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We need schome

In a series of earlier posts based on my OU inaugural lecture I outlined why school is a problem, how we should teach and what young people should learn. This implied far reaching changes to schooling as we know it today. However, I suspect that I didn't go far enough. In this post I suggest that we need to think even more radically about schooling (see Figure 1).

A quote from Facer (2011, p.134) which reads "We need to return to the DNA of schools, their claim to act as a resource for helping students, communities and societies to thrive in the future"
Figure 1 - We need to think much more radically about how to redesign schooling

It's all very well to talk about doing away with age groupings - focussing on stage not age - but that doesn't go far enough. It still assumes that formal learning needs to be front loaded in our lives (see Figure 2) - ignoring the growing importance of lifelong learning. It also ignores the potential to capitalise on changing demographics. Perhaps Sugata Mitra is on to something with his 'Granny Cloud' - perhaps we should reconceptualise schooling as being for all people not just those between the ages of 4 and 18.

Graph showing approximate amount of time spent in school by age
Figure 2 Schools should be open to people - not just 4 to 18 year olds

Whilst it is good to do away with rigid school timetables with 50 minute lessons, this doesn't go far enough. Schools need to be open when needed (see Figure 3) not just between 8am and 4pm during term times but 24/7. Moreover, learners should be able to agree when they are going to attend school - timings should be flexible to fit the learner's needs.

Picture of a school zone sign with speed limits at the start and end of the school day
Figure 3 - Schools should be open when needed

It is important that schools are open to the community - though the high security fences that enclose most of them suggest that this is far from the case (Figure 4). However, this is not enough. Schools should be at the heart of their communities. As Keri Facer suggests – schools should become the vehicles for individuals to influence the world and how better than to be part of the world? We should move from a sole focus on individuals’ learning to individuals learning through enhancing their communities - after all our focus should be on individual fulfilment and universal wellbeing.

Photo of a metal security fence around a school
Figure 4 - Schools should be at the heart of the community

In conclusion, we need to think more radically about education provision for school age learners (and others) - as indicated in Figure 5, schooling should:

Summarises the content of the preceding bullet points
Figure 5 A summary of the key elements of a radically redesigned education system fit for the 21st century

What we need is schome: Not school, Not home, Schome, the education system for the automation age.

Not school, not home, schome, the education system for the automation age
Figure 6 The schome strapline

Of course the major challenge is how to get from our current school system to schome. That will be the focus of my next blog post.

This blog post summarises part of my OU inaugural lecture, which was delivered at the Open University in Milton Keynes on the 25th June 2019. Other posts from this lecture include: 

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