Creativity, innovation, complex critical thinking, and emotional engagement with other human beings….if you can’t do these, you can be replaced by a robot, argues Edward Hees in Learn or Die (Columbia University Press, 2014).
No wonder most of us left school feeling very replaceable. Schools, generally, are not places that enable innovative thinking, difficult conversations or true collaboration (not to be confused with most group work). Ironically, if you do encounter these things at a school, it is probably outside the classroom.
We need to challenge ourselves to educate young people to be irreplaceable!
Young people need the time and space to develop knowledge and deep experience of the world, to wallow in its questions, to play with their ideas, and to argue fiercely with adults and with each other to define the world they want to live in. We owe them this time and space in an environment that is safe, respectful and provocative.
In addition to new spaces, young people need new tools. The old tools that relied on analyzing the future from past experience are rapidly losing value in a shape-shifting world. In this era of elastic, experimental intelligence the capacity of young people to learn as they go, and to have fun while learning seriously, is a tremendous asset.
Young people today have a different world-view. They want knowledge that is just in time for its application, and the space and time to experiment and be curious. Learning must be relevant to hold interest.
In this weekly blog, I will offer ideas for a better, more relevant education. Engaging in the world with impact must be taught as an approach to life and to work. In schools, academic mastery must be integrated with purposeful, challenging, student-directed life questions and experience locally and around the world. Students need to learn that the rewards of engagement are immediate, the feedback loop is strong, and the unique ability of this generation to think in both the physical and the virtual worlds is an advantage.
I’ll discuss design thinking and other processes to approach complex problem identification. Join me on a compelling journey to innovative intelligence and to a new education for those who seek a powerful alternative to the status quo.