The Learning Renaissance

Destination Dystopia…

In 2001 I was involved in taking young graduate engineers from Marconi, into Nottinghamshire schools as part of the SETNET programme for developing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics into schools.

The graduate engineers had designed an experiment to show how fibre optic cable worked. This was part of their work towards Graduate Chartered Engineer status. Both what they had to say, and their presence provoked a lot of conversations about science, but even more so about how you became an engineer. There was the inevitable question about how much the job paid which the engineers answered with grace and good humour.

At the time the Nokia 3210 was the latest in phone technologies and the engineers asked what the students would like to see on their phones in the future. One girl said that she was very happy with her phone as it was as she could phone home and text her friends. She was very resistant when the engineers suggested they could add a camera and allow streaming video on her phone. If only they had followed her lead.

As it is, within a generation, no more than 15 years, the mobile phone has become an annoying distraction. Yesterday, I saw a mother with one child in a wheelchair and a 4 year old dawdling behind, so engaged in watching her screen that she was totally unaware that her child had fallen four paces behind her in the middle of a busy road. It was only the quick thinking of a motorist that saved him.

I watch parents walking their young children to school in the morning engrossed in texting with no communication between them. I see babies in pushchairs not even being able to entice their parents to make eye contact, so engrossed are they in their mobile screen.

We are storing up a heap of trouble if this situation is not addressed soon.

About educationalist04

I'm convinced we can, as a species, do much better than this if we set our minds to being much more positive and productive towards our fellow humans. The solution is learning - creating independent and autonomous learners who can problem solve, innovate and create a better more equitable and sustainable world. My books, Future Proof Your School and Re-Examining Success together with this blog, explore how better learning outcomes for all can be achieved.

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