Community forum looks at future of education

On November 16 more than 200 parents, students, trustees, educators and business and civic leaders met in the rotunda at Thomas Haney Centre to participate in a conversation that will help shape the future of learning in our community.

The forum was driven by the idea that:  “our children are being born into a time of exponential change where technology is growing in its capacity to change our lives; that the world of work demands innovative and creative ways of getting things done, and that our children are conditioned to learn and think in ways that the adults who parent and teach them are only beginning to understand.”

Ken Robinson, an internationally-renowned expert in the field of creativity and innovation in business and education, summarizes the issues in this video clip.


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What did the forum participants say?

You can download the complete report below but here is a random sampling of their comments in response to three key questions:

What students will need...

  • Basic skills such as multiplication are still important but memorization is irrelevant unless the old information can be used in new ways.
  • Brains are changing. Our kids live in the age of mass distractions. We need to teach the skill of filtering information and making the right choices.
  • Maybe we will have a new ‘renaissance’ where understanding the big ideas from a wide range of areas will be the definition of being educated.
  • We need to present learning in a variety of ways and allow students to present their learning in a style suited to them.
  • The most important skills for the future will be being resourceful and thinking critically.

Conditions that make learning experiences powerful...

  • Challenging tasks that made it feel like the topic mattered. Learning needs to be relevant and engaging.
  • A teacher who is excited. When teachers are passionate, it makes the students want to learn more about it.
  • Something that you could personally connect to or that someone has made personal for you.
  • Building relationships and connections with one another. Working with a group of people believing in the same cause, or learning the same thing.

What learning and schools should look like...

  • Teachers must connect with kids on their own terms and get to know their common interests.
  • Powerful learning involves choice, interaction, and engagement. And it needs to involve interactive problem solving with real life scenarios.
  • Learning happens anywhere, including from home. If learning can happen anywhere perhaps the school becomes the network rather than the site.
  • Schools should be structured around learning cohorts based on supportive environments and common interests rather than age or grade.
  • Subjects should be integrated and students should work independently or in groups on projects. Students should have opportunities to design projects and work together to solve problems.
  • Learning needs to involve everyone - students, teachers, parents, all learning from each other.
  • Technology should allow us to individualize education for each child resulting in more engagement and interest.


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