Higher education certification – senior year at school including the pressure cooker situation of year 12 and the end of year exams, waiting to see your final results of schooling and then the waiting scenario for which universities might (or might not) offer you from your choices that you originally made over 3 months ago (although these could be altered in the meantime). Is there any wonder questions need to be raised about this process and the validity of it in our world of technology and connectedness?
Formal education of undergraduate students and certification of skills are theoretical and often far removed from the practical and on the job training of yesteryear when the basics were taught in the classroom or lecture hall and the majority of the workplace training was in a practical sense in the field and assessment was individual and targeted towards the needs of the student. This is the model that many trades still adopt, although the “white collar” jobs maintain the formal institution of education is the path to knowledge, skills and certification.
Mark Barnes and Jennifer Gonzalez, authors of Hacking Education suggests many ways to gather practical information for employment and education which does not require students or anyone with a passion for learning to enroll in an education institution. They can attend lectures and learn from a variety of experts (who may or may-not all “belong” to the same institution) the benefits of this would be for the students to gain an education that is impartial and unbiased and a true reflection on the student’s needs and passions.
Far too often we hear the statement “you can’t keep doing things the way it has always been done in education” because this will be to the detriment of students and their futures. In classrooms across the world we constantly see ‘pockets of change and innovation’, but we have not seen a systemic change in education in over 100 years. If this occurred with the medical industry we would still be suffering pandemic diseases and childbirth would be a deadly endeavour. Education must adapt to the information revolution.
Some questions I have; although answers I don’t have are: When are further education institutions going to change the way they accept students, from using the scores of a standardised test taken on one day in the student’s life, to something more reflective of the working world and ask students to show their application and passion for a field of study? When are we (educators, students and adults) going to stand up to the bureaucrats and politicians and demand a change to this system that is no longer serving the needs of our students or our futures? TEDxBiose talk by Kate Simonds I’m Seventeen is a clear indication of the frustrations and changes young people want to see.
We often see and hear about “21 Century learning” and how this is the way all students should be taught (even though we are 16 years into the 21st Century!). At a recent professional learning event Andrew Douch (@andrewdouch) of Evolve Education stated in our world of internet access and information “knowledge is not valuable, what is more important is what we do with that knowledge”. To support students with this transition we must make systemic changes and embrace the access to technology and information. George Couros (@gcouros) would suggest that using digital portfolios developed throughout a student’s education would best demonstrate skill development and mastery. I would suggest that if this form of record of growth is not available, students should START NOW to develop a learning portfolio to showcase skills and the application of knowledge in a learning context.
Please share your suggestions to help others make systemic changes about: how you are making changes to the education system you are working within?