Calling Up for a Reboot of the Education System – Today!

Gran Canaria - Puerto de Mogan in the SpringSometimes there are days in the week where you feel you need to sit back, relax, breathe while you are counting to ten, acknowledge how you have been truly wowed by just bumping into one of those video clips that can surely leave a mark on you and not leave you indifferent from there onwards. Amazingly inspiring falls short of the kind of impact a 5 minute video I bumped into, earlier on in the day, had in me. Specially, that one clip that touches base on one of my passions: Education. And even more when that video was all about calling up for a reboot of the current education system. Never thought it could be so spot on! Have you checked out John Bordeaux‘s 5 Minutes Regarding U.S. Education? You should!

Like I have just said, earlier on today, my friend John Bordeaux (One of those folks who I can certainly recommend subscribing to his KM blog and smart tweetings, if you haven’t done so already…) tweeted  about a recent blog post he put together under the title "5 Minutes Regarding U.S. Education", where he describes a little bit what his recent participation has been like at a local IgniteDC event, where he spent about 5 minutes talking about one single topic over 20 slides and at a rather fast pace. Yes, indeed, that’s what Ignite events are all about.

Well, in John’s case, he did a wonderful job by introducing one topic that’s becoming, literally, hotter and hotter by the day, and probably about to explode any minute. He briefly spent 5 minutes talking about the current state of the U.S. education system sharing insights in his blog post along these lines: "Nevertheless, the state of U.S. education is somewhat dire […]", with one single hope: "[…] to begin the conversation, and trust we would have a more noble exchange of views than has characterized other public policy initiatives lately".

I knew, when he wrote that, that he was on to something. For sure! And he was, still is! What I didn’t know was what he was up to (I had to watch through the video clip itself); not sure whether he intended to portrait that message or not, but that’s how it came through to me: we need to reboot the education system NOW and starting working our way through the education system of the 21st century. And that conversation starts today!

Now, I know what you are going to say about John’s 5 minute inspiring Ignite appearance; yes, that he is talking about the U.S. education system and as such most other countries wouldn’t have to worry much about it, right? Well, how wrong! Just yesterday I bumped into another rather interesting and thought-provoking article (In Spanish), under the title "Prohibido Investigar" ("Research is Forbidden!"), that mentioned how the Spanish universities of La Laguna and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, both in the Canary Islands, ranked 47th & 48th (Out of 48th universities!) as far as Research & Innovation were concerned.

I’m not sure what you would think about that, but I find it rather uncomfortable, if not a bit too disturbing, to be honest. It got even better after I eventually went through John’s somewhat controversial and rather inspiring pitch of what our current education systems are missing to help prepare the world for a better future with the younger generations, now more than ever, needing to be really well prepared to lead us into the 21st century. All of us. Not just the U.S.

So when John concludes that we need to get the conversation going NOW (Not leaving it for tomorrow, but TODAY!!) it totally hit me that we *need* to do something. We just can’t keep up promoting and sending our children into a school system designed a couple of centuries back; we just can’t keep sending our children into an education system that hasn’t fully embraced technology whatsoever, and more than anything else, because of fear: fear to explore, to play, to be creative, to research, to share, to participate, to collaborate, to think, to make right decisions -or wrong ones, but learning from them!, to let command-and-control go, etc. etc.

We cannot longer tolerate (And I think that word describes it rather nicely…) sending our children into schools to prepare them for a work life where they won’t be able to apply anything of what they are currently learning, because by the time they get out of school / college it will out of date by two years already! In this time of the Technology Age we cannot longer afford providing our kids with tools to process information that were designed and developed decades ago! We need to move faster. Information is moving way faster than us already. We need to open up, smarten up, on our education efforts. Not for us, since it is probably too late already for most of us, but certainly for our children, because after all what do you think will be our legacy to them when they come around at a later stage and ask us about why didn’t we react to change an already rather weak and ill education system?

Do you have your answers ready? Do you think we would be able to afford not to prepare our younger generations to out-smarten us the sooner, the better? Do you believe that we would be capable of surviving in the long run as a species, if we are spending nowadays too much time preparing those younger generations for jobs that were designed for last century? I am not sure what you would think, but I seriously doubt it, to be honest. What about the ones for this century? Why aren’t we preparing them for those? 

That’s why I don’t want this blog post to be leaning towards the negative side of things; quite the opposite, just like John’s Ignite appearance was rather inspirational in getting the conversation going TODAY, at least, for me, here I am throwing out a challenge to all of those knowledge Web workers out there: when was the last time you offered to speak, participate or engage at some of your children’s school activities to start provoking that conversation?; that one of rebooting the entire education system, regardless of the country you live in.

Maybe it’s a good time now; hopefully, we would not be too late for it just yet, and if you would need that final gentle push check out John’s presentation embedded below:

Let’s go! Let’s do it!

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