Education and Innovation or Educate to Innovate?

Education and Innovation or Educate to Innovate?


My response to:

Making Education the Foundation for our Innovation Economy

Published on May 7, 2017

By Rick Huijbregts

Digital Transformation and Innovation

I wrote in the title educate to innovate because I thought that that was one thing Obama said that was wrong, one of many! Education should not be for innovation and innovation is not good.

Dr. Rick Huijbregts stated, “Over the past few weeks I have had the good fortune to spend a lot of time with teachers and administrators of schools and school boards around the province (including my recent keynote to OPSOA). I’ve been passionate about the critical role educators play in helping us shape our Innovation Economy and preparing our future workforce for a digital world.”

I am just as passionate about keeping (or rather going back to education system of the 1950-1970s) the traditional education and what it was intended for in the first place.

Education was meant to create knowledgeable citizens so that we can govern ourselves.

You mention shape our Innovation Economy and preparing our kids for a digital world.

I will tackle the latter one first. Kids are already prepared in that they use the technology, a lot of it anyway.  We’ve never taught the use of the telephone or telegraph nor Eli Whitney’s Cotton Gin, nor Robert Fulton’s steam engine. We’ve never taught the internal combustion engine to all. We’ve never taught to the technology of the day so why do you want to start now?

Have you ever heard of the Hole in the Wall Project done in India? This says that kids can teach themselves technology, so it need not be taught in school. I taught myself MS Powerpoint, at the age of 30, so adults can teach themselves as well.

We should be teaching that which will not likely change and there is plenty of that out there. Education is supposed to transmit knowledge.

We do not have a functional crystal ball.

But education is Not the best way to teach fads. The particular technology of the day will be obsolete in 2-4 years. How does teaching fads help us govern ourselves? How does teaching fads even help in business? By the time someone graduates the stuff they were taught is obsolete!

Now I will address the former part of the statement. You want education to help shape our Innovation Economy?

You do not know that innovation just means change and change is change for the worse. It creates chaos! How is this good? Change should be proven to be better than what we currently have before it is implemented but the Catch-22 here is that in order to have proof for education one must first implement it and see if it or how well it works. Systems used to be asked for by companies but now innovation happens and they hope to sell it afterwards. This is backwards. Nobody has asked for all of these changes, to education, and elsewhere!

On top of this, innovation eliminates more jobs than it creates. This might be fine in a world with diminishing population but the world’s population is growing. So, innovation is bad for the world as a whole. Yet you want our schools to aid and abet in this travesty? AI is not all it’s cracked up to be. Driverless cars I see as a hazard. I think that there have already been 4 accidents, two in the US and two elsewhere.

Innovation can be good for a company or in the micro but it is bad for the economy in the macro. But once a company innovates then all must follow suit. So, instead of a space race or an arms race now we have an innovation race for the rat race. The people that get displaced at the company that forged the innovation end up having nowhere to go, once the innovation gets implemented by more and more organizations.

Dr. Rick Huijbregts wrote, “The business leaders that I engage with daily all recognize that their organizations will be disrupted. Consequently, they appreciate that they will need to transform themselves over the next three to five years in order to stay productive, competitive, and relevant. During this transformation we will see yesterday’s jobs become obsolete, and new jobs be required for tomorrow’s reality. Already we’re seeing that six out of ten most popular jobs today did not exist ten years ago. With great certainty, we can say that industry’s expectations and the jobs of tomorrow will look even more different than today.”

It is non sequitur to change education just because businesses will change. Schools and the workforce are two different areas. Actually, because things change so schools cannot keep up nor should businesses expect them to do so.

Dr. Rick Huijbregts submitted, “The kids in elementary or high school today will end up entering a workforce and economy that we don’t know what it exactly looks like. Tomorrow’s economy is being transformed and disrupted by current-day technologies such as mobile, video, internet of things, big data, analytics, and cloud/edge computing. Furthermore, drones, robots, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and autonomous cars (just to name a few) are technological advances that will further re-define our future.”

Yes you will not know what it will look like so how does one prepare the next generation of kids for an unknown future. The answer is you can’t and we never did. Actually, the future is always different than most people expect.

Again, business and education ought to be two mutually exclusive areas.

Dr. Rick Huijbregts declared, “Our new reality poses some serious challenges to today’s educators. “

They are challenging only because they are doing things that they should not be doing. They are being pulled apart with competing/contradictory goals.

Dr. Rick Huijbregts posited, “First, “what” we teach needs to be updated and upgraded to reflect the rapid changing needs from tomorrows industries. Coding skills become equally relevant to learning math, history, and language (both English and French in Canada). Not every child will become a programmer, but every child will need to understand how future roles will evolve and new jobs will be created. This is not a higher education or k-12 challenge alone. This transformation relates to the whole education eco-system…preparing our students for a new reality – from kindergarten through college and universities, including access to continuous learning after we enter the workforce. “Learning” in today’s Information Age and digital economy will never stop.”

Pretending to teach kids how to program will not cause a child to understand about future roles and changing jobs. It also won’t produce more adult computer scientists.

What you teach precisely does not need to be updated with fads.

Dr. Rick Huijbregts continued, “Second, “education” is an industry itself that will increasingly be disrupted in the Digital Age. Like every other sector, the education industry needs to transform itself and embrace digital capabilities to enable, differentiate and (re)define it. “

Again, education need not be disrupted. Only progressives want to disrupt it. Why does it need to redefine itself? Education is NOT a business.

Dr. Rick Huijbregts stated, “In k-12 we see some clear opportunities on how to renew, rethink, and re-imagine the future of education:”

Oh yes one can change things and that is the problem. All of the changes progressives have tried (and failed) and still want to try is what is messing up education.

Anytime and Anywhere

Dr. Rick Huijbregts wrote, “Learning does not only happen anymore in the classroom in front of a teacher. With mobile and video technologies, every child can learn whenever and wherever. The classroom dynamic is about to change. There will be more time for inclusive and personalized learning and teaching. For example: meet Peyton Walton. Payton is 10 years old and had to undergo cancer treatment while being away from school. To help her through this tough time, what she really needed was the normalcy of her classroom and being with her friends.”

Learning in a classroom in front of a teacher is all that is needed. You do not want give kids a break, to be kids. They have to be wired all of the time?

Global Classrooms

Dr. Rick Huijbregts put forth, “The experiences in the classroom can be enriched with video technologies and emerging capabilities such as virtual and augmented reality. Children can visit countries, cultures, museums, peoples, etc. in ways they’ve never experienced before. Immersive experiences will (re)engage students in new manners. There will be more time for richer and experiential learning and teaching. For example: Connected Connected is connecting over 100 indigenous classrooms across Canada with each other, and schools and institutions across the country. Learning extends beyond the walls of (remote) classrooms. Children across the country are learning from one another and they each get to experience global curriculum as if it happens right in front of them.”

Christ! Yes video technology such as DVD and TV set, if you want to show some simulation. Personally I’d rather the kids use their own imagination instead of someone else’s. But want you do not need is for every child to have his or her own laptop and getting these simulations online.

Children really cannot visit another country. Seeing it on a screen is not the same as being there. Again, radio was once thought that we should use it to teach with, then it was TV, and now it is the computer. The first two never panned out so why do you think that this one will or even should? The third time is the charm? I was raised on the TV and I never expected nor needed to be taught using a TV.

Why are you connecting classrooms across Canada? What is the need? This just complicates education. Reformers are for centralized education while I am for decentralized (or localized) education.


Smart Schools

Dr. Rick Huijbregts stated, “Technology allows school boards to redirect cost of schools and operations to learning and teaching (where the spending belongs). The Internet of Things connects all the building and learning systems in schools and classrooms. Big data analytics as well as centralized control and operations will streamline the performance of the physical assets. Spaces become more dynamics and responsive to the changing needs of the educator and student, while being cheaper to operate.”

Boy is this ever a contradiction. Spending on technology is one reason schools do not have enough money for essentials. When you waste money on technology then you are not able to buy things for the classrooms. If one does not change, it would be cheaper yet.

The Future of Schools and Education is Digital. Are you ready?

Dr. Rick Huijbregts concluded, “It is time for education administrators to see the disruption of economies and industries (their own included). Our children are a lot more ready for the digital world than we give them credit for. The question we should ask ourselves: are we providing the appropriate skills, learning experiences, and teaching environments that will truly prepare them for tomorrow’s future? Are we giving our teachers the tools and resources so they can renew, rethink, and re-imagine the future of education?”

I agree that kids are ready for the digital world and I have said so. They are ready so much so that technology need not be taught K-12.

Again, you cannot prepare for the unknown, except to be forewarned about  the probability of surprises. Spending money on technology is not spending it on other things needed for teaching.




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