The NEXT Wave

In recent issues we’ve shared stories from writers who have talked at length about the unprecedented changes that are taking place in the world around us, and from last week we shared excerpts of posts that were focused on the impact those changes are likely have on the world of work that our young people will soon be part of.

But what of the impact they are having in our schools?

While  it’s reasonable to assume that through EML and other resources most of our subscribers now have an increased awareness of changing world context in which our schools now function, but so what? Awareness doesn’t necessarily equate to action, and after all, that is what people want to know more about.

What are the implications for schools and more importantly what are schools now doing to respond to these shifts?

At EML we think it’s time we shared more of those stories. It’s time that we heard from some of the innovative leaders from across the globe who are taking up the challenge of reimagining what school could and should be for our young people who will be entering a very different workplace in the 2020’s. So in coming issues we are broadening our focus and we’ll sharing those stories on a regular basis.

These are schools that understand this new reality and want to create learning environments that better reflect the changing world around them. They are schools that are letting go of practice and process that is no longer relevant, and looking for ways that digital richness may allow them to explore and discover new ways of engaging students.
Individually they are taking small steps, collectively it is the start of something much bigger; something we might call the NEXT Wave. This is thinking that is post-change awareness, and post-technology access; it’s not about whether we should, but rather how we can. The NEXT Wave is grounded in the realities of schooling in our society and it is about the emergence of new thinking and new ideas about what this new reality is, and how it is starting to gain momentum.

We were interested in the recent post by Sandy Speicher, who heads the education portfolio at design firm IDEO, who was discussing where innovation in education should come from, and she said…

So many questions are discussed around innovation in education — Are things changing too fast? Too slowly? Should the innovations come from the ground, or from the government? If it doesn’t scale quickly is it worth it? Will technology save us? Or is the answer in our teachers? Do we really need to redesign education? Or do we risk losing something we’ve already got figured out.

Tim O’Reilly wrote last week about the urgent need for a broader dialogue around the NEXT:Economy. If he’s right (and we think he is) about the need for “ a focused, high-level conversation about the deep ways in which computers and their ilk are transforming how we do business, how we work, and how we live,” then we would add…and how our young people learn.

Too often in the past we might have looked for answers that simply weren’t there. If we keep asking for schools or classrooms of the future, we’ll ignore the present which is about identifying the emerging components of this NEXT Wave which is now coming from the innovative practice and powerful ideas from within some exceptional schools. While we’ve touched on some of these earlier through our podcasts and Masterclasses, we want to dig a little deeper and so in coming weeks and months we’ll share leader’s stories from those schools.

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