The Realizing Future-Ready Education in Asia session focused on technology and building competencies through education. The panelists discussed the importance of teaching values and building students’ agency during the learning process within these areas. The speakers also worked around a version of Benjamin Bloom’s 1956 taxonomy adapted for the modern education system. Mr. De Velez initially compared traditional teaching with e-learning to demonstrate the effectiveness of student-based learning. The other speakers framed their remarks around this student or learner-based approach to incorporate technology in education and develop competencies.
A large portion of the discussion focused on the role of technology and its role in ensuring learning continued during the pandemic. Sr. Ang summarized these two themes with the statement that “pedagogy is the driver; technology is the driver.” In addition to the rise in technology, Mr. Tuscano noted that the pedagogy returned to the basics. The basics of education stress the importance of social and emotional learning; these should be discussed within the context of students’ health. The speakers emphasized the significance of students’ mental health, especially during the global pandemic. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that mental health issues among 15-24-year-olds doubled or more. Additionally, mental health support for students, significantly that provided by schools, was heavily disrupted.
Another critical point in effectively incorporating technology is the importance of teachers’ agency. Teachers should have the agency to learn and improve their competencies to provide a better education for their students. Schools and teachers are more focused on evaluations when emphasizing growth instead. All students enter the classroom with prior knowledge, so the teacher must expand on what they know, and best prepare them for the future. This draws on the adaptation of the Bloom approach mentioned above as teachers are challenged to identify and build on students’ aptitudes and previous experiences.
Moving forward, this panel agreed that education and training should focus on building skills and values; this is a crucial way schools can continue to prepare students for the future market demands and workforce. The pandemic had a silver lining as it drew out the creativity and leadership of the youth as they proved to be adaptable and found new ways to further their learning outside of the traditional classroom. Mr. De Velez pointed out that schools can introduce enrichment materials to develop analytical and problem-solving skills. This complements Mr. Tuscano’s innovation approach, which teaches competencies through project-based learning, makerspace and technology tools, design-thinking, and the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The emphasis of this approach is to teach students how to solve “real world” problems, thus building their ability to succeed outside of school.
In addition, students are finding new ways to communicate, collaborate, and work in a team. Sr. Ang noted that in the context of these changes, teachers and parents have the opportunity to guide youth through discipline and direction to build their moral compass.
Through intentional teaching and guidance, values and technology can be instilled in students and further develop the competencies that they need beyond the classroom.
Moderator: Ann Marlita Montejo Arevalo, the Education Director of the Global Peace Foundation Philippines
- Sr. Merceditas Ang, SPC, President, St. Paul University, Philippines
- Francis Jim Tuscano, Co-founder and CPO, Tagpros Education
- Lilia Habacon, Executive Director, Philippine Science High School System
- Leo De Velez, Co-Founder, and Chairperson of Frontlearners, Inc.