Hard-skills are those skills that can be learned and measured. Schools try to teach the necessary hard-skills students needed, and this can be broken down into three R's (Writing, Reading and Arithmetics.) Every child has the potential to be exceptional in all three Rs, giving them the skills to navigate through life. To reflect the needs of the 21st century, adjusting the skills students are offered in their formative years in education is essential. An additional skill will be programming, which is an extension of the read and write function.
With programming added to the three R's, practice is necessary. Hence why rote learning dominates public schools around the UK; however, this does not mean alternative learning methods are not available. Each student should be allowed to develop a solid foundation in the four R's. Another subject area is "physical movement". This is equally important to a students overall development in their formative years and should not be neglected. Exercise can be added as the fifth R.
How can the education system be automated to improve students learning process? Exploring the five R's (Writing, Reading, Arithmetics, Programming and Exercise.) At this very moment, the technology is available to automate all five categories providing students with personalised learning.
Why is the education system not making this a priority? If their agenda is to make sure that each student receives the best possible learning experience. Granting them access to the necessary resources will be a good start.
Reading, Writing and Programming.
When computer programming began in the 1950s, it was dominated by scientist and engineers which it still is to this day. However, things have changed in the last 15 years, with the advancement of high-level languages and open-sourced programs, which is closer to the everyday spoken English Language. In comparison to Low-level programming languages that are close to machine code and required numerous technical details. High-level programming languages can be quickly grasped by anyone who wants to learn to program. In today's environment, a lot of the task we perform with our technological devices can be automated, but the skillset to write such programs is missing.
The future world will increasingly require people that can program/communicate with technology. In that case, it is essential to expose students in their formative years to any high-level programming language as an extension of their reading and writing exercises. With practice, students will be able to pick up language syntax that is transferable to other programming languages. At the time of this writing in December 2020, python is the most popular high-level language used in the industry. There are basic instructions that appear in every language that students should be familiar with, as listed by Allen Downey in his book "How to think like a computer scientist". Input, Output, Arithmetics, Conditional executions and Repetition. If every student can grasp this concept, they will have the opportunity to excel in the future world, even if they do not want to develop the skills further at the very least they have the basic understanding of how to program/communicate with technology, beyond being a passive user.
Joy of rote learning.
Students are not aware of the skills gap they possess at the early stage of their life, and schools must fill these gaps with skills that enable students to flourish throughout their life. The issue with the school system is finding ways to keep students motivated for an extended period. This is where automation comes in handy, every student has an interest, and this interest is not always captured by the school system, as the system was not designed to be personalised to suit the learning style of the individual learner. A new automated system will have the capacity to understand individual interest through pattern recognition and displays contents that can assist the development of the chosen skill in question. Through this process, the student will self identify where there are deficits in their skill level for them to have an enriched and enjoyable experience with their interest.
Similar to a video game, until the player has amassed all the required experience points, they will not have access to the higher-level perks. The player now know what needs to be done and spends time performing the necessary tasks, and the learning process becomes enjoyable and meaningful. However, for this process to occur, using the game analogy. Every game has a base knowledge. An action as simple as knowing which button to press in order to jump, run, swim, fight or accomplish a combo move requires some aspect of rote learning. Video games also provide players with alternative methods, where the basic instructions are not provided for the player but learned as they progress or the option to customise the button to suit preferred play style. The customisation of the initial starting point is something the education system needs.
The goal of learning a skill is mastery, while education tries to expose students to an array of subjects. The internet can accomplish this more efficiently with the capability to be customised to the learners' interest, delivering the right content to match their experience level. Regardless of the chosen learning style, unconscious competence is the end goal, and the beginning is rote learning. Overall learning should be fun and self-directed, but a basic framework is an unfortunate necessity.