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.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

A more creative society

There seems to be a convergence of thinking around creativity, learning and schools. More and more it seems that creativity is a key feature of the "next age" in society.

Conceptual Age, creativity, creative minds

Dan Pink puts forward an argument that we are moving from the knowledge and information age and are now entering the Conceptual Age. The Conceptual Age is characterised by empathy and creativity.

The emergence of the Creative Class is a concept explored by Richard Florida, where he recognises a central role for talent and creativity in economic development.

The Creative Class is a class of workers whose job is to create meaningful new forms (2002). The Creative Class is composed of scientists and engineers, university professors, poets and architects. The Creative Class also “includes people in design, education, arts, music and entertainment, whose economic function is to create new ideas, new technology and/or creative content” (Florida, 2006, p. 8). Their designs are widely transferable and useful on a broad scale, as with products that are sold and used on a wide scale. Another sector of the Creative Class includes those positions which are knowledge intensive, these careers usually require a high degree of formal education (2002). Examples of this sector are health professionals and business management, who are considered to be a part of the sub-group called Creative Professionals. Their main job is to think and to create new standard approaches for fixing the problem at hand. Creativity is becoming more valued in today’s global society. (accessed 5th July 2009)

The importance of creativity is a theme that Sir Ken Robinson picks up on in his interviews, presentations and writings.

Sowing the seeds for a more creative society

I recently stumbled upon this clip of Mitch Resnick presenting at MIT Museum SOAP Box. His topic was Sowing the seeds for a More Creative Society.

The video is interesting in exploring themes of learning, collaboration and creativity. Mitch talks for about 30 minutes. The remainder of the time is facilitation and exploration of issues by participants with Mitch.

There are opportunities for schools to move from delivering information and ensuring good command of facts to spaces that allow students to work collaboratively to think and act creatively.

Working collaboratively to think and act creatively should be a central focus of what happens in learning - for students, teachers and leaders. In many schools this is starting to happen.


Resnick directs the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the Media Laboratory at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He has developed new technologies designed to engage people (particularly children) in creative learning experiences. These technologies include a program called SCRATCH, as well as LEGO Mindstorms.

Picture from: minezone/120962030/

Related Posts with Thumbnails