Education is a constantly changing system that needs to adjust to the way current generations think while also embracing new information and new technologies. Gone are the days of text-heavy textbooks and outdated subjects, education is already moving forward to embrace and develop new methods to help young people learn effectively.
With this being said, there are still many ways that the education system can still improve and innovate. Here is what education should look like in the 21st century.
Technology has taken over every aspect of our daily lives, which has made young people more reliant on technology. This means that if education embraced technology, it would make young people more susceptible to learning.
There are many innovative ways that education and technology have combined to produce powerful edtech tools and learning methods. Edtech is able to stimulate and improve learning in the following ways:
It’s easier to understand abstract concepts or topics when it’s visualised. Tech tools like apps, interactive diagrams, and 3D visuals make it easier for young people to grasp and memorise new topics. Colours and patterns also stimulate the brain and help young people to think creatively and critically.
Using interactive tools allows young people to take charge of their learning and be more energised and motivated to learn. Using mobile games and apps makes learning fun, but still challenging. Other interactive tools can give students individual challenges, guide and support the learner when needed and allow learning by doing which promotes active learning.
Grading exams, papers, and presentations can take a lot of time and there’s always a risk of subjectivity due to human nature. Using technology allows automation to make grading and evaluation simple and fair. Analytical tools also help the learner to follow and reflect on their own learning progress through self-evaluation and peer-evaluation.
Technology makes learning on the go far easier. The vast worldwide web offers thousands of online tools, resources and information that can be accessed on various mobile devices. This makes it easier for young people to complete homework and assignments, learn new skills, and keep track of their learning. Virtual classrooms and labs also offer remote learning possibilities and for young people to attend classes and complete tasks from the comfort of their own home.
Online, cloud-based and social apps and tools offer various ways for young people to take part in creative and collaborative activities that can help them with assignments and projects. Online collaboration is also useful for teachers and parents to communicate with one another to effectively monitor a student’s learning and academic progress.
Online apps and tools make learning easier for young people with learning difficulties or special needs. For example, young people with visual impairments can access information through audiobooks and podcasts or young people with special educational needs can be taught through the use of interactive and visual tools.
Focusing on Careers
Choosing a career path is a very important step for pupils and school leavers. This will greatly impact the choices they make and their future, making this decision a very important one. Education needs to include a greater focus on helping young people choose the career path that is right for them and their goals. Many young people today end up changing career paths down the line, which can set them back on their course to achieve their goals.
In a survey conducted by the London Business School, it was determined that 47% of the 1,000 individuals surveyed wanted to change their careers, with younger people aged 18-24 and 24-34 most likely to want a career change. According to this survey, one of the main reasons for them wanting a career change was job satisfaction.
One of the best ways to counteract this is to help young people to ensure they find a career that they are passionate about through career guidance in schools, career counselling and strength testing. This can also be combined with building soft skills that will help them in the workplace, such as leadership, teamwork, presentation skills, interpersonal skills and digital skills. In addition, programmes that help young people to get into the university or career field of their choice should also be included in school so that everyone has access to these valuable resources.
Personal Development and Mindfulness
There has been a greater focus on mental health and wellbeing of young people in recent times. This is due to the greater awareness of mental health issues that can affect young people and due to improved scientific research in human behaviour and psychology.
The effects of mental health issues can greatly hinder a young person’s progress in school and also in their personal development. Education should include a greater focus on holistic wellbeing to help young people counteract mental health issues and deal with negativity. This can include peer counselling, behaviour management and strategies to deal with cyberbullying. Moreover, young people can be taught how to deal with stress, social anxiety and other issues that may affect them in some way. There should also be a more significant integration of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in schools to ensure that these services and easily accessible to all young people.
To conclude, there needs to be a sustainable plan set in place across all stages of education, from early childhood to schools, to universities. This plan should include supporting young people with the challenges they face in their current stage while also preparing them for future stages. In addition, education should not be something that is only taken care of by schools – other stakeholders, including parents, organisations and companies, should also be more responsible for the education of young people to ensure that they feel supported every step of the way.
GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity. We run after-school and weekend programmes that help young people achieve their academic and career aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-18. Contact us if you would like to know more about any of our programmes and courses.