As the pace of change in the twenty-first century continues to increase, the world is becoming more interconnected and complex, and the knowledge economy is craving is more intelligent individuals. So it is critical that we shift our focus from education to life-long learning. If we are willing to view learning from new perspectives then we can enhance learning. Everyone needs to realize that the students we teach are growing up in a technological age. This means that they learn differently than we do.
The global competitiveness environment has indeed changed over the past decade. Other countries, such as China and Japan are making tremendous gains in science and technology. America is falling behind. Corporate executives are looking for a degree in the required field but the skills that are being found most valuable in a candidate are collaboration, communication, and creative problem-solving. These are skills that are harder and harder to find in candidates.
Education of the future will enforce studio-based learning. Studio-based learning is where every child can see what every other child is learning. This is critical so that every child can witness the thinking processes of others and understand the thinking behind it. Children can then pick up skills from other students. Students start to learn to appreciate the learning process because they learn from their struggles, missteps, and successes. This is done in an educational setting through technology-based learning. Children interact through blogs, websites, text-messaging, and games to learn socially.
Children learn better this way because they are able to retain information longer. It is proven that the more children review material the longer the retention time will be. If children review concepts daily through blogging with each other they will understand the material better and retain it longer.
Our children are the most technologically advanced generation yet — many of them headed for careers that don’t even exist today. Our children learn through technology. They have gaming systems that they interact with everyday and are successful. What if we build education around the gaming process? That is we create an education system that is both interactive and project-based. The children would then use blogs and websites to interact with each other about their successful projects, to ask for help when they are stuck, and to discuss information to review concepts or materials. Would children be more adaptive to the education process if we created an environment in which they are learning job skills that they would actually be able to use in the future? The answer is yes. Most children go home and play virtual games every day for hours and hours. If the education system was built on this the students would be more interested in learning. Children would also get the skills that they needed in a job setting such as critical thinking, collaboration, and problem-solving.
We need to keep teaching Standard English (which we do). Children need to be taught the difference between formal and informal language (which we may or may not do). Finally, there should be a level of acceptance, rather than strong opposition to, the way children write (which we definitely do not do). Think of it as project-based learning. Children must rearrange Standard English to come up with their own texting language, and what we want them to learn is Standard English.