Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Marc Prensky - Public lecture at Ara Institute of Technology as part of Tertiary ICT conference

Tertiary ICT conference – a 3 day conference attended mostly by ICT staff from across the tertiary sector is being held at Ara Institute of Canterbury this week.

Notes taken at the free public lecture this evening by Marc Prensky on ‘Civilisation-level change in education’. he is keynote at the conference.

Advocates for the merger of traditional ‘academic’ education with the older ‘accomplishment’ approach. Discusses why it is important and how we may get there.

Began with brief introduction including having taught at primary to college levels.
Rationalised WHY education has to change. The importance of education but we need to think through what is education and what is the purpose of education.

The third millennium requires a shift, to empower our kids in an exponentially changing world.
Argues, change is on us now and not going to slow down. Technology is not proceeding linearly but information technology has enabled change to be complex. How can people keep up or cope? Maximise the use of technology to face challenges of the future.

Spend some time defining exponential and speed of change. Computational abundance is now here with incredible empowerment. Personal devices (more than number of people), human web (50% now) connectivity and connected things / sensors. Convergence occurring between hard and software, physical and biological, human machine symbiosis etc.
Argues that computational power enable huge empowerment of the individual. Help deal with VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex ambigious), climate change, etc.

What does this mean for the future of work and to be human in an age of intelligent machines.  
“We learn in order to accomplish useful things”. Accomplishment (for others) is not the same as achievement (for yourself). Argues that we have always had ‘the accomplishment tradition” for action, relationships and still practiced in workplaces. The ‘academic tradition’ as about thinking and learning and this occurred in schools.

So, supports the precepts of situated learning. Critical thinking alone is not enough unless combined with effective action, relationships and application.

Education moving from personal achievement – individuals/ grades / rankings and personal success to Accomplishment – real world results.

Current paradigm is kids have to be taught, goal to make them better individuals and best process is with content, tests, rankings and qualifications. Tinkering with educational reform is not effective. Need to change the way people see the world and adopt a new paradigm.
New civilization level paradigm of education is kids empowered to accomplish, with goal to better their world and includes world improvement projects etc.

Goes back to his original premise of kids now needing to be educated for a different world. Reading and writing, researching, translating, thinking (AI) are becoming machine skills. Anything that 2 people can do equally well, can be, and will be, automated (eventually).

Education has been ‘making people the same’ what the future needs is people who can be unique. Teachers need to help kids find, nurture and extend their strengths. Need to see learners as extended brains all networked together. Provided examples of empowered kids and schools around the world (design for change). Proposed a way forward with alternative education as an option as to replace educational systems will be too difficult. Curriculum based on real world learning based on real world projects - people who can get things done. broad lifelong skills the key - effective thinking, action and relationships. Teachers are coaches and enpowerers, not content deliverers. Technology should be used as enablers for improving the world and becoming good empowered people. 

Some of his ideas are congruent with neuroscience of learning – to teach is to learn - see this blogpost on book overview of the secret life of the mind. Get kids to lead, they will learn what is required to solve the problems important to them. Learning needs to be situated, problem / inquiry learning engages and motivates learners. These skills set learners up for the fast changing future.

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