It’s Must Be True Because I Read It On The Internet . . .

Is the Internet always right? Not likely. However, I have done my best to confirm the accuracy of the information I have put forward. You choose–likely or not likely or better yet do your own investigation into facts that you don’t think measure up. Let me know what you find out.

For the last while I have been critical of the lasting value of our current educational system and how we are in desperate need of creating a whole new paradigm concerning what it means to be ‘educated’ considering today’s technological reality. What approach will help our children restore their interest in higher education?

Let’s consider this for a bit:

1. We have been and still are, for the most part, using a 150 year old system to impart information to tomorrows’ thinkers. It simply does not provide the type of training students require today in order for them to be competitive in the work place. There are good reasons that more students are deciding against seeking higher education and that enrolments are being challenged to meet past levels. Much of it has to do with the curriculum/philosophy being offered. It is basically the same program as the one I experienced when I went to high school and that was back in the mid 60’s. Many students are more than disinterested-they border on being bored to death. Truth be known many of the teachers that I have talked with are bored as well but can’t afford to state that publicly. Students are not being prepared for the expectations that industry has of them. Not many jobs wait for them so what’s the point?

Technology now dictates what and how information will be provided. Our efforts are not meeting the needs of today’s employers. True, we are waving some new ideas but the point is the WHOLE thing needs to be re-created. We have to stop bandaging a system that is really out of its realm now.

EVERYTHING that is going on in the world today orbits around education as the one and only common factor that will separate or bring together the countries who strive to be more successful geo-policitically, economically, more stable with greater likelihood of offering a form of democracy to their citizens, medically more advanced than those who are not well educated, able to offer better health care systems, more likely to produce more fresh water supplies, clean energy sources and those who will remain on the cutting edge of new technologies that are destined to grow at rates we can’t yet imagine. That translates into prosperity/jobs/interest and energy for employees. It leaves a great deal less room for tyrants and dictators to operate. It lessens the places where cowards and thugs can function and threaten those who aren’t as strong or as violent.

Being a well educated population is the most important determining factor for us to focus on so that we may realize success on a world wide scale. The other social issues such as homelessness, poverty and climate change, although immensely important, will only be sorted out when and if we dedicate ourselves to being well educated so that we can compete as a nation among the rest of the world.

2. The real telling factor for me in all of this is this: According to ‘Did You Know’ for students who are just beginning a 4 year tech degree of some kind 1/2 of what they learn in their first year will be out dated by the time they finish their 3rd year. We also need to understand that the amount of technical information is doubling every 2 years. Check out this link if you are interested in what else is coming or likely to come.

 

So what does all this mean?

For me it means that what we are currently doing to prepare our kids for their professional future will be ineffectual using the present educational system. It is clear that the Internet either has or will become the ‘classroom’ of the near future whether we like it or not. Teachers will become redundant. Kids will be more interested in teaching themselves or learning in group scenarios than listening to a talking head. The students don’t need information taught to them. It’s useless after a couple of years anyway. They can get all the up to date information they require from the net. What they need is to learn how to use the technology around them. They need to learn about processes–how to think and be creative. Be innovators. See possibilities. Be critical thinkers. The ‘teacher’ will become a ‘mentor’ in the classroom. He/she will become the guide and the source of feedback. They will become the ‘conscience’ of the student and will help students understand how to use the Internet to their advantage–how to data mine. I believe that this position will be far more useful, helpful and important than what they are doing now. They will still have a place in the system just not the one they hold right now. What really has to happen is for the ‘old guard’–the patriarchs of the system need to either step aside and let progress takes it’s rightful place in the world of learning or get on board with what is happening and work to make it the best system it can be. Either way we need to change the way we do our classroom business and do it soon or we will surely be left behind the fast moving countries of China and India who are putting out huge numbers of well educated and scholarly students as we procrastinate.

Anyways, that’s how I see it. All the best, Jim

Comments are welcomed at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com  OR  jimcloughley.com

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