Pause for a second and take a journey back to your grade school math class. As a student learning basic arithmetic–or maybe even rudimentary algebra–you very likely heard your teachers recite a sort of educational platitude that, when reflected upon today, illustrates the great changes our education system today must face.
“You have to memorize it this way, because you won’t always have a calculator around to help you.”
If you dislike math, you can almost enjoy a laugh at how wrong that has become. Now, thanks to smartphones, virtually everyone has the equivalent of a TI-83 calculator in their pocket, plus a search engine that, in 0.61 seconds, can tell you the quadratic formula (it’s true, we just checked). If that example hasn’t convinced you of the many ways smartphones have changed our world, consider these:
- How many phone numbers do you have memorized?
- When was the last time you consulted a map to figure out how to get somewhere?
These examples all underscore how important it is for everyone from educators to business leaders to redefine what it means to learn, grow and develop. Lessons teachers thought paramount to future success only a decade ago are virtually irrelevant today because of technology. Imagine what this pattern means for today’s kindergartners who will graduate in 2030. The future calls on each of us to evolve beyond a view of education that prioritizes memorization and recall in favor of a model that teaches us how to learn, recognize patterns, gather and judge information and adapt. It’s time to redefine how we learn to learn.