Researcher at the University of Oxford
"The teachers and schools of the future already exist, although there are not enough of them yet".
Cristóbal Cobo particularly supports encouraging creativity within an educational environment.
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 have to understand education in a different way. 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 I think the current education system is still based on outdated notions of how people learn and that in the future we should embrace technology a lot more.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.
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, as it is not only knowledge that is valued, but also skills, which are sometimes difficult to measure, but still very important nonetheless.
Schools and high schools do much more than merely transfer information. They provide a space for social interaction where pupils can acquire citizenship skills, develop their identities, express friendship and gain a whole range of other attributes. 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.
Find out more about Cristóbal Cobo
- Cristóbal Cobo is an associate researcher at the University of Oxford's Internet Institute, Director of the Ceibal Foundation Center for Research in Uruguay and also collaborates with UNESCO's Global Network of Open Educational Resources. 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.
- What will students be like in the twenty-second century? They will be ready to go into the jungle or travel the high seas. They will be equipped with certain tools and methodologies to guide them. Above all else though, they will be hungry for knowledge. This means they will be able to question what they learn as well as provide the right answers in exams. They'll want to know more about a subject than just what they're taught in the classroom. As Siemens says, it's a matter of linking the curriculum to other knowledge. Learning can transcend formal education by connecting these two points and creating a symbiosis. This is what I would like to see in future generations. I would like them to be explorers and knowledge architects, as well as learning about specific subjects.
"Now that machines are more intelligent, we should be asking what it is we need to learn. Collaboration, empathy and affinity are essential attributes that machines can't construct".
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