Articles and Reports For Educators
Several important issues related to the future of our education system have been reported on over the years. From struggling schools to technology’s impact on the future workforce, students and educators are facing an uphill battle to compete on a global level. Here are some important articles and reports that talk about such key issues.
“How to Bring Our Schools Out of the 20th Century” (Time, 2006)
Schools and education in the United States seemed to get stuck while the rest of the world kept advancing. The result is a system that’s under-preparing America’s children to compete in the global economy. However, the author argues, students are less prepared because of more than just low test scores. Rather, children aren’t able to work in teams, speak other languages, and lack the ability to think through abstract problems like their global counterparts.
The article outlines 21st century skills that students will need to develop to be successful in the future. While math and reading are important, scientific and technical skills are equally crucial. Children need to be able to think outside the box and across multiple disciplines. Developing people skills and acting more like a global citizen will also help.
Also presented is a good example of a school that’s bucking the trend, although its success lies in receiving corporate dollars to sustain its necessary budget – something all schools won’t receive. Other ideas include the creation of International Baccalaureate programs, with a pilot program being developed to bring I.B. to low-income students.
“Future Shock” (Edutopia, 2007)
This piece is an interview with futurist Alvin Toffler, who first came to fame when his bookFuture Shocksaid that people would be overwhelmed by an accelerated rate of technological and social changes. Toffler has also been outspoken about the state of the education system.
Toffler makes a bold statement right from the beginning of the interview, suggesting that the public education system should be shut down and restarted. He acknowledges the many wonderful teachers who work to make the best of their situations, but that the system is outdated and was set up to produce industrial workers.
He mentions that new technologies could lend to new ways to teach and learn with a school of the future that has some key characteristics. Among them include, a curriculum integrated across disciplines, teachers working alternately in schools and the business world, and a customized educational experience at a school open 24 hours a day.
“Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century” (MacArthur Foundation, 2006)
This MacArthur Foundation white paper takes a closer look at the “Participatory Culture” while better defining it. Firstly, a study suggested that over one-half of all teens have created media content and of all teenagers who use the Internet, one-third have shared their content. These teens are said to be involved in participatory cultures.
Such cultures allow for easy civic engagement and artistic expression, strong support for creating, and the ability to pass along what’s known to a novice. Examples of participatory cultures include Facebook, digital sampling, Wikipedia and podcasting.
The findings of the paper suggest that youth who have access to such cultures are more likely to succeed as they enter adulthood. The question becomes how do educators incorporate such cultures into their curriculum for maximum success? It becomes a matter of fostering specific social skills with full participation by society.
“Tough Choices or Tough Times (Executive Summary)” (NCSAW, 2006)
This is an executive summary report about the skills of the American workforce. It finds that workers at all skill levels are finding global competition and that many are at risk of having their jobs automated. Lower wages and technology are also root causes to declining jobs in the U.S.
The summary suggests that workers with a strong foundation in math, science, reading, writing, literature and the arts will be best prepared for future jobs. These creative types will command top dollar from employers across the globe, as not everyone can compete for these jobs.
The education system currently in place is outdated and needs to be refined. The system is extremely wasteful and recruits teachers from the less-able candidates who actually go on to college. The report has some ideas to better the education system and thus conversely improve the workforce.
“Ten Trends 2011” (CORE Education, 2011)
Every year, CORE Education publishes this popular list of projected trends in the field of information and communication technology in education. Developed by a team of qualified researchers, experienced educators and highly-skilled technology experts, this prognosis discloses specific eLearning technologies and practices that are expected to make an impact on eLearning in the coming year.
For each trend in the list, CORE provides three examples to illustrate how it is currently being used and how it is expected to impact the field of eLearning before year’s end. In addition to a detailed textual explanation, they also provide an educational video about the topic and a comments section for visitors to leave feedback, ask questions, make their own comments or share stories on the subject.