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Learning@schools 2011 opening speaker Scott McLeod

Scott McLeod (USA) is the opening speaker.
Topic: two big shifts and one big problem: the growing disconnects between schools and our digital, global society

I think this will probably be the most important talk for me for this conference.

This is his website where you can see what his presentation looked like.

He proposes sitting down with MPs and politicians and sharing the new landscape with them and clarify what changes are important.

He talks about the massive shifts in our time, this is a time of huge change- economic and climate, etc.
One of the most significant is the movement to web, not just small ones, like purchases, but also massive ones like romance, social contact. McLeod makes the parallel to the development of the printing press, but particularly in the rhetoric and alarms around the change, and also the changes in SOCIETY, that is, that masses of information is available to the masses. Third party intermediaries are being removed from the PUBLISHING end. Anyone who wants to be heard can be. (The change before was ACCESS to information.). Before, we had a ‘push’ out society, now we have more of a dialogue, collaborative society.

We all now have a voice; we can find each other; we can work together.

AND it is mobile.

Tis is now an active space, not a passive space. A place where things are created between people.

Disruptive innovation by Christenson
The blue lines are the disrupting innovation. These are major game-changers, the ideas that change the way we think about the world, that replace the things that came before.

These technologies and the current changes are the disruptive innovation. MY question is WHAT IS THE DISRUPTIVE INNOVATION FOR EDUCATION?

‘In education, universities would love for you to come to classes.’ Scott McLeod

‘All the companies that revolve around information need to change rapidly and radically or we are going to go under. How long can we pretend that the changes that are affecting other areas of society are only going to need minor changes, or added value, etc. The changes are DESTROYING certain groups in society; education is on the list.’

Effect of major economic shift
Jobs that are location dependent versus location independent. There are certain jobs that you can locate ‘offshore’. (If the factory work is going overseas, then the reason for training people to be good factory workers through school is also disappearing. What does this mean for education?)

Also a decline of routine mental work, because the jobs can be done anywhere, by any body.

Also, disappearance of cognitive labour with machines. Like making own reservations, checking own groceries. Even accounting functions, etc.

The only area of growth is around ABSTRACT, COGNITIVE work in the developed world. Think key skills, key competencies, etc. (NZC)

Three types of work:

  • Low skill, low wage
  • Low skill, high wage
  • High skills, high wages
  • The problem is that job brief in the middle range is disappearing. NZ’s economy is staying somewhat stable based on low skill, medium wage jobs. These are the cafe owners, tourist industry type jobs.

    ‘Can someone overseas do it cheaper, can a computer do it faster? If answer is yes, your job is GONE.’

    Therefore, we need to farm out all the stuff in teaching that someone overseas can do cheaper or that a computer can do faster, and focus on the ABSTRACT COGNITIVE work that is location dependent. What might these things be?

    McLeod says that he would advise the politicos and MPs, etc, to invest in the ABSTRACT COGNITIVE work. Not to protect what we have already, but to invest in the future.

    What we need to do is make students

  • Societally functional
  • Creative
  • ‘Does the pedagogical foundation of the 1800s prepare our students for the future?’ Scott McLeod

    ‘No generation in history has ever been so thoroughly prepared for the industrial age.’ David Warlick

    What implications are there for New Zealand schools?

    (Okay, but how do we motivate students to engage in education in this manner? A certain amount of this has to do with being self-motivated?)


  • Live above the red line (in upper end of Bloom’s,) everyday
  • Pull in technological tools to do this.
  • Loads of things to do:

  • Every kid, every home will need broadband.
  • Teachers need equipment.
  • Students need robust equipment.
  • Low to no cost online textbooks, greater flexibility of funds
  • Need to focus on training etc
  • Need to make radical change rather than small incremental changes.
    Need to make huge changes rather than waiting and reinforcing what has happened in the past.

    Time to devise whole new way of teaching, learning, pedagogy.

    BUT if the leaders don’t get it, then it won’t happen.

    Big questions

  • In an era where the Internet is at your fingertips, why do we ask students to memorize?
  • In an era where you can keep all your stuff online, what do we do with certification?
  • When are we moving to exponential rather than incremental change?
  • What happens to libraries and librarians if the texts are electronic. Should we still be calling them books?
  • What percentage of my job requires me and addresses abstract cognitive work?
    What percentage of education is involved with this higher level? Is an hour enough? No.

    Teachers, educators need to market ourselves, inform our policy leaders about what is needed.

    February 22, 2011 - Posted by | pedagogy, technology | , ,

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