Why is education running behind the schedule?

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The education sector is running behind the schedule in the process of adopting the use of new technologies and integrating Internet in our lives. The use of paper has been dramatically reduced in the business sector, and the use of aggregated data to identify issues and resolve problems in now done naturally in companies, transport services, the services sector and entertainment. The use of web applications to inform or connect users (and don’t forget it, to collect behavior data) has boomed in the last years, and there are iPhone apps for anything you can imagine. But not so many related to primary and secondary education.

What’s broken?

My brother, in his graduation year, still carries books and does exams in paper. My other brother, who studies engineering in the Polytechnic University of Valencia, a ‘leader in investigation’, has to check boards and uses an ancient bookmarking system to study: underlining. Why is it that they are not, as I used to dream of when I was at school myself, using huge touch screens instead of blackboards, and working with interactive graphic charts on tablets?

And I don’t personally know any teachers,but I bet they’re looking forward to using their kindle to store all their books, and an app to keep track of students attendance & performance, their lesson notes and assignments, or even some materials to share in class. On a note to this, I’ve recently heard of Arbor, a London based company that is doing something about this.

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Are school programs also missing the point?

In addition to this delay in the adoption of technology to improve education quality and efficiency, school programs are missing the point. The  total absence of artistic education, or even personal development, is interesting enough for a whole series of articles. But let’s assume that schools intend to educate children to have a wealthy future. That’s what I was told whenever I wondered why I needed to learn algebra. Check out this interesting article about the best paid jobs of the future, and tell me how are we helping our brothers and kids to become Digital Architects or Climate Changers. Education is looking at the past. Here’s a look at how the salaries of the best paid jobs nowadays have changed in the last couple of  years:

Job title Salary 2011-2012 change
1. Chief executives and senior officials £120,830 -3.8%
2 Brokers £98,924 -15.2%
3. Marketing and sales director £82,866 -3.2%
4. Aircraft pilots and flight engineers £77,906 12%
5. Financial managers and directors £74,709 -10.2%
6. Production managers and directors in mining and energy £72,587 27.3%
7. Legal professionals £70,731 -0.2%
8. Information technology and telecommunications directors £70,393 6.4%
9. Financial institution managers and directors £69,890 3.3%
10. Functional managers and directors £69,879 -5.6%

Are we sure we want our children to be into finances when they grow up?

What does the future look like?

Personally, looking at people that I consider successful and happy around me, I miss a lot of studies related to the world of technology or human studies.  Some programming wont hurt any kid. 3D printing, once it’s affordable, seems a great activity for children in primary school and also sounds like a great resource for  hands-on subjects like science. And with boundaries blurring thanks to Internet, knowing more of how individuals and societies work and learning about other cultures and places will surely be useful in the upcoming years. Visiting the Berlin wall with Google Street View to see The Wall in a history lesson probably helps to remember what was it about.

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Does all this sound too futuristic? Well that’s how education should be. If we are educating the future generations, we need to keep the Future in our target, and never take our eyes off it.

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