WHAT IF OUR ANCESTORS WERE INVITED TO A TECH SHOW?
By Ariellah Rosenberg, Chief Executive Officer, ORT South Africa
If we were to organise an exhibition of current technologies and invite our ancestors and descendants from the past to attend, what would their reaction be?
Our forefathers walked in the desert for 40 years to reach their desired destination. Imagine! After all the suffering, starving and struggling in the harsh climate and tough terrain to find out that with ‘flying technologies’ they could have made the journey within an hour! Moreover, with global positioning satellite (GPS) technology, it would have been so much easier to navigate their way. And oh! How crazy they’d think we are, counting our steps, with IoT devices, and sending information to a ‘cloud’…not to ask for direction from G-d but to…monitor our health!
Imagine Florence Nightingale, known for founding the modern discipline of nursing, and a key figure in introducing new professional training standards for nursing, visiting a robot display to reveal moving machines replacing the service of human care. Japan’s aging population (30% of its population is older than 65), faces a crisis of shortage of human resource in eldercare. To resolve this predicament, robots have been placed in nursing homes. Robots that move, cry and cuddle are replacing the human work force, from lifting people from bed to entertaining them, with much success. The elderly absolutely love them!
All those involved in getting our internet to where it is today! Who would have imagined that with all the impact of the internet on our culture, commerce, communication and technology that it will also generate the biggest crime, globally? According to the latest information, cybercrime will cost the world more than six trillion dollars annually by 2021. It will be more profitable than the combined global trade of all illegal drugs!
However, if we had Isaac Newton or Albert Einstein entering some of the current classrooms, they’d most probably see no difference from their own classroom, a hundred or so years ago. They will also notice that not much has changed with teaching and assessments, using a curriculum that is mostly outdated with techniques and pedagogies that prepared children for the industrial jobs of the 18th and 19th centuries.
Companies invest in enormous amounts of research to explore the use and impact of new technologies in the global economy (McKinsey, World Economic Forum and so many other papers and reports have been published on the topic.) But what about education? Isn’t it time that we explore transforming education to keep up with the pace of change and to prepare our future generation for the world of work?
We now know more than we knew in the past on how children learn and we know that new technologies are transforming jobs as we know them. But we continue to skill our children for jobs that soon will vanish.
It is time that industries, corporations, governments and educationalists work together to transform education through updated policies, curriculum and implementation of technologies as tools to assist with the digital transformation. It is time that we start implementing the use of technologies, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, data science and IoT in emulating successful methodologies and incorporating them in our classrooms.
The return on our investment will be higher than any business will ever generate. And who knows, – the fruits of these investments could
be showcased one day in an exhibition featuring future technologies produced by our own future generation.