In Education Nothing Ever Stands Alone

workAs I read the post Oregon Trail to CoolStreet I was reminded that apps, and most anything in education, really never stands alone; there’s always something else. Here are a few more connecting thoughts:

  • I was fortunate enough to visit a primary school recently, where the teacher had the students working on a project where they each ran a theme park.  Concepts such as “revenue” and “fixed costs” and “marketing” were being introduced in what was essentially a maths lesson. These kids are still at primary school!
  • I also recently sat in an ISTE Keynote speech by Steven Johnson, where gaming was discussed. Johnson gave the example of playing the game Dawn of Time with and against his kids, and the way in which several disciplines needed to be understood simultaneously in order to be successful in that game.

The common thread here for me is that all of these ideas, together, and more, help students become better learners and more relevant to employers, or indeed to become entrepreneurs, as described by Schleicher. Clearly, they are not all going to open pizza shops, theme parks, or run countries, but they might. These initiatives help students understand the real world, where businesses usually need an economically viable output, rather than just academic and theoretical aims. We need that type of student, and as an employer I need that type of employee. Teachers broaden student thinking and skills, and we need to hear more from those educators doing it.

About the author: Iain Home is a UK father, student of education trends, and an international marketing strategist for Promethean.

Iain Home

Iain Home is a UK father, student of education trends, and an international marketing strategist for Promethean. Iain is also a regular columnist at Connect Learning Today.
3 Comments on this post.
  • Wendy Brunson
    13 August 2013 at 4:48 pm -

    Hi Iain,
    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. Our aim should indeed be to “broaden student thinking and skills”. The end goal of learning and teaching should always be equipping students to face future topics, tasks and problems, whether next week or years ahead and whether in their careers or other parts of the “real world”.

    • Iain Home
      Iain Home
      16 August 2013 at 6:54 am -

      Wendy, I appreciate the comments made and I now know I have at least one supporter for this idea.

      I have also managed to avoid the dreaded “blog tumbleweed” by attracting at least 1 response.

      I hadn’t initially thought about the other “real world” situations when I wrote this article but you are right and I see situations everyday outside of the work environment where people are ill prepared. That topic alone could be enough for a book, never mind a single blog!

  • Matthew Jelley
    20 August 2013 at 5:13 am -

    Hello Iain,

    It is nice to see yet another insightful view of the advancements being made at all stages of education, with young learners being prepared for future learning.

    I am currently working in an academy with a Business and Enterprise specialism; my last school was too incidentally!

    I have found Business Studies/ Communication is increasingly ‘trickling’ down the Key Stages in these schools, with students studying for GCSE and BTEC First level certificates as early as Yr 9. (Elements of ‘Business’ were even integrated in to the learning program upon entry into YR7 at my last school!)

    Now, the cynic in us may question if this is an effort on the part of the school to improve their 5+ A*- C grades from an early stage. Others might view it as ‘1 GCSE already in the bank’.

    In my opinion, although the above views may have some weighting; there is no doubt that schools are working their ways around the shackles of the N.C. to prepare their students for the ‘Real World’ ahead of them.

    It is interesting to note that the government were recently petitioned into looking at ways to integrate more financial education into the National Curriculum.

    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/8903.

    The fact the above is happening, serves to prove that we are neglecting; intentionally or otherwise, to prepare our leaders of tomorrow for the reality that is soon to hit them.

    Likewise, your observations also go to show that many of us are aware of this, and are attempting to make great strides to rectify it!