Have you ever wondered how our lives will be in 2020? Some people believe that we are getting near to a reality like the one seen in futuristic movies, with self-drive cars, artificial intelligence capable of dealing with complex decisions and high-level automation, making some functions previously carried out by human force turn obsolete. This imminent change has been identified as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a term that was first used at Hannover Messe 2011, an automation event.
According to the World Economic Forum, we are about to experience a technological revolution that will change completely the way we live, work and even relate to each other. This whole new universe will be possible through the spread of several new features, including artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, Augmented Reality, 3D printing, nano, and biotechnology.
The transition starts in the industry, which already has examples of highly automated factories that discharge human strength to operate machines, but rather use it to manage the work - the molding process for Lego blocks, for example, is almost fully automated. Revolution can go even further: technology may replace the research phase in law firms, decisions about medical treatments may be taken automatically from the data analyses and robots will be capable to make decisions for us.
So how to grow along with these changes without being defeated by machines? The key is valuing creativity, knowing new languages and, especially, in education.
Source: Future of Jobs Report, World Economics Forum
Education is a big challenge now. If we do not change the way we teach, 30 years from now we will be in trouble. Because the way we teach, what we teach, is the same from 200 years ago. And we can not teach our kids to compete with machines, because they are smarter. We have to teach something unique, that a machine can never catch up with us.Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group, China’s e-commerce giant platform, in a speech to the World Economic Forum in 2018.
While it is hoped that in the near future machines will substitute job positions formerly occupied by humans, it is also increasing the demand for specialized professionals, able to handle this machines. Programming and robotics are essential abilities to face this new reality.
The new scenario also demands that we become more and more creative, collaborative and able to work with experiences that allow us to find innovative solutions to daily problems. “It is a very productive field, once creativity has finally come to be understood as a skill, capable of being developed. Motivated by a job market need - the search for this type of characteristic -, schools started to pay attention to it”, Maria Carolina Mariano, pedagogical coordinator in Casa Fundamental kindergarten.
As a response to these new demands of society, schools environment are changing, and this movement is designated as Education 4.0.
In the urge to shape people in a distinctive way, Education 4.0 emerged. The term includes several teaching strategies that go along with the recent labor market scenario and society need opposed to the traditional model:
As Alibaba* founder pointed out, traditional teaching model is antique and began exactly the same way that it still happens now: from the factory. The First Industrial Revolution put thousands of employees in factories, who needed to learn quickly, and in the same way, how to carry out their activities. Strategies created since then still exist such as knowledge standardization, hierarchization, and transmissional model, focused on teachers as a superior entity to the student. Have you ever realized how teaching fragmented into subjects, shifts and even hours resemble a factory operation?
* Alibaba Group is a Chinese holding focused on providing e-commerce solutions. In Brazil, it is best known for its online retail website, AliExpress.
There must be a paradigm change so people can keep up with the technological revolution that comes mainly from industry, but is already changing how we pay our bills, relate to each other and learn.
Some people say that one of the major challenges of Education 4.0 is educating children for professions that are yet to emerge. The purpose is to go further than focusing on specific techniques, and some of the ways to do so are teaching programming, applying technology in classrooms, learning through experimentation and developing social-emotional characteristics, that seeks to empower citizens to innovate and solve problems in any knowledge field.
Take a look at the major aspects of the revolution that is happening.
Back in time, it was important to standardize study experience, but now the Fourth Industrial Revolution provides different possibilities to customize each student’s learning process, and it is possible to do it through mobile applications, online teaching platforms, discussion forums, video lessons, etc.
A research by Porvir Institute with 132 thousand students in 2016 focused on innovation in education, indicates that students aspirations are along with this tendency. According to it, 66% of students consider imperative to have activities such as competitions, media creation workshops, and laboratories.
Furthermore, the available options to take fun and interactivity to classrooms are increasing each day and some are already being used in schools, such as content in gaming format, screens as support to abstract content, access to international knowledge networks and exchange of information in forums.
To 55% of students, technology should not only be present in computer labs.
Source: Instituto Porvir - Nossa Escola em (Re)Construção
In a near future, machines and robots will be a part of our daily lives, and programming will be very helpful in the labor market. For this reason, educators consider programming as the 21st-century language.
Programming teaching doesn’t mean transforming students into computer geniuses. Specialists argue that it is necessary to understand it so, in addition to using computers and cell phones, young people can become content producers and daily problem-solvers. Logical reasoning, teamwork, and creativity are some of the skills that a programming student can develop while learning.
Among the various areas to be explored in Education 4.0, a big part of them are concentrated in four main knowledge areas: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics - or STEM. Educators argue that STEM learning system brings with it important concepts such as interdisciplinarity, project development, critical thinking, problem assessment and problem-solving, and interpretation.
To World Economic Forum, education based in these areas can help people face big challenges, which will be important in a future likely to be marked by climate change and deep transformations in society’s organization.
STEMs also allow testing and creating new solutions using new technologies like robotics, laser cutters, and 3D printers. At this point, the lab resembles a small collaborative factory, where experimentation leads to innovation.
Imagine a place equipped with 3D printers, laser cutters, robotic kits and high-speed internet service. Add curious people, engaged in using all this technology to test an idea. When someone fails his project, others can help based on a previous experience and a mistake already solved. Innovative solutions emerge from that kind of collaboration.
This is how Maker Culture works, anchored on the idea of an experience-based learning and people’s capacity to create, not only to consume. This strategy is fundamental to educate citizens focused on transformation. The learning by doing methodology, help develop creativity, collaboration, and entrepreneurship, valuable features of the Fourth Industrial Revolution reality.
That is why renowned companies and educational institutions have invested in the Maker Culture to find innovative solutions. In 2001 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), for example, engaged in an extension project of the Center for Bits and Atoms to provide fab labs, so that students could test and prototype ideas.
The project was successful and spread to more units, creating a collaboration and innovation network: currently there are 1,000 laboratories distributed in more than 100 countries. One of them is Fab Lab Recife, a space focused in three missions: develop new products and solve problems in a creative way, stimulate technology learning and facilitate idea’s prototyping
If we look at preschool education, all learning process is experience-based. Several specialists perceived the importance of this methodology a while ago. We are naturally creative beings and the school could end up limiting possibilities when emphasizing content transmission and repetition. We should do the opposite as teachers: provide various and distinctive experiences to studentsMaria Carolina Mariano, Casa Fundamental pedagogical coordinator.
Education 4.0 aims to develop individuals capable of solving society’s problems. It’s no longer about how to use a machine, but understanding how it works and how it can improve our lives. For this matter, it is also necessary to comprehend other people’s reality, to get to know their needs, to work as a team and take responsible ethical decisions. This means socioemotional skills development should be included in future education.
A study by World Economic Forum indicates that social and emotional proficiency combined with traditional skills teaching is the right path to educate students able to stand out in the evolving digital economy. Several schools have been working this way, in order to provide a comprehensive education that goes beyond subject learning and teaches non-cognitive skills, such as collaboration, resilience, empathy, and compassion.
This aspect should have been one of the school principles since always. What we have been trying to do for a long time is to establish an affectionate, respectful environment where human relations are valued in essence and as a focus for the integral student development.Maria Carolina Mariano, pedagogical coordinator in Casa Fundamental.
Entrepreneurship is an important path to professional success in the 21st century. Although many people do not want to invest in their own ideas, several characteristics intrinsic to entrepreneurship are seen as essential for the future inside and outside companies, such as collaboration, curiosity, creativity, and adaptability. Take a look at the World Economic Forum's list of essential skills to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Source: New Vision for Education Report (2015) - World Economic Forum
If you believe that this educational revolution is far from happening in Brazil, here are some examples of how the school has changed in the country.
Created in 2012 from the namesake NGO, the school breaks with the traditional way of teaching, focused on subjects, school grades and periodic tests, and adopts the methodology of teaching through acquaintanceship, exchange of experiences and interdisciplinary projects. To do so, the school involves students in planning, encourages them to research and play, as well as holding workshops, dialogue meetings and assemblies. Beyond preparing students in the compulsory subjects the goal is to also raise autonomous citizens and protagonists of change.
A small school, which prioritizes personalized teaching in an environment that provides safety, and simultaneously, curiosity. This is one of Casa Fundamental’s characteristics, which has a project-based methodology to help students’ integral development. Opened in 2017, the institution also encourages teaching through multiple literacies - in addition to teaching Portuguese, mathematics and English -, includes yoga and meditation in the students’ routine and uses the school cafeteria as a space to promote pleasantly and healthily eating.
This social business aims to encourage and accompany the development of technology projects that have the potential to generate positive social impacts on communities in the state. One of the methodologies used is gamification. Through a seven-phase game, the student develops project management skills, time and people management, fundraising, communication, leadership and teamwork. In addition to this strategy, Social Brasilis holds digital inclusion workshops, strategic personal planning and supports entrepreneurs in the process of accelerating business of potential impact on the communities where it is present.
Teaching in two months a content that would, traditionally, take two years. This is the purpose of Le Wagon, a programming bootcamp and school, which has already trained almost 2,500 students. The course promises educate programmers capable to quickly prototype their ideas by creating their own web applications. To do so, it teaches web development, introduces the startups main tools and encourages the development of original projects.
Education 4.0 has been emerging as a solution to face future challenges, whether pointing out to the importance of experience-based learning or providing technological structures to project development. It comes to support the Fourth Industrial Revolution changes. Those who want to stand out in this new scenario should be in contact with Maker Culture and understand that entrepreneurial attitude is not limited to those who want to have their own business. So, hands on!