Flux Blog: “Time for a change in the Education System” say Intel, Microsoft and Cisco.

PEN Comment: Futurelab’s FLUX blog has a habit of bringing up interesting stuff. Once again the  call for radical systematic change in our education systems comes from beyond the mainstream constituencies.


“Time for a change in the Education System” say Intel, Microsoft and Cisco.

Citizens and workers of the 21st century need a new set of skills according to a new global partnership calling for systemic changes in education.

“Transforming Education: Assessing and Teaching 21st Century Skills” is a challenge to the self sustaining and highly regulated world of education and assessment which, according to these three IT giants, is failing to prepare our young people for work and life in this century.

They argue that in contemporary business people work in teams across disciplinary boundaries and use a variety of social, digital and physical resources informed but unconstrained by disciplinary knowledge to solve complex ill structured problems.

“They create new ideas, products and services and share these with colleagues, customers, or an even larger audience and there is a need to work flexibly in response to complex problems, manage information, communicate effectively, work in teams and produce new knowledge.”

The key question is how far does our education and assessment system reflect these demands?
Not much !……….is the response from these partners in education transformation, Cisco, Intel and Microsoft who suggest that “most educational systems operate much as they did at the beginning of 20th Century.”

“Significant reform is needed in education world -wide….but reform is particularly needed in education assessment.”

It is helpful therefore for the campaign to have the support of the IEA(TIMMS) and OECD(PISA), otherwise there is a danger we will continue to measure what is convenient to measure and not what is needed.

Over the past 12 months Cisco ,Intel and Microsoft have worked together to develop a plan with the aim of creating new modes of assessment suitable for 21st century skills and are now hoping to enlist the support of political, education and business leaders.
However the response from Education Minister John Denham was lukewarm, probably because he recognises that you can bring change to most parts of the education system but taking on the qualifications and assessment establishment is a Sisyphean task!

Just ask Mike Tomlinson!
If you want to participate in the dialogue visit http://getideas.org/ or email project executive director Dr Barry McGaw, University of Melbourne bmcgaw@unimelb.edu.au

PEN Comment:

Hey boys take a raincheck we’ve been advocating radical change for decades! Nice to have you on board.

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