International Symposium // Plenary session 2 // Roundtable : Transforming education systems-leveraging international networks
• Greg Black, CEO, Education.au
• Keith Kruger, Director, CoSN, USA
• Gavin Dykes, Associate Director, Futurelab, UK
Greg Black reminded that getting cooperation was difficult and that networks should enhance their exchanges to achieve their goals. Common challenges should be defined in the field of education.
Gavin Dykes stated that there will be a time where people, including teachers, will be replaced by computers.
We should consider us as being in the learning age and sharing information and we should be more autonomous at learning. Also, access to internet and e-skills is needed for everybody as it is a great vector to reduce unemployment.
Networks are important in the sense we have to be positive about technology and communication skills. Skills that we don't need are programmable skills, in this sense teaching must be a supportive creative work.
By being a member of a network you learn about different methods of learning, changing cultures through the use of tech in new ways. Cultural differences is the difficult part for the use of technology and sharing information and how to use it. (filtering policies, are a good example of this cultural differences, eg USA - Europe).
Teresa Evaristo, from the Ministry of Education of Portugal, shared her experience of primary schools in Portugal. The system is being reformed and the use of new technologies, such as interactive whiteboards, is required to implement cultural changing.
Keith Kruger agreed and said that in the 21st century of learning, the biggest challenge we face was not technological but human. Networks need to focus on culture changing and impulse action in that direction.
In USA the biggest challenge is culture. Educators don't yet have the same vision as networks of ICT, so leadership and policy are the key main instruments that should be implemented from the networks side in that respect.
He said that there were 3 waves of technologies: Creating infrastructures / Enabling applications (by training teachers) / Transforming the way of learning.
We have already enough technologies and experience available and the system as a hole must be transformed on a school national/regional/local basis. For this purpose we must focus on educational problems. In the US the problem is that the system is very decentralized, there are many level of leaders and they have to be sensitized about our goals.
The educational leaders want to provide XXI century skills to kids, create compelling learning environments (to face school disengagement) and online teacher professional development to break their isolation.
He reaffirmed that there were no technological problem but educational problem, and that children will manage the technologies.
The speakers agreed that technology changed fast so we must have better thinking and innovation skills.