Dr. Maryrose Caulfield here. I’ve just returned from a wonderful vacation, visiting relatives and relaxing in the same lush green countryside of Northwest Ireland that inspired Yeats. Visiting the mountains, including Benbulben, which gives way to fields of sheep, cows and horses before rolling down to the ocean, served to both refresh and invigorate.
The conversation inevitably turned to education, the family business. My Irish cousins have children of their own who are now attending school. Their concerns felt so familiar, as they mirror the same expressed by parents in “the States.”. This moment highlighted for me how these concerns, articulated by parents both at home and abroad, are even more poignant when framed against the backdrop of anticipated future world uncertainties.
It occurred to me just how ubiquitous “school” is, not only in America but around the world – and how so many people are currently questioning whether their children and their generation by extension are being adequately prepared. What concerns me is the rapidly developing future for these students. Children starting Kindergarten this fall will eventually graduate into a world which will be vastly different from the one we currently have. What keeps me up at night is the question: if parents and society are concerned about education allowing students to meet g today’s challenges, how will it possibly meet the needs of the graduates of 2030?
World leaders can no longer identify with certainty the top five problems we will be facing over the next five to ten years. Experts identify and anticipate tectonic, mega-shifts in the world from today’s realities. . For example, according to the World Economic Forum, there will be an impact of disruptive change on existing skill sets as dictated by our changing global economy:
“During previous industrial revolutions, it has often taken decades to build the training systems and labour market institutions needed to develop major new skill sets on a large scale. Given the upcoming pace and scale of disruption brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, however, this may simply not be an option.
For example, current technological trends are bringing about an unprecedented rate of change in the core curriculum content of many academic fields, with nearly 50% of subject knowledge acquired during the first year of a four-year technical degree outdated by the time students graduate, according to one popular estimate.13A focus on the state of the talent pipeline for traditional formal qualifications and ‘hard skills therefore risks dramatically understating the scale of impending skill set disruption if a large part of the existing subject knowledge of the current workforce will be outdated in just a few years.”
We need to provide our learners with skills for a time beyond our current economic and technological reality. An overwhelming task, but one that I know is within our reach. The time has come for real change in education where our focus as educators swings from the imparting of information to one of skills acquisition needed for the year 2030. The work is developing students as ongoing learners, and as is so often the case, it will be our task to serve as models of an essential adaptability for our students.
So there it is – we as educators must become the change. We must become the future! ( I know, I know. Simple right?) In light of the challenges posed by these futuristic needs, it is my intention to be a source of support and provide a wealth of resources for educators struggling to meet the future head on. It is my pleasure to launch the resources section of this website! Feel free to make any requests, ask questions, and leave any comments and recommendations you may have via my contact page. I am always interested in learning how to better serve and support our community.
Education has become a “brave new world!” Enjoy the journey!