Cristóbal Cobo

Researcher at the University of Oxford

"The teachers and schools of the future already exist, but there are still not enough"

See the full video here.

Traditionally, education systems have been based on forms of knowledge that can be verbalized in a code, a database or a dictionary. However, other forms of knowledge exist that are associated with practice and experience, which are acquired in a non-formal way and are not always recognized by formal education systems. Yet, they are extremely valuable in the professional world. There is a disconnect between what we're taught and the skills we use in life. This gap needs to be reduced. What changes are needed?  Comprehensive changes are needed, not only innovation in specific areas. We must come up with a different way of approaching education. Education should focus more on informal learning, value explicit knowledge as much as tacit knowledge and also appreciate know-how. I think the current education system is still based on outdated notions of how people learn and that in the future we should embrace technology a lot more. However, technology is not an essential component of innovation.

We now have multiple ways to access content and information. This has led us to think again about what we need to keep and what can be replaced. Nowadays, is it so important to remember certain facts that we can access easily from an electronic device? Perhaps we can now use the time we would have spent on this type of studying to develop more adaptable abilities to help us learn how to learn. This involves using cognitive rather than technological tools, so that when you acquire knowledge, you can use it in different contexts, which means that students must learn how to study by themselves.

"Now that machines are becoming smarter, the question is: what do we need to learn? Collaboration, empathy and affinity are essential attributes These are skills that machines cannot construct.

In order to encourage students to study by themselves, we must first be sure that they can complete "encyclopedic" content with other knowledge and experiences gained outside the classroom. This is essential and poses another challenge, where value is placed not only on knowledge, but also on abilities, which, while sometimes difficult to measure, are very important.

Schools and high schools do much more than merely transfer information. They provide a space for socializing, building citizenship, defining identity, and expressing friendships, among many other things. It is possible to rethink what students spend their time on at school.

Schools should have bigger windows and wider doors. Not only to bring society inside, but also to open schools up to society. The divide between the two must be reduced.

Research associate at the University of Oxford Internet Institute, director of the Ceibal Foundation Center for Research (Uruguay), and collaborator of the UNESCO Open Educational Resources Global Network. Mr. Cobo is a leading authority on innovation, technology and learning and has written a number of books, including 'Planet Web 2.0', 'Invisible Learning' and 'La innovación pendiente' ('Impending Innovation'). He has been honored by the British Council of Economic and Social Research.