When you think about it, there is something extraordinarily challenging about the job of teaching our kids and to prepare them to be productive adults. Children starting school this year will be of retiring age in the year 2075. Think about that. Schools have a hard enough time imagining what expectations will be in five years. But, school leaders are assumed to have this almost oracle like sense of prediction of what foundation kids need today so that they are prepared to enter the work force sometime around 2030. And, this is the challenge we have. Do we really think keyboarding skills will have any place in the workforce in about 20 years? Often people will ask why schools still teach handwriting?
We continue to educate kids using the same structure, model, and methodologies for the last several decades. Let’s consider the radical transformation of schooling. Notice I did not use the term “learning.” Kids love to “learn”, but they certainly can be “schooled” to death. So, what if schools no longer existed? I believe schools, as we know it, cannot withstand the transformation that is fast approaching. The advent of the Internet is the engine that is helping to make this change happen. Of course, it will be the people who put the effort in to make the change. However, technology is the critical piece to fuel the significant disruption of our public education system. And, there are some innovative companies that are already making significant inroads into both public and private schools.
ZSpace is an innovative new Silicon Valley company. Their mission is to “provide a revolutionary, immersive, interactive 3D environment for computing, creating, communication and entertainment.” One of their goals is to take their new technology and have it be a critical piece in how we transform the learning experience for our kids through interactive 3D visualization. A few weeks ago, I visited their offices. During the demonstration, I was able to pick-up a human heart and dissect it all using 3D visual imagery. It took biology in a whole new direction. There are also ways in which I could have labeled the different parts of the heart in order to use it as a study tool.
Six Red Marbles is an East Coast education technology company. “Our company really lives at the intersection of education and technology, and we’re dedicated to developing creative interactive programs that truly engage all learners – big and small,” says Jacques Driscoll, CEO of Six Red Marbles. The company’s mission is “to unleash curiosity, creativity, and every learner’s potential—naturally.” Several core insights drive their process including the idea that multiple learning paths result in better performance and the best learning technologies have a simple clutter free and intuitive interface.
How each of us was educated is often a deeply personal experience. Those years in school are critical in the development of that person. Children born today are living in a vastly different world than seventy years ago. How we educate our kids must start reflecting this change.