If someone had said that to me when I was a teenager, I wonder what I would have thought. In those “ancient” of days we still had landlines, email was just beginning, and we were still more than a decade away from the invention of the world wide web. What technology will be different and what new language will we create when today’s newborns are adolescents?
This past weekend, I met my grandson for the first time. Just two months old, he is beautiful and perfect. His needs are very simple right now, the pattern of eat…sleep…play. His world is very small right now as well. As I think about the massive changes that will take place in the world during his lifetime, what I know is this: I can’t begin to understand the impact that technology is going to play in his life experience. It has already rapidly changed our lives just in the last ten years. Think about the advances in AI, robots, medicine, travel, drones, and blockchain. What about the growing dependence on technology, the need for cyber security, and the growing economic disparities that are stressing our society.
A couple of years ago, Business Insider interviewed futurist Ian Pearson on his predictions for 2050. This is an individual who is known to make such predictions with 85% accuracy. At that time he predicted that drones would be making deliveries within the next two years. This is already happening in some markets. Some of his other predictions for 2050 include new clothing lines that will give people super-human skills like leggings that strengthen muscles; space tourism to Mars; 3D printed houses; and prosthetics- the merging of technology and our bodies- to give humans abilities that were once only considered for robots. Virtual reality in education may be the final technology that tips the scales for schools to use digital education tools over printed textbooks. These predictions have merit because most of this technology already exists and is being tested in various forms.
What is without dispute is that the world as we know it will be much different when my grandson is my age. The question is, how can we best prepare him and our students at Roycemore for this dramatically different world? What skills are needed? We have been having these conversations at Roycemore since last spring after the community viewing of the film, Most Likely to Succeed. This is a topic that I believe is one of the most important ones we should be thinking about and why I have been encouraging our faculty and community to think deeply on it. In cross-divisional department meetings, our faculty have been having conversations to further our thinking about the key skills that our students need to be successful no matter what they pursue after leaving Roycemore.
Next week we will host a community forum/ book chat on the book What School Could Be?. If you are interested in this topic, please join us on September 26th at 5:00pm in the MPR. And if you want to know where I stand on this matter, the subject and opening lines of this newsletter article provide a hint. I believe that no matter what field our young people choose to pursue, one of the most important skills they need to develop is communication, including the ability to write and speak well. Tied closely with it is the ability to analyze and discern complex information and then coherently discuss it with a leaning toward empathy of the person receiving that information. What are your thoughts? Join us on Sept. 26th or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you!