In the mornings, we business-centered adults and our children go to two different places. We rush to our office, to a dynamic environment. We sit in a conference room and analyze situations and examine possibilities, and make decisions based on analysis and research.
But our children go to school, usually to a building whose layout is largely unchanged since the Industrial Revolution, with different ages on each floor and in each room, like machinery in a factory.
Our children enter the classroom and usually spend five to six hours sitting in front of the teacher. They are required to listen to the teacher and prepare for tests that will define their ability. Sometimes, if a child struggles to keep up, s/he acquires a negative self-image.
Being a school student is very hard work!
Teachers work hard. They have to deal with a high percentage of children with attention problems. Every year, the percentage of reported attention problems increases. It’s obvious why: the children’s environment is different to that of the classroom. They live with their smartphone games, achieving higher and higher levels in the virtual environment they can control. But when they enter the school gates, they go back to 1820.
The schools though, do make great efforts to be relevant and contemporary. School Principals are open and ready for the changes that need to come. However, although education systems have huge budgets, the resources allocated to developing and adapting the virtual world into the classroom are very small.
I am part of an Ed Tech group of crazy people who develop apps and ways of learning that are tailored to our digital era. But we are all struggling with small budgets and investors who do not see the economic potential of the education sector. We have come up with ideas to change how children learn and have applied them successfully in the fields.
Recently I heard in the corridors of the Ministry of Education about the intention to remove smartphones from the schools. It is a decision that can leave the virtual world in the hands of non-educational interests and thus affect our children and the next generation.
On the other hand, if the education system understands that to a child, the smartphone is a learning tool and investors will decide that education is an economically viable sector, we will all benefit as a society.
As someone who has been in education for almost 30 years, I see in the future that the familiar model of the Industrial Age school will disappear. Learning will be personalized and carried out within the family, using the virtual world. The buildings of the schools will be used for community and leisure activities.
The development of the virtual world as a learning tool will use the same tools that you as managers use: exploring, analyzing situations, drawing conclusions and making decisions. This is because the virtual world is an educational tool and not an educational goal.
I invite investors and business people to take an interest in education, not as philanthropists, but as investors, to create for our children the virtual world in which we adults work.