It may sound like something out of a sci-fi film, but technology firm Promethean recently trialled the use of an interactive hologram teacher in a London classroom. Known as a ‘HumaGram’ this holographic educator is touted as being highly interactive and extraordinarily lifelike.
Readin, writin’ and ‘rithmetic… I’m sure that if many of us Gen X and older were to return to our schooling days it may have resembled something like this. For generations, education has involved the rote learning of dates, formulas and quotes which are forgotten as soon as they are assessed.
If there is any industry prone to disruption, it is education. The fundamental place for future preparation, you would expect the schooling system to be ahead of its time with its eyes on the future, but as the world had changed rapidly in recent decades, it has proved itself prone to walking in the steps of the past.
If you rose through the grades of the schooling system in the last forty years or so, it is almost certain that at some point you were encouraged toward university. With its lures of prestige and its promises of the expansion of the mind, and a cap, gown and certificate waiting at the end, it has kept young people captivated by the hope of their own future.
Inversely, vocational training, apprenticeships and industry work have been negatively affected by people’s prejudices against them. Presenting as paths of education with fewer prospects, less prestige and less purpose, numbers within them have dropped dramatically compared to tertiary education, and society is feeling the burden of this imbalance.
Recent years have seen the discussion of the relevance of the current education system come to dominate public dialogue. Doubts and fears have risen surrounding the prospects of the current form of education in Western countries, the preparation of students for a rapidly changing technological world, and inequalities within the system.
The need for change is clear, but there is an underlying concern that it seems unachievable and unrealistic to adopt the progressive practices that often seem limited to the north of Europe.