I regularly walk around the school on tours with a potential new Mueller family. As we look through classrooms and engage with the student activities, the parents invariably make a comment along the lines of “School has changed a lot since I was there!” Indeed, education is constantly changing however the core tenets of schooling are timeless. One of the well-publicised adaptations to schooling in recent years has been the growth of student access to personal technology and devices, and the subsequent learning opportunities created by this access.
In fact, for a period of time it was considered to be so revolutionary that teachers would be made redundant. Happily, this is not the case and the teacher-student interaction and relationship remains the most critical dynamic in the schooling experience of children. However, the question has been posed in the recent “The Future of Education” report by prominent demographer, Mark McCrindle, about the impact technology will have on the job of opportunities afforded to high-school graduates. The youngest students in our school, Generation Alpha (born since 2010) will be the most formally educated and technology supplied generation ever. In fact, it has already been dubbed “the great screenage”.
It is a tremendous responsibility for schools and parents to train students well in their use of technology. As a school we have invested in this area recently with some new roles for teachers as Technology integrators as well as school-managed personal iPads for Years 5 – 9 and class sets for Prep to Year 4 students. The growth of technology in our lives can elicit alarmist and/or reactive responses however with wise choices it can be used in safely and in moderation. In fact, this is imperative as we all know the addictive nature of devices. To support families in this endeavour the “Tech team” ran an excellent parent night earlier in the year which provided a host of tips and strategies for the safe use of technology for families.
However, McCrindle reminds us in his report that whilst technology and automation continue to disrupt the Australian labour market there are many occupations which are at low risk of being replaced by technology. The key competencies of people in these roles are empathy, human interaction and individuality. In fact, based on his surveys, it is the belief that future-proofing students for jobs actually comes from developing skills which are people-focused, creative, leadership-oriented and involve high level communication. At Mueller, we strive to do these things well and know that the power of relationship and teaching, assisted by technology can create a rich and supportive environment for students.
“The Future of Education report” can be found here.
A recording of the Mueller Parent night for technology can be found here.