The world in which students and teachers live in is changing at the speed of light.
The rise of social media, the embedded nature of technology in the educational landscape and the vast and varied options available to schools to implement emerging technologies is at an all-time high.
Students and parents are bombarded with the next best tech gadget, app, version, update and component, that they are now constantly in communication with, we are merging into a world where technology is becoming part of us.
One of the fastest growing, expanding and radical spheres within education is how to fully embrace and embed technology in a way that not only enhances and improves learning outcomes for students, but allows schools to teach the growing skills of ‘positive disruption’ and ‘digitised distribution’.
We only need to look at the changing nature of the top companies to understand the need for the educational sector to take charge and prepare students for a more connected, digitised & collaborative world.
The augmentation of workforces in workplaces is increasing our productivity as a nation and helping us continue to innovate and be ‘ground breakers’ in industry & productivity.
Schools have increasingly been good at reacting to trends and releasing expertise to help solves problems.
I see the design and development of ‘leaders of educational augmentation’ being real positions that schools will have as part of their staff teams.
These leaders will be purveyors of the future with deep foresight, intuition and ability to help teachers and school leaders transition from the single faceted learning environment into the multifaceted learning ecosystems that schools are becoming.
The investment in personal development for staff at all levels is going to become increasingly important.
The way in which students interact with technology and are somewhat ‘ahead of the game’ compared to schools in usage and user experience is a hurdle schools can overcome through more specific investment in training teachers, not only in how to incorporate tech into the learning process, but how to communicate and interact professionally in a more digitised world.
The investment should not just be limited to personal development of teachers but should also focus on finding ‘change champions’ within schools who can be released to design and implement systems, policies, procedures and curriculum to help build a culture where augmented reality is a normal part of school life.
There are three main areas of focus to help educational institutions come on board and up to speed:
The generation of ideas where the student knows how much they have to get done, they’re making some selections there that really create a different relationship between the student and teacher.
Students engage with the learning from a deeper and more thinking-oriented perspective.
Teachers and students can concentrate, not so much on the task list and getting through the outcome based content, but they form more of a learning alliance that sees them problem-solving together and producing work that is connected, open ended and exploratory in nature.
In this new eon of learning students will not only be encouraged to take risks in solving problems and trying new platforms for learning, they will be empowered to take the ‘old’ mistake and fail culture and exchange it for the new ‘experimentation and 'solution focused’ culture, becoming more heavily involved with design and skill orientation and migration that will help student be better equipped and navigate the challenges of post school life in a more concise manner.
Central to the success of any technology being implemented into daily practice and being part of culture, is for the whole school to take a more inclusive and sceptic-free approach to tech intervention, especially with newer technologies that may or may not have the credibility or makers mark that other systems may have.
Trial and error is moving into 'solution and design and schools have the brilliant, wide eyed opportunity to be leaders and developers in this field.
It will require the schools to be more flexible, because when you go to those new classrooms’ locations, they’re not just in a typical classroom.
They’ve been allowed to remodel some of that space. So the students are moving around and it’s quite amazing to see the natural collaboration that happens when students are part of the design process and are sometimes the ‘tech experts’ in the room.
But there needs to be an upfront investment and a decision to get all the teachers engaged in that new model.
Leadership in this area is going to require a ‘transformational’ viewpoint that encourages teachers and learning leaders to embrace ‘disruption’ and even create an atmosphere for solution focusses to be the primary driver for learning.
Macro & Micro intervention
As schools drive deeper into the valley of digitised learning realities, it will be important for pedagogical thinking to create enough space for frameworks to be instituted to allow the augmented and virtual worlds to seamlessly flow into curriculum outside the norm of science, math and technology, and see the learning opportunities that are open in each and every area of school life, from wellbeing of staff and students through to learning support, administration and staff meetings.
The macro intervention is about giving each school the ability to see the learning environment from the ‘drone's eye view’, that is, being able to take current stock of where your learning environment is at, where are the areas of engagement already? Where are the areas for solution opportunity to spread.
Like any good plan, having an augmented and virtual reality map of your school will be a precursor to finding the treasure in the rough and unearth the change champions you will need to help ignite the required groundswell.
Schools are not change immune, they just need encouragement and foresight to know that change is inevitable and quite constant in the tech space.
The micro changes that need to be adopted are fashioned from the inside out, that is, what is the learning potential within the facilities, classrooms and corridors of the school? What are the contextual imperatives that will be challenging the change and positively disrupting the normal?
Designing a micro-plan for each learning environment with structured frameworks that allow a hotbed of innovation to thrive, will enable schools to become more like projected and foreseen places that the fourth industrial revolution is taking us too.
Everyone who works in a school setting has the capacity and ability to energise the space of augmented and virtual reality.
More than simply viewing through a headset and integrating a piece of robotics into the post STEM school life is needed to take schools into the 22nd century learning environments.
Schools need to be to prepare young people for the rapidly changing world they are going not only going to inherit, be contributors, designers and purveyors in, but one in which they will be the ones positively disrupting the systems and innovating in each sphere of life.
Tech leadership in education is here, it's collaborative and solution-focused and is happening in so many forms and functions it will probably change again as this is published.