One highlight of the ULearn conference for me this year was one of Mark Osborne’s breakouts that I attended. As part of this, he posed the question – why do kids need to go to school? He discussed how we can learn everything from how to play the guitar on YouTube to online university courses from the likes of Harvard and MIT without leaving home. So why bother with school, as our access to such a wide variety of knowledge continues to grow and grow?
The discussion within the room was lively, resulting in some insights such as the following. Schools remain relevant for:
- Developing the ‘soft skills’ or key competencies at the front of the NZC.
- Teaching collaboration.
- Allowing for face to face connections with fellow learners and mentors.
- Building the capacity to become discerning learners.
- Providing a learning community.
- Teaching students to become innovative and entrepreneurial.
So it seems that schools need to ensure they are less about the transfer of knowledge, and more about competency development and a community of learners to remain a necessary part of the education landscape.