Every time I think I have abstracted up to the highest level, I find I have not; one would think I would learn. So here is my new highest-level understanding of the critical link between the future of education and how we get there:
The model of proscriptive education is busted. The world is changing too quickly for us to say “here is the next thing; implement it or learn it and you will be OK”. What we really mean when we put all the 21C skills, essential qualities of a student, and the challenges of a rapidly changing world together is this: we want our students to become self-evolving learners. If they do not, they will always be behind the curve of an ever-accelerating global information and skill base; they will be spectators rather than vibrant participants in the cognitasphere.
If we want students to become self-evolving learners, our schools must become self-evolving organizations. The “here is the right model” approach, won’t work. The rates of change are totally out of phase. It takes years to publish and approve new texts; it takes a decade or more to develop, accept, and implement new standards, be they Common Core or others. These are evolutionary steps, but they are still largely externally imposed. Learning in a fluid and rapidly changing world requires the skill of self-evolving learning. Learning is an ecosystem, not an assembly line. We never get “there”; there is no “there” to get to, any more than as a species we will ever arrive at our final anthropological iteration.
Bo Adams and I are frequently on the same page. Here is what he wrote today:
Could we re-imagine and re-purpose so that school becomes more of a quickly evolving ecosystem that better integrates learners with real-time, real-life, contextual learning and a developing citizen skill-content set that readies learners for the present and future more than for a past that is rapidly fading?
If we expect our students to be adaptive, self-evolving learners, we (educational leaders, teachers, schools) can’t be less.