Jamais Cascio, a compatriot at Institute for the Future, recently gave a Keynote on the Future of Education at Moodle Moot. His talk covered quite a bit of ground, some of which is fairly disconcerting, as the implications in some cases are of "disruption" in its most negative connotation.
As I listened to his talk, I found myself wondering what the call to action is for educational pedagogy.
This is the result: if I were in charge, based on the challenges it appears likely that this world will face in the next couple of decades, the following list would be what would be covered over the 13 years of schooling. Imagine the most basic components taught to small children building to the most complex for high school students. But the idea is that these would be the core subject areas, rather than English, History, Math, Science, Language/Culture, and PE.
(1) Learning Skills. (Learning how to learn)
- Personal organization and study skills
- Emotional intelligence
- Project planning
- Conflict management
- Experimental Method & Problem Solving
(3) Technology Practicum. (A curriculum of the use of whatever technology is of critical use. For example, right now:)
- Social media (e.g. myspace, youtube, etc.)
- MS Word, Excel, and Ppt (or equivalent)
- Search skills
- Drivers' training and public transportation
- Home technology (safety, money, financial systems)
(5) Human Context.
- Political science
- Appreciation of arts and music
(6) Stress management.
- Food selection/preparation
- Practice of arts and music
Needless to say, this is rather different from the current pedagogy. If you've never looked into it, but are interested, here are the California Content Standards. In reality, I realize we're in a period of tightening conformity, so I have little hope that this kind of instruction will transform our disintegrated public schools. However the point of moodle and other software is to provide ad hoc and open lessons available for those who choose to take them.
What I did there was scrunch all the liberal arts "common knowledge" courses into one bucket, but I expanded the bucket. Similarly, I put science and math into the same bucket but added experimental practice and technology.
Then I also took both the sciences and the arts and divided them into two parts: the theory and the practice. The theory remains relevant because the point of school is to give us this shared context. However, explicit practice in both technology use and the creation and dissemination of new communication forms is also critical.
Beyond that I added the practical topic of learning skills, which includes conflict resolution and emotional intelligence, two things that are absolutely fundamental to maintaining an effective society and so of course we never teach them in school...(!) And equally key is the ability for people to manage their own health. For kids, the biggest issue is usually how to manage their stressors, so instead of Physical Education (and drug/sex education) alone, integrating that into a larger curriculum of (physiology-based) stress management. As the earth undergoes stress it will be even more critical for people to be sophisticated in how they manage their own health.