Digital Disruption & Education: Building the Classroom of the Future, Today

Walk around outside. Almost everywhere you go, you would see different kinds of screens, devices, or gadgets, simple technologies that are easily part of our daily grind – digital billboards, smartphones with biometrics, machines that activate transport, apps that add efficiency to how we do things.  The Internet gave a whole new meaning to ‘instant access’ as physical distance became irrelevant through wires, technology, and the cloud creating a space for instant exchanges to happen. What we see everywhere around us today is a reflection of emerging and converging technologies. Each offering a new horizon of access to limitless information, possibilities to improve efficiencies, share data, build communities, boost creativity and freedom. It is quite clear to see that we have a bright future ahead of us. However, sometimes, it is not just about the hardware and the software, or the way we experience tech through well-designed interfaces. More often than not, it is with how we make use of them that matters.

THE INSTANT MARKET

Google is a friend delivering instant information. Waze gives instant estimated time of arrival. Apps can supply instant computations, decisions, and probabilities for businesses and personal lives. The age of one-click and one-tap access has increased efficiency and productivity. However, the question that most would ask remains: is this an excellent way to build the future generation? Is it healthy to depend so much on technology that, at some point, unplugging may no longer be an option? Gone are the days when one has to scour through encyclopedias and do surveys to get a single hypothesis or argument proven or supported. A simple request through a search engine could do this and more. The reliability of ‘human estimation’ often gauged instinctively may not get the best bets as algorithms and patterns that artificial intelligence readings also bear weight. Because we are so used to the instant, are there things left for us to work hard for?

DIRTY DATA AND FAKE NEWS

This issue of dirty data and fake news has been part of daily conversations and debates. Everyone can create content and make it viral as much as everyone could have access to information and then share it as one believes it to be true. Some portals that hit the top results pages of Google contain information that is crowd sourced or collated from what may be unreliable references. How can one be sure of a published article’s authenticity and credibility? New rules and laws are now being crafted by institutions to serve as guidelines for the use of the web. However, as we, humans, crawl our way in on discovering how to use technology to our advantage, are we also taking into account how to groom the future generation to live in this new ecosystem that we are currently building?

HUMANS VS. MACHINES

Almost, if not all jobs are now becoming digital. As industries attempt to shift to a more cost-efficient way of running their operations by maximizing technological platforms, an ongoing debate as to whether or not humans can entirely be taken over by machines in the future is gaining attention. While less human intervention may be needed for other industries and jobs, a new set of skill sets would be required and be in demand in the future. We’ve seen this trend in 2010 when the top 10 jobs started to shift to technology and digital related careers such as Big Data Analysts, Cloud services specialist, social media managers, app designers to name a few. All of which are did not even exist in 2004. More than 50% of the jobs today are expected to be replaced by artificial intelligence.  The current generation is slowly learning and training to acquire new talents that could match the changing requirements of industries.  As we do so, educational institutions and other stakeholders should also place enough focus on equipping our students and learners with the necessary training to foster creativity and critical thinking, not just the rote mastery of academic subjects. These are qualities which would be most useful as we face a rapidly evolving world.

These are some of the considerations that REX Book Store, a champion of holistic, 21st-century learning, had considered when they adopted the whole child approach as guidance in developing their offerings. First developed by an organization called ASCD, the whole child initiative is an effort to ¨transition from a focus on narrowly defined academic achievements¨ to one that forms a holistic connection towards fulfilling the success of young learners through long-term development and guidance. As ASCD’s official partner in the Philippines, REX Book Store has been actively creating programs, offering a symphony of learning solutions to assist not just learners but parents and institutions with the vision of transforming today´s classrooms into future-ready learning environments.

True to its mission, REX Book Store has continued to contribute in fostering sustainable and collaborative partnerships among concerned stakeholders: taking lead in the effort to create holistic learning experiences that would enable learners to be future leaders and professionals who carry fundamental principles of human dignity and a keen sense of social justice, while also keeping ahead of the curve in leveraging the resources which the 4th industrial revolution brings. Through its deep understanding of how digital disruption can be leveraged for education, REX Book Store is leading the way and laying the groundwork for the next generation of practitioners who are not just tech-savvy but also consciously committed to providing responses to relevant issues that affect the way we live our everyday lives. This is the kind of engagement and social responsibility that proceeds with critical thinking and is firmly rooted on human values of respect, dignity, and harmonious understanding, producing whole and joyful young persons with an immense desire to contribute to the betterment of society.

Learn how you can be ready to take on your role in grooming whole and joyful young learners with the desire to contribute to the society and join the conversation about how we can all work together for the Whole Child, Visit www.wholechild.rexbookstore.ph.

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