It’s a learning revolution

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THOSE of us born before the 1990s have had the experience, and some might say benefit, of living in two worlds.

The pre-digital world was the word of VHS tapes, pay phones and typewriters.

In the digital world, we stream movies, carry what Steve Jobs called “lifestyle devices” (mobile phones) in our pockets and share much of our lives online.

It seems incredible to think that children born in the 90s or after have only ever known a digital world.

Their immersion in all things digital even prompted federal government initiatives like the 2008 Digital Education Revolution.

The program was aimed at delivering laptops to all senior high school students and ensuring schools and teachers had access to resources.

It was a bold but in the end futile attempt to ensure schools kept pace with technology. The reality is that schools will never be able to keep pace with technology.

But what we do need in Australian schools is a revolution in learning and teaching because the world our young people inhabit today is very different from the past.

Our response should be about so much more than adding coding classes or buying more iPads. We need to focus on how we teach today’s learners to become critical consumers of information, creative thinkers, collaborative contributors and independent learners.

We need a learning revolution that recognises that young people are connected to the world in ever-changing ways and that so much learning happens outside of regular school times.

We all have a part to play in the revolution. For teachers, it means being flexible, and open to new ways of doing things and continual learning.

For governments, it means giving teachers greater control over their working lives. This includes how and what is taught in schools.

For parents, it means trusting in the work of teachers and being open to new ways of leaning.

In this brave new world, we are all (digital) learners.