Unexpected Tools That are Influencing the Future of Education by Katrina Schwartz

Unexpected Tools That are Influencing the Future of Education

 | January 22, 2015
Mia Christopher

Mia Christopher

Some big education issues have been making headlines, including how many and what kind of standardized tests should be used in education, implementation of Common Core State Standards and the Vergara ruling in California challenging teacher tenure. But many educators continue to focus on the more personal issues behind these headlines: how to improve their craft, serve students better, nurture well-rounded, emotionally intelligent students and make educational change in more fundamental ways.

THE FUTURE OF EDUCATION

Teachers have long known that struggles in the classroom are often a reflection of society as much as of academic ability. And beyond the many challenges related to rising poverty rates, there is the uniquely confusing moment in which society finds itself. Around the globe, economies are shifting away from machine-focused industries and toward human-powered creative industries. Many adults are caught in the middle of this awkward shift, educated for the industrial age but trying to make a living in the information age. In an uncertain moment, they can be nervous about letting young people find their own way forward.

John Abbott, director of the 21st Century Learning Initiative, has thought a lot about these issues and surmises that society must decide what it wants to be: interconnected individuals responsible to a community or a world filled with “consumers,” dependent on products, services and authority figures. Shifting to an education model that produces people who thrive on interconnectivity will take a dramatic revisioning of society. But that type of shift might be just what is required to ensure that the education children receive in the future meets that dramatically different end goal.

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