We live in a time where the greatest part of being human will be pushed to its greatest lengths. We need to understand that a new world has arrived. It brings a new set of possibilities and an equal share of misery for those who are not ready. We have no choice but to confront the monster that is the uncertainty of the 21st Century. By asking ourselves; – How do we create the right conditions for the new era of students involved in the 21st Century learning? How can we find new ways to solve our own problems? After all, how can we expect old ways to create new solutions for an evolving world?
Play as an acceleration tool for learning
The Temple Infant Lab of the Temple University has identified a common thread which highlights that all children learn through play. The Institution has further demonstrated that children, in fact, advance their emotional intelligence, cognitive, linguistic, analytical and social skills. ( Zigler et l.,2004; Singer et al.,2006). More importantly that spatial play skills are basic skills needed to navigate the world we live in. Their research goes even further to demonstrate that play spatial skills are also connected to success in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. And yet, childhood research experts have seen a worrying pattern of21st Century parenting which has shifted children’s play from experiential, spontaneous and creative to assessment and outcome-based models by keeping their children indoors more often and has made outdoor play become adult-directed. Understandably so, as one is shaped by their collective experiences, especially in the realities of South Africa where one in four females will be sexually abused before the age 18 and one in six boys will be sexually abused. Although these cautionary measures prevent certain tragedies; they limit our reach to obtaining the best possible learning experience that play imparts at the core of education which can give us a more holistic approach to learning.
Experience as Key to Personalized Education
One of the world-renowned Psychologist from Heriot-Watt University, Thusha Rajendran elegantly puts it that ‘’At the moment, we are part of an education culture in which the outcomes has replaced a sense of wonder and opportunity; a chance to be challenged, to get better, to be fulfilled and reach our full potential-‘’.Much world-renowned knowledge area and learning experts predict that the next wave of education will be a personalized education that focuses on the student. Where the student will be the center and yield “self-actualisation” which will help re-discover student’s core natural strengths and thereby building a personalized educational programme for the student. However, the concept of a personalized education is heavily dependent on one’s collective experiences and in today’s world; our experiences are shaped by the uncertain and ever-changing social, economic and political climates. And let alone the technology integrations that have snuck into our premeditated lives and has made itself indispensable to our future which has led us to challenge the very meaning of our existence. Perhaps technology has led us to the right path as we can now introspect ourselves and our environment; starting with the structures that govern, inform and shape our outlook. Therefore, one should ask oneself how does personalized education incorporate all the various complexities and situations that are beyond a student’s control and yet have shaped the student? How do we use the wisdom of these experiences and help guide an educational plan for the continuously learning, work-play oriented and socially balanced student?
Co-creation for Innovation, Development & Investment
We as the Youth of South Africa will foster a new dawn of inspiring and shaping a generation-our own generation. We will become the “Makers of a connected, collaborative and solutionist economy”, by using what we have and what comes naturally; our social capital, our ability to identify problems, our gained knowledge and skills; but most importantly, we will use our freedom of choice. We will choose to build our own future by forming ecosystems that bridge our social problems with economic solutions. A place where we can re-make the structures that influences, educates and house us; relearn our strengths, opportunities, and abilities; to re-imagine what it means to be an active global citizen.
We will begin our path to this long journey by taking up arms within our very own specialty areas, co-creating the tools that will unite us, platforms that improve us, appeal to our strength’s and invest in our voyage of brightening the dark continent. Our call is to those who seek to build and are tired of “inspirational leadership”. Those who will lead the collective actions of securing our future in the realities of an ever-changing world.