As I prepare for today’s #aussieED chat on, ‘Connections’ I am uniquely aware of two interesting situations. As many of you are aware, the month of October is now known as Connected Educator Month. This was an initiative that began with the United States Government seeing the need to help teachers connect with each other and to better prepare their country as a modern educational institution. Interestingly, only a few days ago the Australian government changed leaders which means we now have a new Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and as a result of a cabinet reshuffle we now have a new Minister for Education, Simon Birmingham.
Before I delve into anything more serious, I would like to congratulate Senator Birmingham on his promotion. I would especially like to applaud his uniquely-Australian Twitter handle; @Birmo. I hope to see the account name stay as long as possible. Kudos to you.
On a more serious note, the reshuffling of the government raises new questions for the vision and direction of the educational sector within Australia. As Jane Hunter recently noted in her article, Malcolm Turnbull has committed to being a government of the 21st century but, given that we’re already 15 years into the 21st century, what does this actually mean for education?
This blog post is in preparation of an open letter that I am planning to write to Senator Birmingham. That letter will ask several questions that will come from the #aussieED PLN. During tonight’s Twitter chat one question will be, “What would you like to ask your government about the vision it has for the future of education?” I would love to see a formal response from Senator Birmingham or the government to some of these questions. If you would like to ask a question, feel free to post a response to this blog or send a tweet during the #aussieED chat. Alternatively, send me a DM at any time.
The way I see things as we move deeper into the 21st century and we look at the decline of the mining/resources boom we need to think about what are our priorities in education? We should also ask ourselves, if education is about making students future ready then what skills would be required now or tomorrow?
When looking at the report from Levy, Frank and Richard J. Murnane. “Dancing with robots: Human skills for computerized work.” Third Way NEXT. 2013. one can clearly see that developing non-routine skills, particularly interpersonal skills and analytical skills will be in high demand in the modern labour market. Does our current education system develop these skills? Is there enough emphasis on them, or, are we still developing the labour force skills that were needed in the 1960’s?
We know that with the roll out of the Digital Technologies curriculum there will be a focus on computational thinking and related skills. Is there the priority to put in place enough support for coding initiatives, etc? Will we see drones, droids and robots being worked on in our schools? Is the government going to back up this new curriculum document with real action or will the government just pay lip service to these needs?
In his previous role as assistant to Christopher Pyne, Simon Birmingham stated that he was committed to building broad support for policy reform. What does it look like in real terms? What does this mean for Gonski funding? What is the Senator’s vision for the future of education in Australia?
Now is your chance! Please tweet your questions for Senator Birmingham and I will frame a letter to include the most commonly requested questions from the #aussieED PLN.
See you online and thank you for connecting.