Opening up thinking about education today for tomorrow - Imagining possibilities and solutions

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A twenty-first century child

Recently I used the passage, I am Jarrod, at a recent presentationJarrod is one of my nephews.

The passage is an adaptation of one originally written by Hedley Beare that he uses in his book, Creating the Future school. Hedley uses Angelica in his passage, "I am the future's child". I have adapted the passage and have used it many times in presentations. The interest in others wanting a copy has prompted me to post it here.

Jarrod - a twenty-first century child

I am Jarrod and I am five and a half. I was born in the 21st century. On present life expectancies I will probably live until I am over 80. My children will see in the 22nd century. I was one of 3 out of every 100 babies that were born in a developed country. I am a Christian living in Australia. I will grow up in a non-Christian, non-European region of the world - the Asia-Pacific.

My world will be smaller. People will move about and communicate more easily across the globe. The main world language may not be English - it may well possibly be Mandarin. The world's population will explode and there will be several super-cities with over 8 million people in each. Several of these will be in Asia. These cities will bring with them increased poverty.

The environment will concern me. Global warming, food production and sustainability will be problems to be addressed.

Technology and its use will continue to grow and shape the world. I will be faced with moral and ethical issues around human reproduction, genetic engineering, aged care and health, the use of technology to improve the quality of life for some at a cost to others.

Commodities will no longer be materials, like production. The new commodities will be non-material, such as technical skills, brain-power and know-how. I will be a creator of ideas and solutions and an empathiser ina conceptual age.

I was learning before I started school and learning wont stop when I finish school; and I continue to learn outside of the school day.

I am not a blank slate nor an empty vessel waiting to be filled. I have ideas. I create. I problem-solve. I am learning about my world and the people in it. I am learning about myself, about the space around me, about objects. I am wired to learn. I want to learn. Each day I am learning more, building on what I already know. I use my will, my ingenuity, my effort and my expertise to learn. I am learning language and I am thinking. I am solving problems and I am applying what I know in my world. I want to show others what I have learnt. I am asking questions.

I will learn as much from TV, through the internet and through social networking as I will learn in school. I will have absorbed, and have started to absorb a US frame of reference on the world, with its values and culture. World-wide more people will be Moslem than Christian. Confucian characteristics will shape the Asian economies. I will need to learn to live comfortably in a multi-cultural, multi-national, multi-faith world.

I will need to know what I stand for. I will look to school for my values and beliefs. I am uncertain about the future and holding onto the past won't help me.

Digital technologies will change my access to information. Technology will become smaller, more mobile and more flexible than computers. I won't need a teacher to provide me with information. Knowledge will no longer be managed as subjects and classes with teachers as gate-keepers. Knowledge will be a web of interconnections. The curriculum will be influenced by national and international concerns. My teachers are important to me because they tell me how to deal with the future - the long, long future.

I will see the world differently.

Do you know what to teach me?

Do you know what I need to learn?

Do you know how to teach me?

Do you know how I learn?

I am Jarrod. I am 5. And I am in one of your classrooms now.

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