A Conversation on the Future of Education

Rachel Breitweser '03

In January, visiting educators convened at Punahou for an informal lunchtime panel discussion on the future of education. During the professional development opportunity, Punahou faculty had the chance to bounce ideas off the presenters.

The panel included Christian Talbot (Founder of Basecamp School) and Viktor Venson (Creative and Strategy Director of FutureSculpt), who were at Punahou offering support on virtual reality technology and discussing how it can help students inside the classroom. Tony Wagner, co-director of the Change Leadership Group (CLG) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, contributed to the discussion as did Dr. John Francis, this year's Spirit and Service speaker at Punahou.

The panel talked about how they envision the future of education. Francis championed the notion that students should embrace the community as a partner in learning. Talbot expressed that the role of schools is to help kids become creators and find their core purpose. Wagner agreed that exploration is important and suggested that students keep a journal of questions as a way to spark exploration, which will lead to students becoming architects of their own learning. Venson shared that educators should strive to create a system of education that is adaptable to students' needs and is able to reinvent itself.

Faculty chimed in with examples of what they've noticed inside the classroom, such as how much more beneficial intrinsic motivation is over extrinsic motivation. One Punahou educator wondered how best to get the entire school community on board with some of these new ideas. Wagner offered that having an inclusive conversation with parents, faculty and students would help move things forward.

Talbot left faculty with this invitation: "Let's iterate. Let's experiment."