Top ten global trends that force us to rethink education
18 Jun 2007

Top ten global trends that force us to rethink education

We open our ten days of top

18 Jun 2007

ten-days-sm.pngWe open our ten days of top ten lists with a list of global trends that force us to rethink education. What does the future hold for today’s students in the 21st Century? In a future driven by globalization, knowledge, innovation, and accelerating change, education will need to be re-missioned to meet new needs:

  1. A global, knowledge-based society: Ubiquitous and ever-opening access to information creates a need for skilled workers who can transform information to meaningful, new knowledge.
  2. The innovation-based society is emerging: Successful members of society will create innovative- and contextually-relevant applications for new knowledge.
  3. Knowledge and innovation-based jobs are moving to India and China: Western companies have already learned that it makes sense to move industrial jobs offshore. Today, many companies are beginning to move their creativity and R&D jobs to markets with lower labor costs.
  4. Personal success in the innovation society will require novelty at the individual level: Standardization and centralization at the workplace will give way to individualization and decentralization. Employees will be viewed and rewarded for their creative inputs as individuals, not for the roles they could play as proceduralized automatons.
  5. Technology changes human relations: Advances in technology allow people to interact in new ways that were previously obscured by geographical, economic or social boundaries.
  6. Jobs that exist today will not necessarily exist when today’s students finish school: Why do we insist on preparing students for jobs that existed before they were born instead of for jobs that will exist when they finish school?
  7. An ageing population: Advances in sanitation, nutrition and medicine have extended life expectancy in many countries. The life span, about 127, is now the object of research and development. Should people be helped to live 2,500 years, or even “forever”?
  8. Globalization: Tom Friedman is right. The world is flat. The phenomenon of globalization compels students and schools to compete on a global scale.
  9. Change is accelerating: The doubling time of information is now under one year. In 20 years or less doubling time may drop to a few weeks. If our cultural institutions don’t change at least as fast, what will happen to our senses of identity and security? How can we become situated in the future as much as the present or past?
  10. The Singularity is almost here: Human-surpassing intelligence will guarantee that the future is far more different than we can imagine. Are we supplying students with the creative skills required to thrive in a future that demands routine human creativity?
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