TransformED Denmark & The Future of Schools

by Hannah Bergqvist

I am super duper proud of being a part of this movement, TransformED Denmark. It’s a group of open-minded, progressive, ambitious and dedicated change-makers, teachers, educators, digital editors and creative entrepreneurs, innovation consultants, managers and school heads, who have come together to challenge and improve the current educational climate and promote change within our schools.

#why?

Learning should be fun (!) and encourage curiosity and creativity as the key incentives to both deep thinking, learning and real world problem solving. Most importantly, schools should nurture and promote children’s individual passions and talents, not drain them. And that, by the way, goes for the teachers’ passions and talents as well! Our current school system is organized according to principles and structures that were outlined more than 100 years ago. But today, as the technological development has computers and robots taking over more and more of our jobs, innovation in the 21st century calls for new ways of preparing our children for the future challenges. Instead of dependent, memorizing, replicating and consuming students, the goal must be to educate active, creative, autonomous, knowledgeable and adaptable people, who can work with others to innovate in the new economy and dare to think outside the box. To quote John Dewey: “if we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow!”

A transformation of the old-school system and mindset is necessary. Now!

So many great ideas are in play, and project-based learning (#pbl) is one method that combines knowledge acquisition with practical skills development to encourage students to use their knowledge and creativity to make projects/products that can answer questions raised by real world problems. The changed focus from compliance to innovation, or from “collecting the dots” to “connecting the dots” speaks volumes.

Last Monday, we gathered at Microsoft Denmark for the screening of the American documentary “Most Likely to Succced” featuring project-based learning as facilitated at High Tech High in San Diego, California. (Watch the trailer below). After the screening, we had a workshop including discussions about the who, what, when, where and – of course – the how. And the result? The foundation of TransformED Denmark. Yay!

So. If you have an interest in education and the future of our schools, this is definitely a movie you would want to watch! We’re currently working on arranging more screenings around the country. You can also join our group on Facebook or send me a pm.

This topic is a hot potato, and there are as many opinions, pros and cons, as there are teachers, educators, policy and decision makers. What’s important is 1) that we stop nagging at teachers – they’re doing a hell of a job and we need them to do their best every day, so let’s start cheering them! – and 2) that we keep discussing how we can create, share and grow new ideas to give our kids the best possible education, one that embraces and recognizes who they are and the talents and passions they have – whether it’s in robotics or dancing. We all learn in different ways and schools and educators should be free to support this difference so that our kids can develop in tune with who they truly are.

Imagine a school, where, instead of knowledge reproduction, learning is about creative customization, where students and teachers have fun learning with each other; a school where the learning process is fueled by curiosity, creativity, passion. In the end, it all comes down to what kind of people you want your kids to grow up to be?

“The fact is that given the challenges we face, education doesn’t need to be reformed- it needs to be transformed. The key to this transformation is not to standardize education, but to personalize it, to build achievement on discovering the individual talent of each child, to put students in an environment where they want to learn and where they can naturally discover their true passions.”

(Sir Ken Robinson)

(Originally published on Linkedin on April 17th, 2016).

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