Proposal - Guiding principles for investors to transform education for the 21st century
The world is changing: rapid population growth, climate instability, dwindling energy and water supplies, and rising poverty impact billions of lives. At the same time, information and communication technologies have dramatically recast how we understand and experience the world. Digital technologies have redefined how we live, work, communicate and learn, making the once unimaginable routinely possible. Education must be at the core of society´s response to these powerful issues. Our collective progress depends on us applying knowledge and skills to address these formative and far-reaching matters. It is critical that we develop a pervasive culture of innovation, not only inside schools, colleges and universities but also within and across communities of students and educators.
Despite the many efforts of governments, nonprofit organizations and the private sector, educational systems and teaching methods have not adequately adapted to meet the evolving challenges of our time. What´s urgently needed is a new approach to teaching and learning, one designed to shape accelerating forces of global change. Information technology is vital to this new approach. Even with increased investment in education over recent years, too many students still fail.
Guiding principles for investors to transform education for the 21st century
- Support new leaders for new environments
Schools must change the way they teach to reflect that they are dealing with students who are interacting with digital technology from an early age. Teachers should embrace these new realities and redefine their role – from content provider and instructor to facilitator, coach and advisor. They often work in microcosms, slowing progress and undermining transformation. There needs to be a new openness to collaboration across classrooms, institutions and countries and an interest in joining practitioner networks like HP Catalyst www.hp.com/go/hpcatalyst to spread ideas, accelerate innovations and re-engineer existing solutions. Educators should also learn from their students – engage in reverse mentoring to find a common language and understanding.
Environments should be created where teachers and students work together as active learners, where experimental teaching approaches recognize student diversity, and individuality. Personal learning approaches, teacher professional learning and collaboration, leadership and vision development at all levels play a critical role to ensure new pedagogies and technologies are designed and implemented. They go hand-in-hand with targeted investments into guided research in areas like teaching with technology and pedagogical integration of information technology. Leaders in education should be recognized and supported as champions of new approaches through incentive programs.
- Foster 21st century skills development
Invest in teaching and learning concepts that strengthen students’ individual skills development with a special focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) as well as critical thinking, creativity, communication and global collaboration. Given the scope of challenges facing the world, much of future innovation will likely occur within the spectrum of scientific fields. Effective STEM education, supported by authentic learning experiences is critical to inspiring young people to enter scientific professions and become STEM literate citizens. The effective use of technology has a lot to offer in this respect. In this global economic climate, academic institutions must make critical decisions in funding areas that provide the desired 21st century skills as well as performance measures that consider academic and economic results.
- Implement innovative classroom solutions and infrastructure
Technology is a tremendous tool for unleashing human potential, opening new ways of communicating and sharing ideas. It accelerates understanding, deepens insight und sparks innovation. It is more than ‘closing the digital divide’ by equipping classrooms with computers and providing internet access for all students. It is also, how well technology is applied and embedded into pedagogical concepts to enable interactive learning experiences.
Mobile devices and applications, tablet computing, game-based learning, personal learning environments (PLE´s), natural user interfaces and augmented reality are major trends summarized from the New Media Consortium’s annual Horizon Report www.nmc.org, which describes emerging technologies likely to have a large impact over the coming years in classrooms around the globe. More and more schools are starting to shift their IT budgets towards cloud technologies. Because of the cost-efficiency and simplicity, cloud technologies are being adopted widely, especially for storing, managing, sharing a massive amount of data and supporting personalized learning concepts.
Education decision makers need to better align their investments to 21st century requirements. A significant increase in learning outcomes and an increased return on investment is possible but requires cost-benefit analysis as part of the transformation process. More collaboration is required to build on the most promising innovations in education, ensuring they can be scaled for the benefit of many more learners. Technology is a critical enabler to transform education aligned with new pedagogical frameworks and result-oriented investments.