The future is digital – but education is analogue (still)

This is Peter Isaacson – Adobe VP for Worldwide Education – on “Adobe in Education– Trends, Challenges and the Road Ahead.”  Talking about student alienation, disengagement, dropping out. The 6 Ds. Displaced, Disengaged, Disconnected, Declining achievement, Dropping out, Draining resources. Drop-out rate at record levels around the world (secondary and tertiary). The high-tech student is ‘displaced’ in the typical classroom – like flying on a plane is an analogy used by a student.  Gets told where to sit, the seats are uncomfortable, the food is lousy, and you are passively under control of the pilot and the stewardesses. Powering down and disconnecting from everything that is ‘important in life’ for the student.  Disengagement contributes to declining achievement. Students are disconnected from acquiring the skills that employers are looking for (You play world of warcraft ? – you’re hired – John Seely Brown ).  The biggest growth industry right now in California is the prison system – many high-school dropouts ending up in prison.

So how can a more digital classroom – powered by Adobe products – address the issue of disengagement and displacement ?

Link between length of time students have been using a computer and student performance on the PISA maths scores – positive influence.  US Dept of Education study showing that blended learning improves student achievement. UK study shows that using ICT across the curriculum supported learning gains in English and Science. Using technology at home for educational purposes improves math and science scores. Etc.

3 stages of technology deployment: 1 – computers in labs. 2 – technology in classrooms. 3 – technology access anywhere (fundamentally transformational). This third level is about social networking and learning 21st C skills. Blend of informal and formal learning.  ICT can be used to enhance creativity – over 80% of teachers agree.

Creativity, media literacy, communication, collaboration are key for 21st C skills. Adobe Youth Voices programme (ala ‘Not School’ ? ).

But all of these ‘solutions’ require a full knowledge infrastructure to enable engaged teaching and learning.  (Biggs said this long ago – ‘the system as a whole needs to be structured for deep approaches to learning..”).  How do we give students across the campus and curriculum access to creativity tools (Adobe) and ICT skills – Indiana University project in the first 12 months 112,000 downloads of Adobe products.  Not just in the Design School but across disciplines.

So Adobe can help schools, instiutions, state systems provide ubiquitous access to technology based on EFTs not software units (this is an improvement) and using hosted services (anywhere access).  OK – I sense a discussion coming on with the NZ Adobe reps….

But – somehow I don’t think that mere access to tools is going to solve the problem.  There is a major issue with skill development for teachers and most critically the need to transform understandings of pedagogy. Simply downloading In Design won’t automatically change and enhance educational design.

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