Time to get education right
In these challenging economic times, helping European students to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to support their success as adults has become critical to the long-term competitiveness of Europe.
It is therefore vital to make smart investments in the tools and skills so today’s youth can advance tomorrow’s competitive knowledge economy. Yet, austerity in Europe is putting additional pressure on government budgets and investing in education is becoming increasingly difficult. In this context, transformational trends in education are needed. More courageous steps are needed from governments and education leaders. To quote Bruce Dixon, founder of Anytime Anywhere Learning
I’ve been thinking about it for a while, and I genuinely believe that our introduction of computers into schools over the past 30+ years would in fact make an excellent case study on how not to diffuse innovation. Let’s buy computers for schools and lock them away in a room so that only ‘computing royalty’ can manage their use; let’s tell teachers that they need to ‘be computer literate’, but fail to give them access; and let’s spend hundreds of millions of dollars training teachers on how to use software applications, but fail to convey the real benefits of what the purpose of it all is.
In light of all this, I applaud the timidity that many, indeed most teachers have shown towards technology. In the context I have outlined we deserve no better response.
What about if we took a different approach? What about if for a start we actually thought that providing both teacher and student access to their own personal portable computer was a necessary pre-condition to any sort of computer use in schools? Stop playing at computing, and start doing it seriously; not just because every single employment opportunity our students will have, will require technology familiarity and competence, but most significantly because of what it makes possible for our learners and their teachers!
We didn’t tell our bank employees they could go to a computer room when a customer wanted account details; we didn’t for one minute suspect that every bank employee should be ‘digitally literate’ and then send them back to counter without computer access…so why was that OK for teachers?
This can only be achieved if decision makers equip themselves with the right mindset that could help advance reform with the support of technology. The question remains, are decision makers ready to take the next step?
Against this background, Microsoft’s event entitled “Getting Education Right: Tackling today’s opportunities and challenges in education to build future skills”, seeks to explore the role that technology has to play in preparing European youth with the 21st century skills needed for an innovative society and successful economies. Presenters from the non-profit, policy and industry spheres will talk about the opportunities and complexities education delivery faces today.
Amongst the confirmed speakers are: Pierre Mairesse, Director “Lifelong Learning” DG EAC, European Commission; Regina Murray, Director Western Europe Education, Microsoft; Kevin Bartlett, Director, The International School of Brussels; Greg Butler, Director of Education Strategy, Microsoft; Patricia Wasteau, Senior Researcher, European SchoolNet; Mette With Hagensen, International Parent Organization; Kirsten Panton, Western Europe Lead Partners in Learning , Microsoft.
When: Tuesday 5th June 2012
Where: Microsoft Executive Briefing Center, Avenue des Nerviens 85, 1040 Brussels.
What: Policy Discussion with education experts followed by a networking lunch.
Who: EU and national policy makers, industry, IT education professionals, representatives from international education organizations
Please note that the event is invitation-based only. For more information send an email to email@example.com