Education That Prepares for the Future


Why Education must be prepared for the future?

In a rapidly changing society, education cannot and must not lag behind. After all, education has the important task of preparing the citizens of tomorrow for the future. That is why education must move with society and it must be constantly open to innovations and renewals. The teacher has an essential part in this, and will also be indispensable in the future.

Movement and resilience

Society is currently subject to a number of major developments, says Mazen a chairman of an education council. "Think of internationalization, flexibility in the labor market, individualization and decreasing social dependence, and of course digitization." Education will have to take these developments into account if it's to prepare students for the future. With future-oriented education, we look at what will be needed for the student and society. It must be estimated what the future scenarios are, and what requirements and risks they entail. According to her, this requires resilience from the education system. "In part, education has to keep up with social developments, but it must also resist things that may be hypes. " For this reason, educational institutions must be able to properly assess the impact of social developments and then assess whether they are structurally adapting education or only small parts of it.

Digitization of education

Digitization in particular has a direct effect on educational institutions. Maassen van den Brink: "We can no longer ignore technological development. That is a running race; everyday life is so aware that not digitalising isn't an option for schools. " Yet many schools are still lagging behind in digitizing their education. According to her, this is mainly due to the lack of a vision: how can digitization support and strengthen the educational goals? Digitization is a means to improve education, not an end in itself, emphasizes Frans Schouwenburg, advisor Education innovation with ICT at Kennisnet. The use of ICT must be a natural process that contributes to the achievement of the educational goals. He also sees that many educational institutions are struggling with digitization. "We see a lot of progress, but also setbacks and doubts. ICT competence is important, for example, but how do you achieve this if there is a teacher shortage? How do you free people to dive into this? "

In addition to a missing vision, the preconditions such as the digital infrastructure are often not in order, Mazen adds. She said schools shouldn't have to worry about old computers or having a fast internet connection. All institutions should have a fast fiber optic cable and new computers. The government should unburden schools and ensure these preconditions. In addition, technology and teaching materials should be disconnected, she says. Currently, each school has its own infrastructure and they work with the technology that comes with their chosen teaching material. As a result, the exchange of material and data between schools is practically impossible and schools cannot simply switch teaching materials. In this area, therefore, good cooperation between the government, schools, publishers and software providers are of great importance. "It is really about well-considered digital learning, where the student must always come first. There is too little knowledge, too little time and too little money for schools to do everything themselves. "

Reinforcing learning

It is important that educational institutions embrace digitization, and not just because they 'cannot be left behind'. Schouwenburg explains that the digitization of education offers great opportunities. For example, students can be better followed by means of software and the teaching material can be adapted to the student. It also ensures that learning can be done anywhere, anytime. In addition, ICT can play a supporting role in inquiry-based learning, in which students are brought into authentic situations by means of research assignments. This prepares them better for working life.

Finally, digital education makes it possible for students to master digital skills. Examples include interpreting information, media literacy and computational thinking.

In these four applications of technology, it's very important that the focus is on the personalization of education, and not on individualization, Schouwenburg emphasizes. Digital learning must therefore be used as a way of working within the social and pedagogical environment of a school. That is why there must always be a good mix of online and offline learning. "The role of the teacher remains essential to achieve the goals of education. These are learning to live, learning to learn and learning to work. Education not only aims to qualify students, it also has a socializing function and contributes to personal development. "

Role of ICT

Mazen shares the opinion that the teacher remains essential in education. She argues that, on the one hand, ICT can provide customization by differentiating the teaching material at all levels, but that care must be taken to prevent excessive differentiation from being at the expense of social cohesion in an educational institution. For parents and pupils for whom it's not self-evident to find their way in education, the use of ICT can also have consequences for equity due to costs and choice of individual programs.

A teacher will have an important role to play in ensuring equal opportunities for all learners. "The teacher is also indispensable for the formulation and successful implementation of educational innovations, such as the use of digital teaching materials", Schouwenburg adds. He therefore argues that teachers should also be critical of the providers of teaching materials.

Teachers of the future

The role of the teacher is also changing with the digitizing education system. In order to familiarize the students with the digital world, the teacher must also have ICT skills. "It cannot be the case that teachers who prepare children for the future aren't themselves prepared", Schouwenburg emphasizes. He indicates that every teacher should be able to guide a student in the world of digital media. Mazen adds: "He or she must be digitally literate, know what role ICT can play in solving complex problems and know how to deal with media use." She explains that in the past people could simply look things up from 'classical sources'. Now teachers must also teach their students the ability to interpret the quality of sources. When is something of a scientific level? In addition, it's very important that teachers have some knowledge of privacy legislation and data flows, says Schouwenburg, because everything that happens online will leave its mark.

Mazen states that apart from the additional skills that teachers must possess, it mainly revolves around the right motivation and attitude to deal with changes. Teachers must be resilient and be able and willing to embrace educational innovation. For although the role of the teacher will change, he or she remains at the heart of developing, acquiring and disseminating knowledge and the capacity of educational institutions to innovate.

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