate Roy Moore in Alabama – all inconceivable a decade ago – serve as examples that humans are prone to a retreat toward bigotry, ignorance, and hate when confronted with uncertainty. Like the followers of Ned Ludd worked to sabotage the industrial movement in the 19th century, these socially regressive Neo-Luddites subvert technological change to regress society toward an imagined past, no matter how horrible, that presents themselves with a sense of certainty.

A community cannot progress technologically while sabotaging itself socially. While our singularities may be unavoidable, we can at least learn how to cope with them by learning to embrace the unknown. This, at the forefront, requires a tremendous amount of imagination and creativity from all of us.

Our schools, which are designed to prepare youth for static futures, need to be urgently repurposed to prepare all of society for the unknowable. Imagination, creativity, and innovation, together with support for greater agency and self-efficacy must underpin serious efforts to achieve meaningful outcomes for all learners. We must balance core content knowledge with soft skills such as simulational thinking, knowledge production, technology, intercultural communication, critical and multi-paradigmatic thinking, focused imagination, developed intuition, emotional intelligence, and systems design.

Are you ready to take the dive into teaching and learning for the unknowable? Continue on with our series on invisible learning:

 

John Moravec embarks on global tour to redesign education

Education Futures founder Dr. John Moravec has embarked on a global tour to redesign mainstream education systems. Moravec asks, “In a world consumed with uncertainty and a growing sense of the obsolescence of our education systems, how can we ensure the success of ourselves as individuals, our communities, and the planet?” The solution, he believes, is an urgent redesign to evolve learning.

At a keynote speech at Girls in Tech in Guayaquil, Ecuador earlier this month, Moravec stated:

Our school systems are built on cultures of obedience, enforced compliance, and complacency. It is easier to be told what to think than to think ourselves. It’s time to break the rules – but understand why first! Future education leaders will create justified breaks from the system that challenge the status quo and have the potential to create real impact.

Moravec continued on to Doha, Qatar November 14-17 as an invited delegate to the World Innovation Summit for Education where he shared international experiences. He shared, “leveraging technologies, we can now bring broad communities together in conversations that matter. If educators are to build a collective capacity to transform education, we need engaged communities, and we also need to engage with the communities we serve.”

On November 25, Moravec travels again to provide an invited keynote lecture at International Meeting on Distance Education in Guadalajara, Mexico, and to conduct action research for the federal government of Mexico. Education Futures has spent the past nine months developing a software platform to collect data from diverse communities and provide comparative analysis that is relevant for policymakers and institutions. The tool will is being piloted now and will be available for all EF research projects by the end of 2017.

Before kicking off the tour, Moravec spoke with Mariana Ludmila (@edularity) on building new futures for education:

Invisible learning: The (r)evolution outside of the classroom

Who gets to decide what kids learn? For whose benefit is all this, really? We make learning visible for the people who get to decide. But, what if we could invisibilize learning?

Dr. John Moravec share that the Theory for Invisible Learning is that we learn more, and do so invisibly, when we separate structures of control that restrict freedom and self-determination from learning experiences. Learning becomes invisible when we empower each of us to learn our own way. Removing structures of control opens possibilities. The end outcomes or goals of an experience are neither dictated nor determined from the start, but instead emerge as learning develops. Such experiences include free play, self-organized learning communities, authentic problem-based learning, and experimentation to acquire new knowledge. This talk was given at TEDxUCundinamarca in Colombia using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.

Dr. Moravec is an internationally-recognized scholar and speaker on the future of education and work, lead author of Knowmad Society, and the founder of Minneapolis-based Education Futures LLC. For a full bio, visit John’s personal page at john.moravec.us/about.

Diane Ravitch’s “Reign of Error”: Is American education in crisis?

John and Kelly Moravec discuss Diane Ravitch’s book, Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools, which asks the questions: Is American education in crisis? Is the education system failing or declining? What actions should we take today to ensure positive futures?

From one of the foremost authorities on education in the United States, former U.S. assistant secretary of education Diane Ravitch, this book provides an incisive, comprehensive look at today’s American school system that argues against those who claim it is broken and beyond repair; an impassioned but reasoned call to stop the privatization movement that is draining students and funding from our public schools.

Once you’ve listened to this episode, why not earn an hour of continuing professional education? After all, you’ve already done half the work. Just go to educationfutures.com/learn, and sign up for the Moodle course that corresponds with this episode. After you post your thoughts in response to the questions we have for you in the “sound off” forum, you can download your certificate of completion.

It’s free, and it’s our gift to you for listening and for supporting us. Simply visit educationfutures.com/learn to earn your free continuing professional education credit.

This is an open conversation, and your participation is invited! Email your stories and responses to us at info@educationfutures.com.

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New episodes are released approximately every two weeks. Here’s how to follow along:

Podcast episode 10: Newsbreak

John and Kelly Moravec discuss recent headlines in the news of importance to teachers in the United States, looking at how Ohio is thinking about approaching professional development and how Education Secretary Betsy DeVos seems to be communicating her view of teachers as professionals. They also share what’s inspired them, including this chart of an organizational leader as a social architect.

Once you’ve listened to this episode, why not earn an hour of continuing professional education? After all, you’ve already done half the work. Just go to educationfutures.com/learn, and sign up for the Moodle course that corresponds with this episode. After you post your thoughts in response to the questions we have for you in the “sound off” forum, you can download your certificate of completion.

It’s free, and it’s our gift to you for listening and for supporting us. Simply visit educationfutures.com/learn to earn your free continuing professional education credit.

This is an open conversation, and your participation is invited! Email your stories and responses to us at info@educationfutures.com.

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New episodes are released approximately every two weeks. Here’s how to follow along:

An argument for testing: Does opting out matter?

As an educational leader, I have been asked why I choose not to opt my son out of high-stakes testing. It’s because I don’t care about the tests nor his scores. In fact, I don’t really care about any of the assessments nor grades he’s given in school, high-stakes or otherwise. I care much more about the skills my son is developing and the knowledge he is constructing; and that learning takes place within every aspect of his life (home, school, play, etc.). It simply cannot be measured through any sort of test.

Our students waste a lot of time in school (and with homework) complying with compulsory tasks that do nothing to develop within them the skills they’ll need as they make their way in this ever-shrinking world – testing included. Opting out of a few high-stakes tests won’t change that.

As educators, we need to be in the business of facilitating students’ construction of knowledge.

This can be done by modeling, guiding, mentoring, and purposively facilitating learning opportunities around critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, perseverance, exploration, reflection, and other soft skills WITHIN and THROUGH disciplinary content (e.g. social studies, science, health, math, language).

Unfortunately, our schools have devolved into places where information memorization is valued over knowledge construction, simply because while students’ retained information can be tested and quantified, their knowledge cannot.

Introducing our new Manifesto 15 t-shirt!

When Manifesto 15 was released, we celebrated with a short run of t-shirts with the slogan “kids are people, too.” We exhausted our supply quickly, and, this week, we received larger supply of new, screen printed t-shirts.

These shirts are gorgeous, printed on 4.2 oz. 100% combed and ringspun cotton. You can get $2 off each shirt ordered between now and March 31, by using the coupon code NEWSHIRT at educationfutures.com/store.

Click here to order your shirts today!

Beyond coercive education

In Episode 9 of the Education Futures Podcast, we spoke with Peter Hartkamp, author of Beyond Coercive Education: A plea for the realisation for the rights of the child in education. Many children and parents experience problems with school and in politics education is an often recurring subject. Hartkamp argues that discussions on how education can be improved have not changed over the last 100 years. They focus on the details of the educational practice and do not result in the necessary and fundamental change. The underlying assumptions of education are almost never discussed.

Hartkamp’s book shows that the essence of the current education system is based on the needs of the society of 200 years ago. It describes a number of myths in education, such as: more education is better, teaching is learning, tests lead to better education, children need guidance, teachers are regarded as a professionals and children do bully. These myths cause great suffering for children and inhibit learning and development. It seems, he argues, the Rights of the Child stop at the front door of the school.

NEW: Once you’ve listened to this episode, why not earn an hour of continuing professional education? After all, you’ve already done half the work. Just go to educationfutures.com/learn, and sign up for the Moodle course that corresponds with this episode. After you post your thoughts in response to the questions we have for you in the “sound off” forum, you can download your certificate of completion.

It’s free, and it’s our gift to you for listening and for supporting us. Simply visit educationfutures.com/learn to earn your free continuing professional education credit.

This is an open conversation, and your participation is invited! Email your stories and responses to us at info@educationfutures.com.

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New episodes are released approximately every two weeks. Here’s how to follow along: