Innovation Age Schools?

Educators are fond of adding various adjectives to the word age to capture the nature of schools that reflected the realities of school during that age. We can also trace the history of our schools through some of the vestiges that remain:

  • Summer breaks are a remnant of Agrarian Age Schools when children’s labor was needed oi the farm.
  • Bell schedules are a remnant of Industrial Age Schools which were designed to prepare children for the highly scheduled and specialized work in factories.
  • Computing programing entered the curriculum to prepare students for the Information Age.

I am beginning to use the term “Innovation Age School” to describe education in the middle of the 21st century. Innovation, we know, is “doing something differently.” I am convinced we are doing things differently… we are doing everything differently… how we make money… how we engage with others in our community… how we interact with close friends and family… the list could continue.

Those of us who remain in education are preparing our students for world in which they will innovate. New tools will emerge before we even finish educating them that will make much that we do obsolete. New challenges and new opportunities will arise; it is inevitable and we have no way of predicting what they will be. They will also emerge at dizzying rate, so we have no hope of keeping up. With that said, I make the following predictions about the nature of education in the Innovation Age:

  • Formal education will become more important, but traditional schools will become less important.
  • Learning how to learn will become the default expectation from students; if they leave without feeling prepared to learning more in the field, they will consider the experience a waste.
  • Teachers will become mentors as coaches. We will give advice and direction on techniques of learning rather than providers of information.