Building Schools For 2030

Building Schools For 2030
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Last week during my interview with Dr. Dick Krajczar he stated that school leaders need to envision what classrooms and schools will be like in 2030.  I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, but still have few answers about what my 8 month old daughter’s classes should look like in 18 years.  As I think about it from the perspective of a teacher I think how depressing it would be if 18 years from now I was doing the same things in my classes.

This is not to say that innovation requires us to throw out everything we’re doing now for some flashy new techno-classroom of the future.  In fact I often hear a lot being said about schools integrating technology into the classroom.  Often evidence of this is that the school has LCD projectors in every classroom.  How is this much different from the modern day equivalent of the overhead projector?  I know what you’re going to say, “overhead projectors can’t show clips from youtube.”  Valid point, but an iPhone in the hands of my 83 year old grandma is pretty much just a phone and although we talk-up the use of technology at our campuses, its frequency of use is often generational.

So toss out the old teachers, right?  The other day I pulled out much of my hair trying to explain to some “older” teachers how to use googledocs and was amazed to find out that one of  our teachers was unaware that if you double-click on a file it will open automatically, which she remarked is much faster than highlighting and selecting open from the drop-down menu under File.  Obviously tech coordinators have their work cut out for them.

So how should schools work to integrate technology with critical thinking (something I’m sure our old teachers are good at developing)?  They could start by reassessing what kind of students we want to leave our schools and enter the workforce.  If we want our students to be innovators, entrepreneurs and independent consultants as the future work environment will likely require from them we should shape our curricula to focus on realistic problems to solve and skills to develop.

I think this partly gets back to an idea I mentioned in a previous post about Entrepreneurial Learning, where teachers and schools deemphasize content and  reemphaize building skills.  Or in other words, allowing content to be the “landscape” that an artist uses to develop “brush skills.”  Maybe you’re thinking, “but that’s what we’re doing now.”  Good, if that’s true.  But as May approaches the biggest skill my students seem to be developing in their classes is their ability to do well on AP and IB exams.  This is a worthy skill to develop for the next couple years but loses it’s value for most students about 4 years after graduation.

In case your unfamiliar with featured image of this blog, the Laser Disc, was going to be the next big thing in technology until the DVD showed up.  

Author: Andy Aldrich

Andy is a founder of Learn[ed]Leadership as well as a school administrator at Punahou School in Honolulu, HI. In addition to pontificating on ideas in education, Andy stays busy chasing after his daughter and impressing his wife with his big muscles.

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