Major changes are taking place in education – and schools, students, businesses and policymakers should be paying close attention. Read more to discover:

  • How to put the ‘ART’ in Artificial Intelligence
  • A better way to make decisions about college – for parents, students of all ages, and the colleges and universities receiving them. Hint: lifelong learning will become an even bigger subject this year
  • The university president transforming the entire industry and his secret to success
  • How social emotional learning (SEL) strengthens students’ social networks

Putting the ‘Art’ in Artificial Intelligence with Creative AI

Technology is changing education in ways well beyond online learning. In a TED Talk animation, acclaimed roboticist and musician Gil Weinberg’s work is brought to life, describing how his pioneering use of Creative AI has allowed him to build a robot that can teach humans music. For institutions seeing the reduction of arts programs, Weinberg’s creation may signal the beginning of a revival by integrating the arts with technology. Though this robot specializes in an artistic discipline, AI can not only master particular subjects but teach them to humans (and other robots). This indicates that we may be on the cusp of a revolutionary change in how we educate people, expanding the reach of education through machines and extending Weinberg’s invention to nearly every imaginable course and academic discipline.

New Approaches to Learning

We need to rethink not only the types of institutions at which people are educated, but what and how they are taught as well. In this vein, Dr. Michelle Weise, workforce development expert and senior vice president at the Strada Education Network, says institutions should offer more flexible, less linear and lifelong programs in lieu of the traditional one-time, four-year degree program. This approach, which allows students to constantly retrain and upskill in line with the changing needs of businesses and the job market, was endorsed by the former Governor of Puerto Rico, Dr. Pedro Rossello, in an article for Caribbean Business, “The University of the Future.”

But what about earlier in the education process – the K-12 space? How do we ensure children are equipped to undertake the higher ed programs that are key to success in the job market and in the world? Julia Freeland Fisher, future of education expert and co-author of the book “Who You Know: Unlocking Innovations That Expand Students’ Networks” (Jossey-Bass, 2018), argues that focusing exclusively on course content and teaching methods leaves out a major piece of the puzzle: connecting young people with valuable social networks. In an article for the Christensen Institute where she is the director of education research, Fisher discusses her upcoming contribution to a series of reports at the American Enterprise Institute on social emotional learning (SEL), arguing that schools should embrace both teaching valuable social skills and brokering new relationships for students.

What is College For? Rethinking the Role of Higher Ed

Later this year, education expert Michael Horn will release, with co-author and master innovator Bob Moesta, the anticipated book “Choosing College: How to Make Better Learning Decisions Throughout Your Life” (Jossey-Bass, September 2019). “Choosing College” aims to help parents, students and education institutions think more clearly about the underlying reasons why students attend college – and the decisions that sometimes go against social or familial expectations. In “Perilous Times,” an article for Inside Higher Ed, Horn and the legendary Clay Christensen, the father of disruptive innovation theory, explain that confusion around why students are attending higher education is contributing to mass university closures.

As an example of successful innovation in higher ed, Horn and Christensen offer the extraordinary story of Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), now the nation’s largest higher ed institute by enrollment, which tapped into an underserved market through online programs. SNHU’s president, Dr. Paul LeBlanc, sought not to compete with more “prestigious” existing colleges but rather discover what underserved students needed out of a college education – and to provide it at low cost. Not surprisingly, Dr. LeBlanc was featured as an innovative leader of the “college of the future” in Forbes.