If someone from 100, or even 50 years ago woke up from a frozen sleep today, and needed to go to the hospital (post-thaw) or buy some new clothes (Amazon, natch) they wouldn’t recognise those experiences. Fintech, medicine, retail and so many other parts of our day to day lives have been thoroughly changed with the computers and smart phones that are always with us.
But if he went to a school? He would feel right at home. Except for a few tweaks around the edges, like interactive whiteboards, she would recognise the classroom, the chairs, even the most of the wall hangings. He might have even been tested on the same material. He would understand immediately the school day and the courses of study, including the direction of travel towards a university degree, aligned with the school’s understood incentives and definitions of success and achievement.
We think that all of that is changing – now, today, not a moment too soon.
Not everything goes on the heap – great teachers are hugely important and make a real impact on their students. They always will. But we believe that the sun is setting rapidly on courses divided by date of birth instead of interests or abilities. We believe that up and coming technologies are going to allow studies to become more customised. We believe that on-demand learning is going to let people find what they need to know when and where they need it. And that a huge amount of learning is going to take place away from the traditional schools.
It’s already happening. MOOCs like Coursera
deliver a huge number of courses, and services like U2
power university-accredited online programmes that are awarded degrees. Experiments like altschool
have gained the backing of Silicon Valley including the Zuckerbergs. New schools are popping up which allow students to include topics around tech and entrepreneurship in their studies, preparing them for a world in which they’ll be able to create their own opportunities. Employers are looking (and testing) for skills instead of diplomas. And parents are investing more in “informal” educational experiences that are not just childcare, but that supplement what and how kids learn in class.
Fire Tech Camp is thrilled to be at the heart of this change. We have dozens of students who have told us that they wish their school courses could be more like ours – interest-led, collaborative, focusing on original work and problem-solving. We see our mission as not only filling the gap in terms of the programming skills that we are prepared to teach, but also taking a different approach that makes young people more focused on the design thinking, creative and intellectual risk taking, and resiliency in the face of setbacks and iterative building. These are the skills that kids need now and absolutely have to have to participate in the workplace – and society – of the future.
We want to participate in the change. #MakeTheFuture this summer in London, Hampstead, Reading, Surrey, Cambridge, Bristol, High Wycombe and Sedbergh.