TVO has produced an ongoing series which explores education in the year 2030, when this year’s newborns are expected to graduate from high school.
What’s Necessary? What’s Possible? wrapped up the findings of the Equinox Summit, where leading thinkers congregated to describe best practices and promising initiatives aimed at empowering students in their creativity and potential, the results summarised in this six-page blueprint.
Earlier in the year, The Agenda hosted a panel exploring What Do We Need to Know?. The consensus here seems to be there exists some common knowledge that one must possess in order to access the opportunities of privilege, and that these ‘experts’ have some sense as to what this content might be. By example, they look at a history teacher’s mash-up of a music video to describe an innovative way to engage kids in learning. However, they fail to make a distinction between “teaching history” and “learning history”. The whole premise of the conversation, and of conventional approaches to curriculum design, is teacher-centric. When teachers design programs, no matter how ‘creative’, we compete with Nintendo and Sony and DreamWorks, with the added challenge of having kids eat their spinach. A deeper opportunity, and one neglected by this particular panel, is the experience that flows when kids drive the bus of their own learning. Had it been a student who made the video mash-up, instead of their teacher, that would have been a learning experience worth talking about.
Says David Perkins, Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, “90% of what we typically teach is a waste of time” and yet “curriculum is one of the most resistant fronts of education”. If we are truly to realise the visions described at the Learning 2030: Equinox Summit, I believe we must step back from our position as all-knowing guardian and stand aside our young as learners seeking “large understandings that can help us code the unexpected”.