As we plan to improve and change our educational offerings the key to any vision of the future lies in our ability to predict what knowledge, skills and concepts will be needed by coming generations of students. I am firmly of the belief, from what I read and understand of our world changing, at a rate which must be daunting for the younger folk amongst us, that technology will be at the centre of any transformation.
However, as our cultures and communities evolve there will be constants and traditions that we must preserve, indeed cherish; ideals, morals and values that will transcend time and ensure that our world is a safer, cleaner, and more ethical, leading to a more sophisticated understanding of the world in which we live. These traditional principles and standards must focus on mutual respect and a fundamental understanding that, in everything, we ‘do under others as we would have done unto ourselves’. This requires social and cultural awareness, tolerance and an acceptance of differing perspectives; the concept that students ‘become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right’ (IB Mission Statement).
In terms of the educational design of our curriculum, I definitely ascribe to the comments made by Ross Dawson, futurist and strategic advisor, that the more important skills and characteristics for future careers will be based around creativity, relationships and expertise.
That is, experimentation coupled with the ability to understand that mistakes and corrective improvements lead to an enhancement of the creative process; that a cultural and social sensitivity of those around you, with whom one interacts, leads to authentic, productive team work; and, that mastery of certain core skills and concepts in at least one, if not many disciplines, is paramount.
So as we develop AISB’s educational competencies, we must continue to develop and strengthen the core skills and competencies that are reflective of the more traditional approach to education, which many schools of thought seem keen to wash away under a tsunami of technology. At the same time we need to ensure that our students are equipped with the emerging skills of future careers and societal demands. Thus, the vision of the future of education will be based on merging the best traditions of the past with their technological high-tech, innovative equivalent.
When we get this balance right – our school will become a power house of collaborative learning.