EDs LetterAugust 2016
I’m often guilty of compartmentalising. In following news of political unrest over Brexit, the Syrian crisis, climate change, the rise of Donald Trump, the turmoil of our housing and dairy industries, I often fail to connect the dots of what it all means for New Zealand education.
And so I go about putting together my next issue, mentally pushing current events and global trends aside, failing to grasp that the future of education is inextricably linked with the direction our world is taking.
By now we all know that today’s students will encounter Jobs That Haven’t Been Invented Yet and New Ways of Working. We know this requires a bold new approach, but at times it is difficult to make the departure from the known to the unknown.
Fortunately for young Kiwis, this is very much top of mind for our educators as they grapple with how to deliver an education that is future-focused, exciting and relevant.
It’s easy to wrap the future of education up neatly in digital technology – and certainly this is a big and important part of it – but we also need to be mindful of possibilities that might exist beyond coding and robotics.
‘Possibilities’ was actually the theme of the recent #edchatnz conference, which I had the pleasure of attending at the impressive new Rototuna Junior High School in Hamilton. The conference encompassed pedagogy, change leadership, innovative learning environments, collaboration within and across schools, learner agency, digital technologies, and more – all the necessary ingredients required for a forward-facing education.
The real excitement lay in the fact that many of the ideas discussed were not merely notional; rather they were tangible concepts emerging in our schools before our very eyes.
Inevitably, there are budgets and bureaucracies to contend with at the same time. The challenge for educators is finding a way to continue to grow and develop these ideas in a way that is in step with policy and feasible within the funding envelope.
Jude Barback, editor