Education is at a crossroads, and it’s becoming more and more clear that a full reimagination of school is now needed to best prepare our children for a fast-changing, globally-networked world of learning, work, and life. In our Modern Learners podcast, we discuss how these principles can provide a framework for educational change in your school.
#66 – Futurist Bryan Alexander: Stories of Change
All this month in the community we're talking about the theme of story, how the story of school and education is changing, and what we need to do to help create a new story for teaching and learning moving forward. And so along those lines, in this week's podcast I interview long time blogger, author, and futurist Bryan Alexander to help provide some larger contexts for how life stories are changing in general and how we educators might help our students navigate the next 20 or 30 years of transition.
I first met Bryan about 15 years ago at Middlebury College, and since then he's been one of my most respected resources for tracking how the world is changing and what those changes mean for education. Bryan is currently a senior scholar at Georgetown University and teaches graduate seminars in their Learning, Design, and Technology program. He recently finished Academia Next: The Futures of Higher Education for Johns Hopkins University Press (forthcoming fall 2019).
As you heard in that opening snip and as you'll hear throughout this conversation, we are in and are heading into some challenging times on a lot of levels. But despite the obvious headwinds, what I appreciated more than anything about this conversation is Bryan's unyielding faith in "Generation Z", that group of late teen and early twenty somethings in which he and I both have two children. Our question now is how do we prepare them to flourish in this moment, and how do we prepare the next generation of students that are coming after them.
Don't forget, at the end of the podcast I offer up three things that you can do right now to get your brain and your practice more deeply wrapped around the ideas that Bryan discusses in this podcast. And for more resources related to this episode, head on over to the Modern Learners Community and click on the "Podcast" topic.
Are Your Schools Tracking These “Trends” on the Internet?
What are the "Internet Trends" that educators need to wrap their brains around? That's the question Will and Bruce kick around as they take a deep dive into Mary Meeker's Internet Trends Report released last week. They don't discuss all 355 slides in the report, but they do pick out several top level themes and discuss the impact those trends will likely have on schools. Such as:
Continuation of the Move to Mobile
Adults spend 5.6 hours a day on devices and 3.1 hours specifically on mobile. To what extent will schools need to support learners in finding balance in life? How will we help students learn how to be physically and mentally healthy in the face of this very connected world? Also, what responsibility do w have to make sure students know about the data their mobile phones are tracking and sending to advertisers?
Voice recognition software is actually meeting the threshold of human accuracy. More products are being developed that are powered by voice. Twenty percent of all queries were made by voice as of May 2016. That number will likely continue to increase because of the accuracy now available through voice search.
There is no doubt that video is king right now. Social media continues to put greater emphasis on video creation and sharing. Bruce and Will discuss how much better video has gotten for learning purposes. In Change School, it is common to have 40 people from all over the world on a video conference at once. The quality is surpassing our initial expectations.
The gaming trends are mind-blowing for educators. Will specifically references slide 80 because of it's refernce to Modern Learning. Today there are 2.6 billion gamers and the average age of those games is 35. Interactive gaming revenue comes in at $100B. Gaming is optimized for learning and engagement.
Just Dig Into the Internet Trends Report
It is really important to dig into the rest of the report. Take what you can and do your best to think deeply about these topics and the impact they will have on learning. Will and Bruce mentioned Byjus.com which is a learning site from India with some similarities with Khan Academy, but after you see it, you'll agree that Byjus.com is so much more. We'll be talking about the report in our Modern Learners Facebook Group. We'd love for you to join us there.
Change.School is Ready for You. Are You Ready for Change.School?
In our newest podcast, Will and Bruce discuss the new Change.School learning community, and they talk about the history of Modern Learners and how it's led to this new push to raise the bar on reimagining schools. It's a little bit of backstory, but it's a lot of how we got to the "How?"
Change.School has its genesis in the thousands of conversations that Will and Bruce have had with leaders from around the world who are guiding change projects in their schools. In fact, it's built on the idea that despite being really hard work, reimagination is possible, that the ingredients are clear, but that every school is on it's own unique path to change. Right now, building leadership capacity to do high-bar change in existing schools is where the most important work in education lies.
The notes for this episode are short because everything you really need to know can be found at change.school. Yes, .school is now an extension!
Leave the lightweight surface conversation about education behind.....
...and put the Modern Learners podcast at the top of your podcast playlist! Will, Bruce and their guests will consistently challenge your beliefs about LEARNING, leadership and education and inspire you to transform your own learning environment to support today's modern learners. Consistently THE best K-12 learning podcast out there!
I love this podcast. I have listened and re-listened to many of the podcasts. They are great. Their guest speakers are great too. They make me think about things in a new critical way and they make me question the reasons behind why I (or we) do specific things.
I've found my educational tribe!
Fresh, courageous and clear-minded thinking. I'm so grateful for the work of MODERN LEARNERS.