Sir Ken Robinson in this video is speaking about education and how it squanders creativity. The most convincing sequence, in my opinion, is when he speaks about the future and what exactly we are preparing our children for. A children born this minute will have their careers span from about 2030 to about 2070 or so and education is supposed to prepare them for that future.

Robinson is speaking at TED and he refers to the fact that some of the most creative minds in the world are found in that room, but none can speak with any confidence about what the next five years will hold, let alone 2070. So what are we preparing our children for? Are we to load them with rote knowledge, facts, dates, structure? Or do we prepare them for situations that require agile thinking? Problem solving? An empowered learning structure? These are significant questions and they are not always in the abstract. The group, country, or organization that develops a structure that promotes creative and agile thinking will have a healthy advantage over any other.

But, as everything seems to be, education is a political concept. It has relevance to everyone because it is something that has contributed to the identity of each and every one of us. It has formed us in ways beyond our conscious understanding and for some, it has scarred them. Creativity is a national asset, an attribute that requires utmost care. Robinson speaks about this with a great deal of eloquence. It really is a must see for teachers invested in their craft.

Even better, as far as I am concerned, is that there doesn’t exist any overriding technological or economic determinism that plagues these discussions about the future of education. It is not who has the technology or who has the nicest facilities. It is simply who creates processes that stimulate rather than diminish an empowered wonder, an aggressive pursuit of knowledge and collaborative construction.

I love his anecdote from the speech. A teacher sees a young student drawing a picture. The teacher asks the student “what are you drawing there?” The student responds “I am drawing God.” The teacher says that nobody knows what God looks like. The student responds “well, they will in a second.” No hesitation, pure creativity designed to solve an information and knowledge need. Brilliant.


By Michael Gallagher

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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