What are the biggest trends shaping education? Define learning literacy? How is online education transforming Latin America? Our voices in The Global Search for Education this month, including Thana Faroq, Gabriel Sanchez Zinny, Tracy Burns, Felix Bernstein, Michael Trucano, Jon Harman and Jim Wynn, shared profound insights into the art world, the growing opportunities afforded by new technology, the lessons learned in observing street life, and strategies to revolutionize education in order to realize in our children the promises of life-long learning. And listen up Silicon Valley - our Top 12 Global Teachers have also shared their top tips on designing software for the world's classrooms.
How education will serve a rapidly changing global economy has continually become a more pressing issue. This is no less the case in Latin America. Gabriel Sanchez Zinny addressed the need for educational transformation in newly burgeoning economies: "As Latin America comes down from a decade of growth based on exporting commodities at high world prices, it faces the next challenge: transitioning to a higher-productivity economy." With growth comes the need for new skills and a new market for post-secondary education. The problem here is the price tag of traditional schools and "private, lower-cost, largely online options are well positioned to reshape education more fundamentally."
Talented young artist Felix Bernstein's debut of Bieber Bathos Elegy at The Whitney Museum of American Art this month is a hybrid work of opera, poetry, cabaret drag, and deconstruction criticism featuring Bernstein as the thinking millenial's poet trying to figure out where lieth the reality in the labyrinth of life in a digital age. The performance also evokes the theme of mourning and loss. Bernstein allows personal tragedy, the death of his sister, to influence his art. "In your early twenties, you have to go really fast otherwise you miss the boat. And I'm on the boat...but I'm not willing to merely look forward."
Perhaps the greatest challenge facing global education is rising inequality. Tracy Burns, in her interview about the OECD report, Trends Shaping Education 2016, clearly outlined the discrepancy: "...the gap between rich and poor is at its highest level in 30 years." Problems that face these countries are not limited to economic inequality. They include climate change, the expansion of metropolitan life, tight domestic budgets, and changing labor demands. And Burns commented, "...education systems need to create critical thinkers that are able to connect their daily decisions to long-term consequences - not just for themselves but for society as a whole."
"We have never taught people how to learn. We have confused the teaching of soft skills as teaching learning, but it wasn't." This thought from CEO of Imagine Entertainment, Jim Wynn, set the tone for the 16th Education Fast Forward (EFF16) debate. Keynotes including Secretary General of the International Federated Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Elhadj As Sy, Senior Education & Technology Policy Specialist and Global Lead for Innovation in Education at the World Bank, Michael Trucano, and ICT and Digital Literacy expert Jon Harman, joined delegates from nations all over the globe to debate how we develop learning capacities, the behaviors we now need as well as the competencies essential to thriving in a globally connected world.
"Stories that cross cultural barriers can describe realities to them and bring new perspectives to their little worlds. They will grow up with real values of tolerance, love and understanding." Powerful insights from young Yemenese artist Thana Faroq who uses her art "to eliminate ignorance, educate and inspire, even during times of war." In my interview with Thana, she reflected on storytelling through pictures, the role her International Baccalaureate education played in her incredible journey as an artist, and the capacity of the human spirit to prevail.
Tributes continue to flow for the remarkable Joe Bower who unexpectedly passed on in early January. Through his regular contributions to the Top 12 Global Teacher Blogger series each month, Joe inspired me, our entire team and thousands of educators, parents and students around the world. Joe's legacy lives on in the rich contributions he made to all those who knew him and in his popular blog, "For the Love of Learning."
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(Photo is courtesy of Thana Faroq)
Join me and globally renowned thought leaders including Sir Michael Barber (UK), Dr. Michael Block (U.S.), Dr. Leon Botstein (U.S.), Professor Clay Christensen (U.S.), Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond (U.S.), Dr. MadhavChavan (India), Professor Michael Fullan (Canada), Professor Howard Gardner (U.S.), Professor Andy Hargreaves (U.S.), Professor Yvonne Hellman (The Netherlands), Professor Kristin Helstad (Norway), Jean Hendrickson (U.S.), Professor Rose Hipkins (New Zealand), Professor Cornelia Hoogland (Canada), Honourable Jeff Johnson (Canada), Mme. Chantal Kaufmann (Belgium), Dr. EijaKauppinen (Finland), State Secretary TapioKosunen (Finland), Professor Dominique Lafontaine (Belgium), Professor Hugh Lauder (UK), Lord Ken Macdonald (UK), Professor Geoff Masters (Australia), Professor Barry McGaw (Australia), Shiv Nadar (India), Professor R. Natarajan (India), Dr. Pak Tee Ng (Singapore), Dr. Denise Pope (US), Sridhar Rajagopalan (India), Dr. Diane Ravitch (U.S.), Richard Wilson Riley (U.S.), Sir Ken Robinson (UK), Professor Pasi Sahlberg (Finland), Professor Manabu Sato (Japan), Andreas Schleicher (PISA, OECD), Dr. Anthony Seldon (UK), Dr. David Shaffer (U.S.), Dr. Kirsten Sivesind (Norway), Chancellor Stephen Spahn (U.S.), Yves Theze (LyceeFrancais U.S.), Professor Charles Ungerleider (Canada), Professor Tony Wagner (U.S.), Sir David Watson (UK), Professor Dylan Wiliam (UK), Dr. Mark Wormald (UK), Professor Theo Wubbels (The Netherlands), Professor Michael Young (UK), and Professor Minxuan Zhang (China) as they explore the big picture education questions that all nations face today.
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C. M. Rubin is the author of two widely read online series for which she received a 2011 Upton Sinclair award, "The Global Search for Education" and "How Will We Read?" She is also the author of three bestselling books, including The Real Alice in Wonderland, is the publisher of CMRubinWorld, and is a Disruptor Foundation Fellow.