Babies are born every day in all parts of the world with the expectation that they will grow into contributing members of their communities. Education is an important part of helping turn that vision into a reality. However, the success of the education system is questioned often. Rather than discuss what is right or wrong, good or bad about our current education system, let’s discuss the education question from a different perspective.
What if you had a newborn today? What future education system would you design for your child? What would it look like?
Where would your child go to school? Do you envision a traditional school building and classroom with student desks? Or, do you see a flexible combination of learning spaces that may include your home, community gathering and learning spaces, parks and other outdoor education spaces, art and music spaces? How would technology enhance your child’s opportunity to learn?
Which critical attributes would you want your child to develop through his/her education? What would the curriculum and learning progressions look like for your child?
Children, teens and young adults are all about action! What would your child do to learn? How would your child engage in learning new skills and content? What activities would you design to help your child develop, practice and refine his/her critical thinking and decision-making skills?
How would you know when your child is ready for the next steps, the next level of content, or the next level of thinking? How would you assess their readiness to move on? Would you quiz or test them using paper and pencil? Would you give them a performance task to demonstrate their skills, knowledge and understanding? Would you have them create a product that integrates their learning and allows them to demonstrate their mastery and readiness for the next level?
What would you do when your child struggles with some aspect of learning, or making friends, or dealing with disappointment? Who would ask to help you figure out what to do to help him/her? What if you had both a virtual and real space to get help from counselors, learning specialists, health specialists, and others?
These are questions that parents and educators need to consider if our communities are going to innovate education for the children of tomorrow.
The time is now—the children of tomorrow are the newborns of today!