Schools change because students learn in new ways. Today tutoring bars have replaced classrooms, and playlists have displaced subjects. Curriculum architectonics as a matrix makes “knowledge construction” Open Source. No one owns the truth. Everyone has the right to be heard. What remains is a fracture between the fake and fact. In his magnum opus “The Death of Command and Control?”, Marc Prensky brings into relief that those born from 1995 to 2015 are the “First Digital Native Generation”. Prensky coined the abridgments “Digital Native” and “Digital Immigrant” and outlined the inner visage and contours of the “MZ” generation (Millennials (born 1981-1996) and Gen Z (born 1997-2012).
The MZ generation has grown up with tablets, desktops, laptops, smartphones, and breathe smart air. They live completely immersed in the global omnipresence of the WWW and social platforms like TikTok and interfaces like Waze. They navigate the virtual world naturally. The internet is both the ocean and the sail. They read laterally hyperlinking across topics and web pages. They always begin somewhere in the middle and end in the beginning. In the end, their brains are wired differently from their parents. Their reading habits are curated around digital content. They do not read texts chained between two hardcovers. Texts that impose the logic of the author in fixed linear chapters built using technologies from the age of Guttenberg. They are free to choose what to believe and what to leave behind. For them, the screen is the new page and data visualizations are worth more than a thousand words.
They listen to real-time streaming digital audio, watch video content on Netflix and ask Alexa to set a timer and to play availability alerts and notifications. They take digital photos and know how to retouch, edit and move large files using WeTransfer. They make multimedia presentations using Canva, communicate on Jamboard with a wide range of socially networked persons, and expect almost instant gratification. They create their own digital content independently, multitask with poise, stand out for their speed in decision-making, self-learning, and digital savviness and they immediately demand valuable results. The MZ generation is the first transformative generation connected to the internet eternally.
When countries speak of Digital Transformation, this generation asks – What’s in it for me? They are not rude. They are digital natives. Not migrants. “Education Indicators in Focus” is an episodic chain of OECD briefs highlighting unique markers in OECD’s “Education at a Glance” that are of interest to practitioners. These policy briefs show that the number of tertiary-educated young adults (25-34 years old) in OECD and the G20 member countries has increased by nearly 45% in the last ten years and this pattern is set to keep growing until 2030.
If these trends persist, the contribution of OECD countries to the global talent pool will keep shrinking through 2030. It is therefore anticipated that Asia will supply more than 60% of the G20 workforce with qualifications in science, technology, engineering, and mathematical sciences by 2030. These data further support the view, that the digital natives of Generations Y and Z possess an intuitive understanding of technology. However, they may not have amassed the expert cap-abilities and experiential knowledge which many industries require. Cloud-based connected-workplace technology and the Industry Internet of Things now bridge the experiential knowledge gap across the shop floor, across generations, across learning pods, and across the planet.
The Rise of the Network changes everything for workers using the Industry Internet of Things and the Connected Child, in a Learning Pod running the course of a Connected Curriculum. Open and Big Data, analytics, and data visualization provide this Network Effect. But without data, there is no Digital Transformation. The information we need today was not available yesterday. And it is out-of-date by tomorrow. Schools of the future will require curricula delinked from the establishment. Curricula that are built every day by industry advisory boards consisting of persons who are competent content specialists knowing Gagne hierarchies of topic lines offhand and others lurking on the fringes of knowledge creation. Anything else is a curriculum dragged by an undertone of yesteryear and disconnected from the future of work.
Previous industrial revolutions were propelled by steam power, combustion engines, electricity, oil and gas, electronics and nuclear energy that rippled deep-seethed shifts across social, economic, environmental, and political systems altering humanity. During previous industrial upheavals, many skills became unfashionable. For centuries, Bengal’s handloom weavers produced fine muslins as light as “woven air”. Bengal cloths were exported to Japan, Java, Egypt, Persia, Europe, and China. During the 1750s, Bengal’s textile exports is estimated to have been about sixteen million rupees.
The machines of Britain’s Industrial Revolution erased handmade Indian textiles from markets. This destruction of textile competition from India resulted in the first great de-industrialization of the modern world. Master weavers became drifters. Skill atrophy during every industrial revolution is common. The skill of building a pirogue using lumber hewn from local trees fastened together by dovetail joints and long copper nails is no longer needed. Hull moulds and fiberglass dominate. We are at the edge of a Brian Gain. What futures are we educating for?