As technology continues to change every facet of daily living, an educator from the City University of New York (CUNY) is proposing a bold idea: educate both techno lovers and technophobes in a curriculum that is tech-inclusive. This “New Education,” as professor Cathy Davidson calls it in her book of the same title, proposes a revision of higher education due to the increasing presence of technology in education. The idea also addresses the automation of various everyday systems, which has helped change economic demands.
New education has to start from within the educational system. It calls for reforms that look at technology’s impact on daily living as well as the many changes that it spurs in today’s society.
The American higher education system is over 150 years old, and was designed to suit the needs and professional demands of the times. Her call for “new education” stems from the fact that majority of jobs and professions have already been overtaken by technology in various ways, shapes, and forms.
EdSurge, an edtech media company based in California, spoke with Davidson about her book. In the interview, she cited taxi driving as an example. Driving a cab and ferrying passengers seems like a stable profession, until you realize that they could soon become obsolete. On one hand, regular cabs are threatened by the arrival of self-driving cars and drone taxis, with latter currently being test-used in Dubai to ferry passengers to short distances. Freight delivery, on the other hand, could also become a thing of the past when the Hyperloop System is adapted and implemented in major cities all over the world.
Social media, for its part, has changed how people connect and interact with one another. Professions and education are evolving almost as rapidly as the newest gadget is manufactured and released to the market.
In terms of education, however, diversity and inclusion need to be given ample attention. The professor believes that new education should be modified in order to recognize various intelligences, skills, and talents. To put it more directly, this new education should go beyond recognizing those who do exceptionally well in exams or those who make a million dollars after they graduate from school.
Davidson argues that students must be taught how to face challenges in life and how to become productive members of society. This is the opposite of today’s system where students are taught to be grade-conscious and to do well in exams, graduate with honors, and land a good job after.
What About the Technophobes?
Even technophobes, the people who dislike or avoid new technology, could also benefit from new education. It’s important for today’s people view technology in a more positive light because it’s now part and parcel of daily living. Simple tasks such as getting ticket to the train or cinema have now become automated using tech. For example, instead of interacting with a human teller at the ticket booth, there is now a machine that accepts payments and dispenses tickets. Some even sell these tickets online, which is convenient for many who want to save time. The role of new education for these people would be to slowly open their eyes to the technologically advanced alternative, helping them warm up to using them.
Learning the principle behind automation would also help more people accept technology. More importantly, being technologically adept doesn’t mean having the latest gadget or gizmo. It means truly understanding the purpose of the machine or automated system and being able to appreciate its convenience.
New education has to start from within the educational system. It calls for reforms that look at technology’s impact on daily living as well as the many changes that it spurs in today’s society. It also means helping ordinary folk maximize the benefits of technology in their everyday lives.