I was introduced to a website yesterday called "World Clock". There are actually a number of such websites to choose from, but what they offer is a frighteningly confronting look at how quickly our world is changing. Just as an indicator, open the following site while you read this blog:http://www.worldometers.info/
Take note of how many babies are born and how many people die in the time it takes to read this blog. Mind blowing stuff when the numbers are rolling over in front of your eyes! What is even more interesting are some of the other measures. For example, have a look at the number of new book titles published this year in comparison to the other numbers in the section on society and media. It is no surprise that the number of emails sent today and google searches conducted is astronomical. Here is an equally interesting site which is along the same lines as the one above but has a particular focus on environmental aspects of population growth:
Have a look at the number of planet earths we need in order to provide resources and absorb waste at the current rate of usage!
It would be very easy to be critical of these statistics and perhaps make judgements – particularly when you see the number of cigarettes smoked today...but instead, let's look at it as important information which we can use in order to shape a positive response, particularly in the area of education.
At Turramurra High School, we are seeking to create future-focused learners in this ever-changing world. When you look at the figures from these websites, it reiterates the importance of creating learners who are agile in their thinking and flexible in their approach to solving problems. Our young people are going to have some big problems to solve over the coming century. I don't think it is at all helpful to have a "doom and gloom" response to the change we see happening in our world because that disables our thinking and creates a sense of helplessness. I believe that the young people of today will come up with the most incredible solutions to the problems of the future, not only because of the fact that invention is borne out of necessity but we are living in a period of time where the rapid evolution of technology has created, in the past ten years, innovation that we could never have believed possible.
Sometimes we need to think creatively about our systems and processes when it comes to innovation. Education may have reached a point, for example, where we need to look beyond "just doing the same thing better" and think about completely restructuring the system to meet the needs of its users. At THS we are taking an "Improvement Science" approach (Tony Bryck 2015) to tackle system problems and try to create innovative solutions. One of the ways we are doing that is through our involvement in a Hub School partnership with UTS which we have called InSITE. This project is focused on reimagining initial teacher education in order to significantly change the future of teaching so that we are better able to meet future-focused learning needs of our students. The project is best summarised in this short video:
Whether you believe the figures from the World Clock are accurate or not, the concept is irrefutable. Change is happening right now and it is up to us how we choose to respond to it.
As always, I look forward to hearing your responses and welcome your thoughts via the school website.
Stephanie McConnell - Principal