I have written the 1st version of this article in 2016, 4 years ago when COVID19 was just part of a hypothetical scenario of how the world can become a threat if there is no a change of the system that makes it resilient, sustainable in the long term and with a strong technology at the service of the well-being of all. By that time my focus was on creating -or better said re-create- new models of Education and not just the insertion of technology, a true joint venture that makes of the Education system progressively innovative. Many initiatives have been implemented: new methods, techniques, the introduction of new subjects, or ways of teaching that tend to prepare new generations towards more inclusive societies to make them resilient and their students more sensible to future crises.
Unfortunately after 4 years, it seems that only a devastating crisis like COVID19 can boost the changes with speed and energy towards a sense of alert for the planet and our routines. So, let us take as an opportunity to thrive by investing in what should have been done before: smart technology in Education.
Homeschooling is now the symbol of a chaotic world , however, it is a way to move forward not necessary from fear but cautious, not only a social distancing attitude but a protective one, not cancelling relationships but building new ones under new priorities. The Education system is the one that can and should deliver these new codes making of virtual platforms a tool, not only one more tool that assist them during crises. This difference is what makes it sustainable beyond crisis and adapted to current crisis face to a future world lead by artificial intelligence with the most important aspect: without losing creativity and human passion for learning.
Recently the Spanish Government announced an investment of 260 million for digital Education, confirming that it is not just a transitory process of crisis but also the establishment of a new normal. That is key; it is not about going back to normal easily and equal to the past, but to build resources for new normality different from the past. The traces that crises leave in society are immeasurable and must be taken into account at the time to design a new Education system based on technology, therefore on adaptation. That is the smart focus to tackle this and future crises: an Education system enough versatile that makes of the people owners of the process prepared to live under uncertainty and not tied up to rusty models that progressively are only good to fulfill expectations at specific times and places in the world.
The state of constant change is not necessarily a threat but a state of uncertainty that demand new resources and people emotional and educationally prepared for it.
Education and technology are that sustainable “marriage” that rescues the new generations for being attacked by the “divorce” produced by taking technology as a tool and not part of a new way of living.
Technology per se will not deliver resilience but on the correct balance and human discretionary will make it more than a tool but a pillar to move resiliently towards the future. All the distressing situations lived by the students because of this dramatic change in a few months, will become precisely the opportunity to grow on stability and sense of balance that should not be loosened, even after COVID19.
Only when there is a determination to create an Education system based on the boost of creative leaders or/and thinkers and not students that memorize texts is when studying from home will become an asset to shape actors that contribute with their expertise or simply attitude to get into sustainability.
The question is: are we educating to boost professionals able to innovate? or are we giving traditional education systems with additional updates on technology? Innovation is not only for creative people that develop a particular skill over a particular project or idea but a whole system that enables their actors to work around motivating people towards innovative ideas, and for that goal the first essential aspect is to educate towards open-minded agents of change.
Creative people are not just a personal asset but a skill that needs to be developed and built by a solid educational system, playing a key role in building the new characters of this stage of revolutionary modernity that the 4th Industrial revolution is giving us.
Education and Innovation feed each other, we need to educate on how to innovate and we need also to Innovate on how we educate. Creating professionals able to adapt to any kind of work to face strongly the new challenges.
Taking into account that crises as COVID19 makes of individual responsibility a paramount fact to get through strongly as that we need the Education to shape new personalities better adapted and active contributors to a change of the system.
Any political decision around a change to the Education system during COVID19 should be focused on the future in which the 4th industrial revolution and the insertion of technology is part of a tangible and easily foreseeable future and not part of an “emergency plan”. The idea of “going back” to normal lacks of vision for a sustainable future and slow down the necessary changes for a new, innovative and nourishing learning process towards transforming students into agents of change and teachers into pillars that enable creative minds and a framework towards sustainability.