The other day my youngest child wanted to watch a movie. I suggested she’d check out the DVDs in the living room cupboard. She just looked at me blankly: “What? What’s a DVD?”
“Movie on a disc”, I said. She’d never heard of that before. She didn’t know what it was. She didn’t know movies could be on a disc. Streaming was her only relation to how to watch a movie.
I told her about how I and my sister rented a movie box sometimes since our parents never had a VHS recorder. “Weird”, she concluded.
I started using a computer in high school. My father had a laptop that you could carry if you were strong. Black and white screen. Separate station for floppy discs. You know those large, soft discs.
Now each of my children has a computer of their own with way much more processing power. They’ve been using iPads since before they could walk. The first time my youngest sat down in front of a computer, she started touching the screen, trying to open the programs. I told her it doesn’t work like that, you have to use a mouse and keyboard. She looked at me and asked, “Why?”
When I was a child, there were these pen pal agencies that you could send a letter to, hoping to find a pen pal in another country. I had a pen pal in Turkey that I found through such an agency. We would write each other long, handwritten letters every month. Telling each other about our lives. We kept going for a couple of years. I wonder how she is nowadays. I hope she’s well.
My kids are online every day. Chatting to people all over the world while playing Minecraft and other games. They play with friends who live in other parts of the country through Skype. We keep in touch with family living abroad through video calls. The world is a lot smaller for them growing up than it was for me.
As a child, I loved to create things from anything. What child doesn’t? My kids also love doing that, so that part hasn’t changed. But the tools that they have at their disposal have. Using their computer, they can design things to print out on our 3D printer. If they need parts for their quadcopter project, they can simply print them out.
But some things remain the same. I have kids in primary and grammar school. The methods and tools used in school don’t seem to have changed much. Apart from that, there is one computer in a corner of the classroom. Why is that? Everything else has changed quite a lot since I was growing up. How come school feels more or less the same?
”Don’t limit a child to your own learning cause he was born in another time.”
Most teachers know less about computers, programming, and new technology than the kids do.
Most teachers still present occupations such as policeman, firefighter, nurse or truck driver when discussing jobs with the children.
Most teachers, even though they are good at teaching maths, are stuck in ways of thinking that are no longer adequate. They are still educating all kids for a worker community. Like in the good old days, where you worked as a nurse at the same place your whole life.
But that’s no longer what’s needed, even less so in a near future. We need to educate our children for a knowledge community. We need to teach them how to constantly learn new things in order to adapt and reinvent themselves many times over. We need to teach them to be innovative.
Today’s school system is about to collapse. And maybe that’s what it takes? A total collapse for us to be able to build it up again. To see things in a new perspective.
“Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.”
Production will be more and more dominated by robots. There will be no place for humans there. We are too inaccurate. We make mistakes that no robot does. Humans are needed for coming up with the ideas that will keep our society moving forwards.
That’s what we need to teach our children.