How will education look in the future?

I have been asked to sit on the panel for the next Headmaster’s Symposium at Canadian Academy. The topic for discussion is “The Future of CA”. This is meant to encompass strategies to help CA survive challenging economic times in Japan, and consider what schools will look like in 20-30 years’ time.

I have decided to focus my remarks on the future of education in general, as this is the aspect of the symposium that fascinates me the most.

Traditional high school instruction with the teacher at the front lecturing will become a thing of the past.

So-called 21st Century Learning, is all about:

  • kids being more creative
  • kids producing
  • kids researching for themselves
  • kids owning their learning, rather than being passed information
  • kids navigating abundant information in search of the relevant

IB MYP is great for this: in math we no longer just give tests, or the occasional interesting project. Students are expected to create math models themselves and evaluate their usefulness and accuracy, or investigate a property – usually with tech tools – and generalize, then justify why the rule works.

Learning is going to be less about technical skills and more about analyzing, applying and transferring skills. Enables students to have a deeper understanding of the concepts and of mathematics in general.

The MYP way further ahead than DP on this. In mathematics, DP is about covering a load of content. The test is worth 80% of the student’s “grade”, compared with 25% in the MYP NC.

Flipped Classroom

One recent trend in education has been that of the flipped classroom: the content does not need to be delivered in the classroom any more. The general idea of flipping the classroom is to make the most of the coming together of human resources: peers and teachers and the physical resources that a classroom provides.

Questions, not answers

Learning is becoming less about the answers. Anyone can get the answers within 60 seconds. Learning is now about asking questions: teachers and students asking questions, teachers helping students to learn to ask the right questions.

How should a classroom or school look?

Physical characteristics of a school and classroom: pen and paper, written word still important.  Students still need to come together to learn – collaboration with peers is very high on The Hattie Scale.  Teachers still vital as guides – and adult authority & role models from outside of the family.

What I would like to see is more open plan classrooms and a less structured bell schedule: where kids could access the teacher they need to speak with. Eg my calculus class hardly needed me, whereas my I have students in my 10+ spending time with me after school nearly every afternoon. I admit that this might be idealistic, though, as the practicalities of such a system could be very challenging.

What does CA have to do?

Many things we are already doing very well:

  • Faculty, in particular recent hires have brought youth, and innovative teaching strategies to the school
  • PD – great PD opportunities – we have been able to get out to places like Learning2.0 and bring trends that enhance learning back to CA
  • Introduction of laptops in Aug 2010 – see benefits in the long-term.
  • Introduction of the MYP.

To keep up, we need to keep in touch with the cutting edge of education, and remain open to, but think critically about, new ideas.

The world is becoming more of a global village. I think it is imperative for CA to remain open to, but think critically about, the forward movements in education. It’s a very exciting time to be alive, and a very exciting time to be in education. So much progress is being made and will continue. Resources such as twitter (Steven Johnson – where good ideas come from), the flat classroom, google hang-outs, Wolfram Alpha allow us to learn, innovate, and develop, more than ever before.



About eadurkin

Originally a HS Mathematics teacher from New Zealand, currently working as Associate Principal in the Secondary School at Canadian Academy, an international school in Kobe, Japan. Married with two children.
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1 Response to How will education look in the future?

  1. Pingback: As long as there are children there will be schools | i-Biology | Reflections

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