The mindset for the industrial age for education is to treat kids as a learning factory and just churn things into theirs. So the kids only know what they are taught and there is little or no room to build creativity in the kids. It is therefore sad to see that many schools, and the educational system as a whole still largely follows this pattern of education that does not bring the best out of the students. This system rather kills the creativity in the children, stiffens their curiosity and affects their overall growth.
For a long time, education has been about teaching kids things that are already well-known and are in the past without really impacting them with anything that will help them to hold their ground in the future as they grow up and times continue to change. But that is changing now. The future of education is such that the kids will be empowered to thrive in their work and life, irrespective of future advancements in technology.
Elon Musk once said:
“I did not think the traditional schools were doing enough as they should be doing.”
When he co-founded Ad Astra in 2014 and pulled all his 5 sons out of one of the best private schools, he stated that the aim was to exceed the metrics of the traditional school on subject matter that are relevant, through learning experiences that are unique and based on the project.
Although Elon Musk’s school is for children that are considered gifted or highly gifted, it does things in many ways that are different from traditional schools and can help to define the future of education. Some of these differences are below.
Acceleration in this school is on a whole different level, and it follows a hundred years old research by Hollingsworth which stated that acceleration is important for gifted children. Ad Astra does not use the grade-level concept (such as grade 1, grade 5, etc.) that has dominated our education system for decades now. Instead of having to meet the requirements of a curriculum, the children are left alone to work based on the level of their ability. At different times of a day in school, the different age groups in the school are mixed up. All these are done to bake in acceleration.
A child-driven system
The school has a system that is run based on the students. About half of the plan is driven by the students. This includes an option for the student to opt-out of subjects if it does not interest them and also being able to trade in their currency.
Less h andwriting
Handwriting can be quite messy and they take a lot of time. So, instead of spending the majority of the time writing, the spend it typing instead. The students are more in touch with computers and are much slower when they handwrite.
The curriculum is different from traditional schools. The emphasis of the curriculum is on ethics, science, engineering, and maths. The school does not teach music or sport at all. The focus is on the use of artificial intelligence (AI).
The future of education is bright. With someone like Elon Musk already taking a keen interest and looking to break the status quo. Although we are yet to ascertain how these changes will be implemented in the mainstream education sector, it is a great start that we have someone looking to the future and changing things now.