(Photo credit: https://bit.ly/2PXbL9h)
In the past our world was literally the connection we had with our family and friends. Anything outside of that world was big and scary. It was only the brave who ventured beyond that comfort zone, and it was only those brave ones who moved the world forward. Needless to say the rate of change back then was slow because there were only a few trailblazers who had the energy to fight against the odds. Now everything has changed.
The new learners of today have the world (not at their feet!) but literally at their fingertips. The world they perceive on a daily basis is huge and endless and their notion of everything outside the world in front of them is no longer big and scary but fearless and exciting. Everyone today who has grown up with technology can see the world as theirs to do whatever they want with. Like-minded people can connect easily, ideas can spread at a click and there is considerably less worry about the monsters out there in the world waiting to get you.
This means that our young learners today are entering a world that is there for the taking. No need to leave your small town or country to make it big, you can get all your ideas and experience right there from your mobile phone. Exposure to what happens in the world is no longer something to be held by the few but transparency is demanded by all. Sooner or later there will be fewer and fewer dark corners that hide the unfairness and the world will demand that all things be declared in the light of day.
This is wonderful! But so too comes the other point which is the burden on education, as the future will be more about making sure our young learners truly understand the human condition. And, though we are all the same in many ways as humans, in that we all want love, shelter and a sense of belonging, we have to also understand the role of difference of opinion, diversity of beliefs and dreams, and that we are not perfect, we all have so much more to learn.
Navigating our way through this is the role of education in the future. Training and skill building will be important still but building the new world perspective will play a much bigger role than ever. In the past we were clear about who we were and anything that was different was scary and fearful. In the future it may be the other way around. We will be clear about the world but may find ourselves scary and fearful.
As a result of this new fearlessness, the rate of change in the world will increase at a rate never seen before. Our small narrow worlds will be torn apart, and we will be exposed for who we are.
This will bring about a change in the foundation of all future education, that our sense of self in the world and our perspective of doing what we have a passion for within all that will come down to the teacher’s engagement with the learner.
The role of the teacher will be more and more about how to navigate ourselves in a positive way so everything we do is a win-win for all.
Educationist Sugata Mitra has an interesting perspective on this. https://www.ted.com/speakers/sugata_mitra