In a recent report, the World Economic Forum (WEF) outlined a new framework for defining quality education in the new economic and social context that the Fourth Industrial Revolution will create.
“There is an urgent need to update education systems to equip children with the skills to navigate the future of work and the future of societies,” the report said.
Many education systems today use a standardised model of direct learning that fit the need of the First and Second Industrial Revolutions.
But the workforce of today and tomorrow are no longer focused on repetitive, process-oriented early manufacturing jobs.
If the Third Industrial Revolution were defined by the rise of electronics and telecommunications, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is one that will blur the physical, digital, and biological worlds.
It will fundamentally alter the way we live, work and relate to one another on a scale and complexity unprecedented in history.
With this revolution underway, education can no longer be stuck in the models created in the 18th to early-20th century.
Instead, the report identified the critical characteristics that schools and education systems must equip children with to create a more inclusive, cohesive and productive world.
What are these skills?
The eight critical characteristics to define high-quality learning in the Fourth Industrial Revolution are: Global citizenship, innovation and creativity, technology, interpersonal emotional intelligence, personalised learning, accessible learning, problem-based and collaborative learning as well as lifelong and student-driven
These eight characteristics represent a holistic range of learning content and experiences.
For example, technology skills refer to content that is based on developing digital skills, including programming, digital responsibility and the use of technology.
Interpersonal skills are learning that focuses on interpersonal emotional intelligence, including empathy, cooperation, negotiation, leadership and social awareness.
Whereas problem-based learning refers to a move from process-based to project- and problem-based content delivery, requiring peer collaboration and more closely mirroring the future of work.
These skills will be paramount for the jobs of the future, which the WEF posits will have an increased premium on both digital and social-emotional skills.
Entirely new business models will see workforces become much more distributed, with future workers expected to collaborate with people from the four corners of the globe.
Hence, a clear understanding of cultural nuances and digital skills will be necessary to enable these interactions.
The report said: “In this context, education, business and public-sector leaders must think beyond ‘business-as-usual’. Transitioning all education systems to ones designed for the Fourth Industrial Revolution – ‘Education 4.0’ – has tremendous potential to better prepare children for the future of work, revive pathways to social mobility, improve productivity and enhance social cohesion.”
Here are 3 US schools already making this vision a reality …
Supplying students with the space to evolve into citizen artists and valuing each learner as an individual, Idyllwild Arts Academy is no stranger to providing holistic education.
For instance, their Art in Society (AIS) programme supports citizen artists through community partnerships, exemplary student talks, voluntary music and arts teaching initiatives, culmination concerts, and symposia.
In winter, the school holds an all-day symposium for students and faculty to learn about social issues and how the arts play a critical role in our global community. During the school year, Academy students prepare for the symposium by taking part in weekly meetings and special activities that sometimes include guest speakers.
Past AIS symposium topics have included immigration, gender fluidity, Native American voices, and homelessness. This February, the AIS 2020 symposium will be based on the theme of sustainability in all its forms and feature American writer and social activist Colin Beavan.
By providing opportunities like these to express, explore, and dig deep into challenging real-world subjects, the Academy acts as the ideal holistic hub for aspiring creatives to flourish.
The 205-acre campus features private soundproofed music rehearsal studios, a top-of-the-line professional film editing bay, a sound stage, and a beautiful, $6.1 million concert hall.
The school is located in the picturesque mountain town of Idyllwild and surrounded by alpine forest, putting students close to the natural environment as well as the flourishing local art scene.
Built without an “academic ceiling,” Berkshire School in Massachusetts provides learning environments that cultivate students to challenge themselves, take risks and reach new heights.
Their curriculum aims to provoke an intellectual passion from within, encouraging students to foster critical thinking, agile problem-solving and collaborative skills.
The Head of Berkshire’s Advanced Humanities Research (AHR) programme, Dr Sandy Perot said students are always eager to look for the essence of the argument in a variety of authors’ works.
“Students come excited to learn in AHR and I am fortunate to have a collection of highly motivated, curious, and creative thinkers in my classes,” she says.
While analysing texts and continuously enquiring will no doubt serve students well in the classroom, Dr Perot sees the skills as a platform for even more growth.
“What I most of all hope that students will take away from AHR is a life-long love of learning, discovering, creating, and thinking,” Perot adds.
By developing innovative thinkers, the school motivates students to build their confidence in a holistic manner so they can live up to their full potential and advance their 21st-century skills for
Through athletics and the arts, Asheville School in North Carolina nurtures students’ aspirations through holistic education and community engagement initiatives.
“What stands out at Asheville School, though, is our unparalleled community. Every student is known and loved. Students know they are supported, so they aren’t afraid to fail and try again. They gain confidence beyond their years and learn who they are, what motivates them and how to thrive,” says the Head of School Anthony H Sgro.
It’s this fearless approach to learning that helps students deal with future setbacks and to accept that failure is a natural part of their journey.
Where there is failure, there is growth, and the School is always there to help their learners overcome personal doubts and indecisions.
A school that abides by high ethical standards, all students are expected to respect one another and to live in a community of trust and honesty.
And from day one at Asheville, all students are immediately immersed in an atmosphere that nurtures character and fosters the development of mind, body and spirit.