Transforming Education Requires A "Mindset Shift"

The Future Of Education And The Use Of Technology
Summary: Reflections on the need for transformation in education and suggestions for the proper use of technology in the classroom.

The Future Of Education

If we look back at the development of education in America, we notice that in its beginnings, around the 1900s, a movement emerged that had the sole purpose of standardizing education and training individuals to work in ways that would produce more results in the shortest time possible.

The field of education had the support of influential people like Rockefeller, a multimillionaire businessman of the time, who proposed the ideas of Frederick Taylor, which are known as Taylorism, seeking to simplify the work of factories and train individuals who were able to perform these simple tasks quickly. The goal was not to prepare thinkers, researchers, creators, but to make education a standardized process that would allow for the education of numbers of people at the same time with the purpose of them working in factories. Thus, we see an education founded in search of specific results for the needs of the historical moment and those who supported the emergence of factories and mass production. An education led by entrepreneurs. The aim was not the individual nor his personal growth, but to benefit the elite.

However, we are in the 21st century where science has allowed us to reach into the depths of the human brain and better understand how it works, and where technology has opened the doors of possibility for us. I now ask myself, on what premises is our educational system founded?

Education Is About Differentiation

If today we know that each brain is unique, that each individual has the capacity to learn and be successful in a particular way, and that there are different rhythms of learning, why do we continue the attempts of standardizing teaching and the expectations for each student in the classroom? Why is it that when a student does not learn at the same pace as the rest of their classmates and they need more time to comprehend the information and process it, we talk about them having a "problem"? Why do we call what neuroscience is explaining to us as a "difference" a disorder or a disability? Is it possible that psychology and special education are promoting equality in the classroom by labeling students who do not meet the standards as having "special educational needs"? Who determines whether a student is successful or not? If the standard determines it, then we are going against what neuroscience is teaching us. Could it be that we are using the same paradigms of the last century, seeing education as a process of standardization rather than differentiation?

The Use Of Technology

Could it be that the changes that our education requires are of "content" rather than "format"? More than simply filling our classrooms with new technologies and providing our students with electronic devices, I believe that we, educational institutions, managers, and teachers, need to:

  • Reassess our ideas about who the student is, recognize the potential with which they were born, the seed in their brain, the mind. Recognize that each and every one of them is capable of learning as well as being successful.
  • Educate ourselves as to how the brain learns, what strategies best activate it, and get it to take hold of the information. Have a better understanding of what it means to "learn."
  • Finally, focus on choosing the tools that best contribute to the empowerment of the mind, having it go beyond and evolve.

Currently, there are several teaching models whose main objective is to incorporate new trends and train more competitive students. There are alternative schools, virtual schools, homeschooling, blended learning, among others. These models are applied mostly with students who have presented behavioral problems, health conditions, or whose priority is the arts or sports and require a more dynamic and flexible system. However, everything points to the fact that very soon, they will be the norm for any student since we are educating a population with a profile that demands disruptive innovation.

Today we need to train individuals for the creation, innovation, problem-solving, and evolution era. But to do this, we must change the paradigms, otherwise, we will be perpetuating the education of the industrial age; the education for the benefit of the rich of the time.