Why tie learning to outmoded industrial models when current trends demand mash-ups?
Subject areas created for the needs of industry generations ago have become silos, we're told. So isn't it time to see learning as a 'mashup', where students use the subjects they need together for their required purpose - just like industry does for the 'fourth industrial revolution'?
Tune in to Education Fast Forward 18 (EFF18) live at 9am GMT on Monday (January 23) to join the OECD's PISA expert Andreas Schleicher and his panel guests debate this topic, "Preparing kids to succeed in the fourth industrial revolution", in front of world education leaders at the Education World Forum (EWF) in London.
EWF is held every January in Westminster at the beginning of BETT Week. It's typically attended by delegates from more than 100 countries, and they include around 80 education ministers. They want to know how to change learning and teaching in their countries, and how technology can change that.
'What works and what doesn't'
They are happy to share the progress of their own journeys so far, but what they really want to know before they encounter the hubbub and sales talk of BETT 2017 is what works and what doesn't. And that is exactly what Andreas Schleicher (pictured right) and his EFF18 collaborators want to share with them - and anyone else in the world who sits in on the debate via the internet.
Andreas Schleicher is director for education and skills and special adviser on education policy for the OECD (Organisation for Economic and Cooperative Development) and is best known for his leadership on PISA. Whatever your views on PISA - and there is plenty of criticism - the true value of his work is the comparative analysis, the focus on the levers for systemic change and the integral support for teachers and school leaders.
His presentations are legendary for their handling of statistics to reveal mechanisms for change (and stagnation), and Monday's should be significant for its focus on the most recent PISA results in the context of the 'fourth industrial revolution'. In fact fourth industrial revolution, 'silos' and 'mashups' may be regarded as jargon by some but they are useful analogies for the major changes taking place worldwide and their relevance for education.
Other popular analogies for this are mobile phones and drones. Where science, technology, media and marketing came together and created something that didn't exist before. Much like gestalt where the outcome is greater than a sum of the parts.
EFF18 is free and there's no need to register
It's absolutely free to tune into the EFF18 internet livestream and the internet audience can contribute and ask questions on social media (Twitter and Facebook). Your observations will be fed back into the live debate which is conducted on Polycom's high-quality video-conferencing network which also brings in EFF educators in studios across the world. Groups of teachers will also be taking part from the UK, USA, Norway, Zimbabwe, Latvia, Egypt, Poland, France and South Korea.
EFF18 will be chaired by EWF organiser Gavin Dykes, and the panel will discuss the recent PISA results from the point of view of the 'fourth industrial revolution'. Former US adviser to the White House on educational technology, Karen Cator, now heading up Digital Promise, will also be taking pa rt. Summing up the debate will be Dr Mmantsetsa Marope, director of the UNESCO International Bureau of Education (IBE).
EFF co-founder and leader Jim Wynn explained the context for the debate: "The first industrial revolution, in the 18th century, shaped the nature of education. Today the fourth is categorized as 'mashing up' different technologies into innovative things. And all this is challenging schools to rethink how subjects are taught.
'Without that set of skills you may well be unemployable'
"In the 19th century we had make sure we knew stuff: today we still need that but we also need to know about everything else. Physicists have to know about biology and business and unless you have an idea about aesthetics you aren’t going to sell your idea.
"So we move closer and closer to the need for education systems to be clear about how multi-disciplinary, collaborative problem solving, for example, can be brought into teaching and learning. Because without that set of skills you may well be unemployable soon.
"PISA 2105 focused on science education and has a lot of insights into what works and doesn’t work but it was also the start of a longer PISA journey into helping systems learn from each other about how to make the necessary changes. With 1 in 8 of the best problem solving scientists coming from China, we really do need to work out how to handle the change.
"EFF18 will explore what PISA 2015 has to say and try to use this to predict what changes need to be in place so that all of our children can embrace the 4th industrial revolution in their own individual creative and innovative way."
Education Fast Forward 18 (EFF18) 9am GMT on Monday, January 23
EFF18 is a collaboration between the EFF FOundation, the OECD, Imagine Education and Polycom