Thursday, November 26, 2015

Education for Tomorrow

At work today a few of us were talking about what life would be like when the robots took over.  While this sounds pretty sci-fiey this is actually a reality.  Specifically, what will we all do when pretty much all jobs are taken over by automation. The theory is that when automation takes over almost all jobs capitalism will need a major revamping or it will be dead. While this proved good conversational fodder for a while, eventually we moved to what will the curriculum be if students don't actually have to go to work when they grow up.  This led to a talk about how our curriculum is largely dictated by what the business world wants and has been so since the dawn of curriculum. 

In our reading, we looked at how video games are changing the landscape in a number of ways.  First off, narratives are being written for games that are remarkably sophisticated and engaging and are becoming more literary all the time.  If it has not happened already, eventually a great literary writer will sit down and write the great Canadian Video Game.  There is a good argument that a narrative created in a video game could be more impactful due to the interactivity of the medium. 

With all of these changes happening, what should we be teaching our students? In the past, we have been teaching them the "core curriculum" with a few other things as well but what was determining the "core curriculum"?  Actually, maybe the real question should be what should school look like?  do students simply study anything they want?  Who would they study with?  Anyone they wanted on the web?  Teachers? 

In our discussion at work (over a cafeteria pulled pork sandwich) I posited that one system could be people would study what they want with who they wanted.  Teachers would work online in their specific discipline and people would choose to study or not to study with them.  In this model there would be no core curriculum as people would only study what the wanted.  The thinking was that Society might actually benefit as people would go deep into the area of expertise they are interested in and this could result in exciting findings.  However, on an individual level, we would be losing out on the discovery of connections between disciplines and the general knowledge of the world.  Essentially, Society smarter; individual dumber. 

All this doesn't answer the question, "What does the curriculum look like for the future?"  A problem is that I think that a good chunk of us are basing our decisions on what we should teach on the same question that we have been using since the Industrial Revolution, " What will they need to get ahead in the working world."  I think we need to stop this thinking.  I think we need to begin to design the required curriculum around what students need to become good persons.  The obvious problem is that we have different ideas on what that means.  Fortunately, I have an answer to that.  I know.  Listen to me.  I will tell you what that means and we should all teach my curriculum and it involves how to make the best nachos.

1 comment:

  1. Great post Eric! You ask a lot of very interesting question is how do we teach today, what we don't know will exist tomorrow? Technology is changing daily and what we think is innovative today will be "old school" within a couple of years.
    PS..please send me your nacho recipe!!