GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Title of Paper:
The Learning Outside of Education
Paper Proposal Text :
“Do schools kill creativity?” was a question asked by Sir Ken Robinson in his much acclaimed TED Talk. Almost a decade later, today the answer is quite clear in the education system’s growing emphasis on standardization in test, curriculum, education delivery among others. Growing demand for education worldwide has resulted in more standardization in order to deliver education with limited resources.

It is a travesty in life when we hand over our children bursting with possibilities to an outdated factory model of education that is bound by scheduled timetable to study and breaks, compartmentalized learning of subjects, long summer break that lulls the mind, tests that do not relate to real life, negative reinforcements that kills curiosity, overworked teachers who are at breaking point, underutilized technology resources gathering dust in classrooms.

An increase in dissatisfaction with the education process is visible in alternative methods adopted by parents worldwide. Though homeschooled children represent only 4% of all school age children in the US, a recent report in Education News states that, since 1999, the number of children who are homeschooled has increased by 75%.

While in school learning provides the social context of learning, we need to open our minds to possibilities of Learning outside The Classroom that will make the ‘hopeless in school an achiever in life’.

Today university degrees do not necessarily guarantee a job, it is life skills suitable for the 21st century that will make a difference. In a world that is shifting in ways we cannot comprehend, skills such as creativity, critical thinking, resilience, teamwork, learning to learn are keys to success. In this new era with access to ubiquitous technology, we now have possibility of Massive Open Online Courses like Khan Academy that provide students anywhere in the world access to high quality learning on any academic subjects from their schools or out of it. Built in gamification techniques ensure student engagement in ways not possible through mere students presence in classrooms. Learners in GCC are more wired than their parents and access to smartphones, WIFI, use of social media is one of the highest in the world. Learners in this demographic adopt technologies for learning at much faster rate than their institutions or teachers can comprehend its applications.

Children are natural learners and curiosity is the spark for ensuring continuous learning as children progress into adulthood. Out of school centers like museums, community centers, libraries offer learning opportunities that are beyond the constraints of curriculum, tests and teaching hours. Such opportunities present students with out of the box experimentation that expands their curious minds that discovers the wonders of learning and indeed the world.

This workshop will present various out of school learning opportunities that will help learners in the GCC and elsewhere excel in school and build lifelong skills required in the future. Makerspaces, Fablabs, Museums, STEM centers, Online technologies, Open world virtual games, Robotics Clubs, are some of the prospects that will change the approach to learning and its learners to prepare for the future.