Identify the trend
Upon reading the Trends Shaping Education 2016 (OECD 2016) article I realise that the trend I identify closely with is ‘The Brave New World’. This looks at the pace of technological advancements and how these advancements effect our interactions both professionally and personally, along with the negative side of such interactions. It discusses how technological advancements are nonlinear, and exponential in their growth.
This trend has specific relevance in my position as a digital technology teacher, as I am always trying to keep up to date with the latest advancements so as to expose the students to them, allowing them to see how their future could be shaped.
Analyse the trend
There is a wealth of hard statistical data presented in the OECD (2016) report supporting the pace of technological uptake across the world. Internet use has increased exponentially, internet shopping has taken off, and people are thinking of technology as an integral part of their life. In all these statistics New Zealand appears above the OECD average, generally in the top 2/3rds of the data. As such we can infer that New Zealand society are quick adopters of new technology, meaning that teaching needs to keep pace with this adoption.
The Global trends: The Paradox of Progress (National Intelligence Council 207) report discusses how the adoption of technology leads to a change in how people live, work and communicate. This can be seen by the change in students video media consumption, a few years ago YouTube was the go to place for videos, now Instagram Stories is becoming the standard. With this change also sees an attitude shift in students. Personal observations show that they have lessening attention spans, places like Vine and Snapchat that show media in short bursts lead to this. Does this mean we need to change the way we deliver content? Should we deliver content in short bursts?
I feel the education system needs to adapt to these technological advancements, embracing them as a changing world, not resisting and trying to stay with the status quo. Mark Osborne, at an AIMS Specialist teachers conference in 2016, called the education system we are in now Education 2.0, we need to work towards Education 3.0.
Impact of the trend on education in NZ
The New Zealand curriculum has great potential to develop students to cope with this brave new world. The ‘front end’ of the curriculum deals solely with developing the attitudes of the learner towards learner, turning them into life long learners. Should we twist the education system so that the focus is more on the key competencies, and less on the achievement objectives?
The OECD (2016) report mentions that learning can be more personalised, students have access to many types of knowledge simultaneously, and can build learning networks that span the world. Does the role of the educator then become that of a ‘critical friend’, showing how to make the right online choices, how to discern the relevance and integrity of the information being found, and protect from potential harm.
It is exciting times.
Below is a infographic from the OECD (2016) report that shows the complexity of the ‘Brave New World.
National Intelligence Council. (2017). Global trends: The Paradox of Progress. National Intelligence Council: US. Retrieved from https://www.dni.gov/files/images/globalTrends/documents/GT-Main-Report.pdf
OECD. (2016) Trends Shaping Education 2016, OECD Publishing, Paris. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/trends_edu-2016-en
Osbourne, M. (2016) Presentation to AIMS Specialist Teachers at the Sudima Hotel, Auckland, September 23 2016