What’s changed since you left school?
Watching my daughter grow up, I can’t help but compare how different school was when we were our children’s ages — no mobile phones, no internet, no social media…and no IoT! Working for an intelligent IoT messaging company, every day I get to experience firsthand the changes coming, changes that allow us to talk to our “things” as easily as we talk to each other.
Sadly, the one thing that has not yet changed in most school systems is the schooling itself, how we teach. Our “modern” school system was designed in 1893. 125 years later, this knowledge-based approach is not preparing our children for the near-future world where they will need the skills to not just work alongside robots but to manage our world’s increasingly ubiquitous Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Earlier this year at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Alibaba founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma said, “If we do not change the way we teach, 30 years from now we will be in trouble. Only by changing education can our children compete with machines. We have to teach something unique so that a machine can never catch up with us. Children should be taught ‘soft skills’ like independent thinking, values, and teamwork.” I’ve never agreed with Jack more.
Each child begins their life with a creative hunger. Children approach their new world with curiosity, with questions, and with a desire to learn about the world around them and themselves through play. Curiosity is one of our most basic human impulses. Our school education systems should nurture, not squash this most basic of human characteristics.
While I’ll always be the concerned mom, I have faith that just as IoT has transformed other areas of our lives — including our homes, cities, and enterprises — it will also transform our education systems. Take the example of learning fractions. What if IoT could automate the now manual process, customizing it for each student. Teachers would then be freed to invest their time in more personalized instruction to foster the creativity, critical thinking, and empathy that is so greatly needed in the next generation.
We are already seeing new education ideas and alternatives pop up. We are growing more comfortable with the need to rethink our education systems just as we have rethought other parts of our lives to leverage the capabilities now available to us with cloud-connected software, services, chatbots, and devices.
What do you think? How do you think IoT can improve our 125-year old educational system?
About the Author
Rosina Haberl is UIB’s Head of Operations. Connect with her on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/rosinahaberl/.