Image for post
Image for post

Type the word “teacher” on Google image search and you get hundreds of stock images of teachers standing at the front of a classroom with a chalkboard behind them and regimented rows of students sat before them. This traditional image of the teacher may seem like a caricature to those who are used to seeing the modern, city-based teacher in international schools — with their tablets instead of books and smart boards in place of chalkboards. …


Image for post
Image for post

We live in interesting times. Universities in the U.K. and U.S. which were once bastions of free thought and free expression are now seeing a surge in calls from various student bodies to curb free speech. We even have MPs in parliament warning against the “fetishising” of debate. A new space in the political spectrum has opened up: The Regressive Left.

Students of this persuasion call for trigger-warnings, de-platforming, de-fenestration, safe spaces, and warn against cultural appropriation and micro-aggression.

It is hard to fathom how and where in the evolution of the political spectrum the liberal left became so extremely liberal that they now have more in common with fanatics on the extreme right. (The “Horseshoe theory” proposed by Jean-Pierre Faye in his 2002 book, Le Siècle des Ideologies asserts that the far left and the far right are not at opposite and opposing ends of a linear political spectrum. …


Image for post
Image for post

We are currently starting to see credentialing shift away from top-down central authority (e.g. universities) and are simultaneously witnessing a shift in the learning pathways students choose. A learning pathway is described as “the chosen route, taken by a learner through a range of learning activities, which allows them to build knowledge progressively.”

Previously, students had little control over their learning pathways. They would start their formal education in Kindergarten and the next 14 years of their life will have been charted out for them. …


Image for post
Image for post

We’ve seen more change in the last 100 years than in the previous 1000 years. The rate of change isn’t slowing down. Ray Kurzweil — described by Bill Gates as one of the best predictors of future technologies — says we will see 20,000 years’ worth of technological change in the next 100 years. In their previous book, Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think, Kotler and Diamandis painted a techno-optimistic vision of the future and outlined how four forces: exponential technologies, the rising billions, DIY innovators and techno-philanthropists will usher in a world of plenty for all. …


Image for post
Image for post

What the human species faces at this point is primarily a crisis of perception. Many of the global challenges we face arise out of a fundamentally problematic understanding of reality that is harming the biosphere and human life in alarming and perhaps irreversible ways. The living world is in peril and we are too self-absorbed to foresee the long-term consequences of our actions. Our leaders are unable or unwilling to see that many of the problems we face are interconnected and interdependent — in other words, our problems are systemic. The need of the hour is a social and scientific paradigm shift. …


Image for post
Image for post

The pandemic notwithstanding, we are currently in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution. The World Economic Forum describes this new era as characterized by “a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres — collectively referred to as cyber-physical systems.” A convergence of Genetics, Nanotechnology, Robotics, 3D Printing, Sensor, Artificial Intelligence and other exponential technologies is ushering a new industrial age that is disrupting all aspects of society. This includes the education sector.

In 2017, investments in the edtech sector crossed $9 billion. Crunchbase, which maintains a master record of data on the world’s most innovative companies has identified, reviewed and categorized over 2000 new edtech and educational software companies. There is a bewildering array of new edtech companies that are creating programmes for coding and robotics, software for AR and VR, content for STEM subjects, online courses for distant learning, and even early learning apps for toddlers and pre-schoolers. …


Image for post
Image for post

The simulation hypothesis proposes that all of reality (including human society, the Earth and all the goings-on in the rest of the universe) is, in fact, an artificial simulation — that everything is part of an unimaginably complex computer programme created by an external agent.

This, of course, calls to mind Hollywood movies like ‘The Matrix’, ‘Lawnmower Man’, and ‘The Thirteenth Floor’. In fact, ‘The Simulation Hypothesis’, is also a documentary in which “the filmmakers parallel very heavily against the hit sci-fi movie ‘The Matrix.’ The documentary argues that matter and ideas are the results of a complex digital simulation, something akin to a video game. …


Image for post
Image for post

Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Mixed Reality are all changing the way we experience reality. To put it simply, VR is an entirely computer-generated world. It is an immersive recreation of a world simulated by a computer programme. The user experiences this virtual world primarily through visual and aural inputs. In a virtual world, ordinary everyday reality is fully blocked out.

AR, on the other hand, is created by layering computer-generated elements over and above existing ordinary reality. It creates a digital layer above the ordinary physical world.

Virtual Reality offers elements of the real world in a digital environment. Whereas, Augmented Reality offers elements of the digital world in a real environment. …


Image for post
Image for post

There was a time when 100 megabytes (MB) of data was thought to be mindboggling. Soon after, it was commonplace to have memory sticks that could store 1 gigabyte (GB) of information. (1 GB = 1000 MB) By around 2010, it was common to see external hard drives that could store 1 terabyte (TB) of information (1 TB = 1000 GB).

Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, points out that from the beginning of time until 2003 we generated 5 exabytes of digital information (1 EB = 1 billion GB). By 2010 we were generating 5 exabytes of information every two days. …


Image for post
Image for post

The world is in unchartered territory. In the past, we’ve had several epidemics and pandemics: outbreaks of Cholera, Plague, Influenza, Typhus, Smallpox, Measles, Tuberculosis, Leprosy, Malaria, Yellow Fever, Ebola, Zika, etc. The difference with COVID-19 is that we don’t have a vaccine, it is highly infectious, and it’s putting enormous pressure on our healthcare systems.

Under such circumstances, it makes absolute sense for children to be kept at home and away from schools. However, parents are now understandably worried about their children’s education and their future. What should they do?

My hope is that, as a result of this global home learning phase, parents will realise the…

About

Rohan Roberts

Director, SciFest Dubai | Innovation Lead & Head of Future Learning, GEMS Education | Co-founder, Awecademy | www.rohanroberts.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store