In the industrial age we needed large numbers of people to be churned out of an educational production line who could all do the same thing: read and write instructions, count widgets and profitability, repair, build and make machinery, remember and repeat actions continually without having to stop to look things up in textbooks. Reading, writing, maths and science were essential. Memory recall was revered and repetition was the norm.
In the digital age, however, excel does complicated addition for us, spelling and grammar checkers correct our mistakes before we’ve finished the sentence. Instead of searching our memory banks we often ask Siri or Google. AI and robotics perform repetitive tasks far quicker than we can. Today’s workforce has difference requirements: people skills are sought after, job adverts ask for an ability to link disparate ideas or build on existing concepts, technologies change so rapidly that a creative, constantly enquiring approach is required.
Perhaps then, it is OK for a student to be “average” in one area, to allow technology to support that area, and then to focus fully on expanding, growing and whole heartedly developing talents in areas that the student excels in? Maybe drilling a poor speller for spend hours only serves to diminish their confidence and does nothing to foster their natural numerical talents? Likewise, how tragic would it be if the next 21st century version of Shakespeare was held back from developing literary brilliance because she focused on years of maths remediation instead of perusing her passion?
Perhaps the students of today, who are tomorrow's workforce, need to reach a reasonal standard of education and the exponentially grow and develop their individual talents? Perhaps the digital age requires an education system which produces a never-ending array of different talents and skills instead of a production line of uniformity?