We can succeed only by concert. It is not “can any of us imagine better?” but, “can we all do better?” The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise — with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country. (Lincoln, 1862).
In his video “Bring on the learning revolution!” Sir Ken Robinson discusses the need for transformation and innovation in education. As an analogy to demonstrate differences in the way educators and learners think, he describes a wristwatch. Most educators grew up in an age where wristwatches were a necessary piece of equipment that most of us had, and many of us still use them. But most of our learners have grown up in a time where tools are multifunctioning and multipurpose. The time and date can be gleaned from the handheld device in their hands. So why would we need something strapped to our wrist?
To keep up with changing trends such as this, the smart watch was developed. This meets the needs of those who want to strap a device on their wrist to see the time and date, but also the needs of those who want a multifunctioning tool. Smart watches track fitness and movement and remind us when we need to stand. They connect to our handheld devices, and alert us to text messages and calls that we might be missing otherwise. Like wristwatches, they can be dressed up or down with varying bands. Smartwatch faces can be digitally customized to match our mood, the colour of our suit, or with a picture we’ve taken. The smart watch is far more than simply a wristwatch… it’s a tool that connects us to other devices and apps… a tool that connects us socially… and so much more. So if the business world can respond to changes in the ways we live, think, and learn, why can’t education?
We see pockets of reform, but not much in education has been truly transformational. Incorporating technology helps, but that’s just part of the solution. Our learning environments were designed during an industrial time with an intentionally long break in summer at a time when air conditioned buildings were things of luxury for the very rich, and families would leave their homes to take long vacations in cooler climes. (De Melker and a Weber, 2014). But educators have observed that students experience an academic decline during this long period away from school. So isn’t it time that we revisit this model?
We need to follow the lead of business and industry and change the way our schools operate to better meet the needs of our learners. To maintain a competitive edge, the business world studies trends and is responsive to changes in those trends. In the words of Abraham Lincoln: “As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.”
De Melker, S. and Weber, S. (2014). Agrarian roots? Think again. Debunking the myth of summer vacation’s origins. PBS News Hour. Retrieved from https://www.pbs.org/newshour/education/debunking-myth-summer-vacation, 29-August-2018,
Robinson, K. (2010). Bring on the learning revolution. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9LelXa3U_I, 27-August-2018.