Social Innovation and Educational Practices in the EU

The world is changing rapidly and mainly because of human interference. Our own actions, paired with technological and communication advances, have faced us with many obstacles, changed how we view and experience the world around us and brought up what was once unimaginable to humankind. Even though some would argue that these numerous advances only broadened the divide between people and brought more evil than good, many fields have grown with the force and tackled the challenges that they come with.

STEM, for example, is one of the fields that has risen above the global trends that are impacting education and managed to find solutions that will respond to burning questions as the technology evolves. The ever-changing economic landscape that has been driven by globalisation and the removal of trade barriers has brought on challenges for the educational system which had to react promptly. The demand for innovative youth with entrepreneurial mindsets has never been higher than it is today and a lot of focus has been put into bringing up students who know how to differentiate themselves amongst the sky-high competition (Social Innovation in Education, 2010). With technological advances, education has seen an enormous demand for highly skilled, tech-savvy people who will be able to extract all the possible opportunities out of the data available, as well as to ensure easy access to information that will enable better learning models and knowledge accumulation (Social Innovation in Education, 2010). Overpopulation and the speed of demographic growth posed another challenge for the educational system as it has become impossible to provide essential education for all the world’s children and youth, especially given that a tremendous number of teachers should have been employed to meet the goal. To add to these, societal relationships are changing as well and living situations as well as active citizenships have started to play a big role within the educational system. It is expected that today’s students will have answers and skills to deal with pressing questions related to healthcare, schooling, pensions and many more and will be able to independently make decisions that were once only the state’s responsibility (Social Innovation in Education, 2010).

To stand up to challenges set by these trends, education is trying to consistently address a few areas. Firstly, education experts are often calling for a curriculum change that relies on critical thinking, creativity, a feel for collaboration and multimodal (Social Innovation in Education, 2010). Furthermore, to be able to address and develop the skills above, proper assessment needs to be put in place. The use and accessibility of technology are playing a big role in incorporating technology into the educational system as well, especially according to several studies that show the positive impact that ICT has on the academic performance of students. Even though these trends posed serious societal concerns, they definitely laid the ground for opportunities in the future educational framework. Some of the opportunities that have been suggested and are now being applied are providing personal devices to improve technology literacy and information accessibility, working with cloud computing to easily access technology in educational settings, developing innovative teaching approaches with positive impact using technology, supporting teachers’ professional development in technology and multimedia resources, and many more (Social Innovation in Education, 2010).

What is expected from the future and changing educational settings is to adopt different approaches to where, when, from who, and how kids learn. This way, children will not only be required to learn from the classroom but from various virtual and real-life venues, with not only their teachers but parents, family and friends, and with the focus being put on continuous but individual learning through doing and discovering. Furthermore, easy access to technology is believed to be beneficial to the digital divide and developing skills that can be used in decision-making, correctly utilising technology for learning and integrating it into educational practices to successfully acquire the most demanding 21st-century abilities. All of these suggestions have already been put into action, assessed and investigated for the purpose of rediscovering education to drive entrepreneurship and social innovation. Today, we can only wonder what more will be up to change in the upcoming few decades when it comes to educational and global trends. What is safe to say though is that the educational system will have to work on its agility if it wants to persevere, walk hand in hand with technology and train teachers who are going to bring up skilled and creative 21st-century youngsters. 

References: Social Innovation in Education. (2010).

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