Education is the best way to address the challenges we face, and to ensure our kids will lead prosperous and meaningful lives. And yet, we are miserably failing at making sure our education system is preparing them for their future.
Sure, there is no shortage of lip service to the “school of the future”, and half-baked digitalization efforts abound. What is lacking, however, is the courage to question the entire system, and to courageously set the course for a new future that is already overtaking us with force.
The dire realization should now be clear to all of us: the future will be radically different! Worst still, it is coming so much faster than futurologists could have dreamed of – artificial intelligence, automation, augmented and virtual realities, blockchains, the internet of things and cyber currencies, cyber attacks and cyber wars – these are only offering a glimpse of things to come!
What about our children? They continue to sit still and be taught. Maybe with the help of an overpriced smartboard and learning management system, to give it some semblance of digitalization. The relevance of the learning content for their daily and future life? Sometimes questionable. And their motivation? Sinking toward zero.
Hardly anything is ever deleted from the curriculum; hopelessly outdated content competes for time and attention with future-oriented competencies. And this abundance of content from overloaded curricula can only be mastered with “binge learning” – if it can be managed at all.
Welcome to the reality of Generation Alpha, the first generation to grow up in a digital environment, but which continues to be taught as if the digital revolution did not exist. Yet their potential, skills and competencies have been fundamentally impacted by their “digital adolescence” – not to mention the demands that will be placed on them in the future.
Sounds like a bold hypothesis? We don’t think so.
What we do believe, however, is that paradigm shifts should not be initiated blindly, but on the basis of facts. It is all the more surprising, therefore, that in all the discussions about educational reform, the fundamental question seems to remain unanswered:
How do children and young people of Generation Alpha actually learn? And what impact has the breathtaking digitization of the last 15 years had on their skills, competencies, learning habits and learning preferences?
Only if we answer these questions and create a learning environment that enables our children to acquire contemporary knowledge and skills relevant to the future will we have fulfilled our most important task: to give our children the best possible support in preparing themselves for a future they may face with confidence!