What are they Learning?

A question in most parents mind at the present moment is, what his or her child is learning at school. 

The COVID pandemic has seen the uptake of remote teaching and the technologies to support such infrastructure is in high demand. Due to the lack of preparation and sufficient testing period, schools are finding it challenging to teach students due to the different pedagogy being adopted at various school but still expected to provide students with a balanced curriculum. 

With the reduction in classroom time, will it be possible for the school system to prepare students for their exams, especially GCSE and A-level? Time spent in school this academic year will be a significant factor when grading students in the summers, the Nothern part of the UK have been on lockdown more than the South meaning students up North are already at a disadvantaged. 

Parents should be concerned with the uncertainty and lack of structure with the 2020/21 academic year to a child's learning. The education system is very unforgiving with students who are not up to speed on where they need to be, and this can lead to them playing catchup for the rest of their school journey.UK public education is a liner system that keeps pushing each student forwards regardless fo their readiness to move to the next stage. 

The Education ladder

The current trajectory of the education system is to pass through kindergarten, nursery, primary school, secondary, sixth form or college, apprenticeship or university and there should be a good job waiting at the end. This model is no longer full proof because required skills in today's marketplace when students enter nursery will be obsolete by the time they graduate from university, due to the pace of innovation in the technology sector. The only solution is to have an education system that is dynamic to the needs of the skills market—making constant adjustments to provide students access to the right tools needed to reskill as they progress through their learning journey to keep up with the demands of the job market. 

We have established earlier that the role of education is not to focus on the job market but making sure that each student can get an understanding of "Self" and how they fit into the broader system. - Read "school needs a new definition.". At the same time, the current system can make incremental changes towards understanding each learner by understanding how they learn. 

* When tools are mentioned, it's a reference to technology that is already established in the real world but still hasn't been widely integrated into the education system. (e.g. Virtual Reality, Artificial intelligence and Machine learning, Cloud computing, 3D printing, Social Media etc.)

How are they Learning?

Parents will have to change their question from what are students learning to "how are they learning?" This shift in mindset is essential. The first question of "what are they leaning?" Is focused on a fixed outcome, and generally, parent don't seem to pay attention to how that outcome is achieved. Instead, the second question "How are they learning?" looks at the process of learning. If parents are paying more attention to the learning process, this will place pressure on schools to find innovative methods to make learning more engaging for the students.

Why is the learning process essential? The primary skill of today's society is a growth mindset. Students will be required to pick up a new skill continually, as life long learning will become essential both to satisfy personal curiosity or to help solve some of the current global problems. The ability to see the whole picture will be sort after, as more system become interconnected. Information now travels around the world almost instantaneously, which means ideas are blending constantly breading new products and services. 

Learning beyond 2D screens.

As technology advances, more people will find value in their work regardless of their physical location. The migration of skill will become virtual as we move past the limitation of the 2D screen with technologies such as virtual and augmented reality. 

Learning is a natural human ability and brings with it lots of fun and possibilities, but somewhere along a students life, the joy derived from learning is lost. This is an epidemic that has plagued modern education and needs to be remedied before the system becomes extinct. Educators like to stick with what works and look for reforms that have proven to work neglecting the rate of innovation in the real world—platforms such as YouTube, Udemy. Khan academy, LinkedIn learning, to name a few have made learning personalised and accessible at the users own pace.

Technology and the impact it has on learning is still being discovered. There is a lot of information, but the input of this information is limited. Currently, data presented to the brain is transmitted visually or audibly, which creates a separation between the user and the information on the internet. 

Neuralink is a company looking at creating a device that bridges the gap between our data-rich world and the human brain—providing medical solutions such as giving people with paralysis the ability to regain independence through the control of computers and mobile devices. Ultimately the device will give people the ability to communicate more easily via text or speech synthesis, to follow their curiosity on the web.

© 2020 Ikenaa

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