16. February 2018
Dear Parents, Guardians, Students, Graduates and Friends of Open Gate,
Weekly greetings are coming from a snowy school campus, which was covered in more snowflakes in the morning, but where now the sun is shining again.
Often, we talk about news here but today we’ll start, unusually, with a brief reflection on technologies and education, their present and their near future, and in the end, we will effectively connect this with specific events from the school’s life.
Our students, your children (also called the Generation Z, or if you like, Millennials, simply young people born after 2000) grow up in a somewhat different world than the one the older of us used to know. Let us now leave aside all but the current technologies and their use and influence on life, work and school. To start their day off, our students quickly look at some friends online; it doesn’t matter how far away they are, perhaps they talk with them briefly and for free (about their life or the project they are working on). On their way to school, they read a newspaper from Texas or Honduras, look at the current footage of the surfing conditions of the Australian or Chilean beaches, buy some new and promising crypto currency on the stock exchange or sell their school backpack on the internet. Or they might prepare a presentation about the advantages and disadvantages of payable duties on solar panels, read up on a few of the latest professional commentaries and quotations, search for graphic animation, find yesterday’s best-rated lecture on that subject from an economist in that moment sitting in perhaps Scotland or Japan. Or they’re dealing with chemistry, physics, languages, history—whatever they want, because all the needed resources and almost all of the world's libraries are either in their pocket or in their lap. It’s probably clear to you that I could continue this way forever. And I did not even open the possibilities of virtual reality and artificial intelligence.
While our parents and perhaps some of us have lived just fine with the knowledge they gained in school, our children will be learning all their lives, not only in their chosen field but also in their everyday life if they want to stay up to date. The things they use today (things, we knew nothing about ten years ago) will be gone in the next ten years, and there will only be a record of them in the digital history. And don’t even get me started on their future jobs. Many positions will disappear by then (do you really think that our children will be going, for example, to the bank ?!), many new ones will arise, and some will of course remain. There is a number of studies and considerations about what exactly the future of employment will bring. What are the jobs of the future? Well, from the ones we can imagine (because there is a lot of what we cannot imagine at all), it will definitely be the work in the field of current and future technologies and their development, hardware and software specialists, designers, developers, whose processes will all have to be managed, designed and watched. Communication will be needed too. All new products or ideas will have to be promoted, disseminated or ultimately sold. Of course, there will still be the need for scientists and doctors (not just for the bodies but also for the souls), nurses, physiotherapists, and nursing staff (with the aging population), but maybe we’ll even see more fitness, pilate or yoga trainers. And I'm not even talking about the huge number of positions that do not require higher or university education, in order to stay with the more likely future of our students.
We at OPEN GATE are obviously still trying to keep up with the times, although it seems that it is and will always be faster than our possible reactions. But we don’t see it pessimistically; we try, we learn, and we constantly innovate. We guide students to realize that education is a lifelong process; it is PERMANENT - we create a learning environment that is PARTICIPATIVE and PROACTIVE - student organized learning being one of the best examples. We actively involve students, build on their engagement and use it. At the same time, we lead them to think about their future, about the use of their skills and abilities, to be PREDICTIVE but simultaneously PREVENTIVE, in terms of personal resilience and the prevention of possible problems and obstacles. Many of you probably know the so-called marketing mix, formerly 4P, now 5P (Product, Price, Placement, Promotion + People), so here we offer you a modified, 21st-century education’s 5P, whose structure is being heard at current conferences all over the world, looking into the future.
And if we had to prove all of this through our school life this week, we had the Monday assembly with the visit of Mr. Poláček, again, in which we dove deeper into the Internet of things and sensors, talking not only about their application but also construction, individual components, technology that makes them or programs that drive them. And yet again, we explained to our students that all new things need designers, developers, constructors, marketers, traders, but also financiers and managers, and even lawyers. For example, Tercie and Kvarta students spent their afternoon in the lab where they experimented as well as applied theoretical knowledge, and eventually elaborated on laboratory protocols. The best of them joined the school round of the chemistry competition and now we’ll wait if Eliška’s, Nela’s, Bára’s and Kateřina’s results will get them to the regional round.
After the holidays, another "hi-tech" assembly is being prepared, exceptionally extended to two hours, the first being theoretical and the second one practical. The topic will be robotics. More details next time, but the students of Prima to Kvarta can already look forward to it. There's really a lot being prepared here, but because I don’t want to tire you today, let's just quickly look at some social entertainment. The graduation ball took place on Friday, and photos are on the web or FB. Everything was great and we thank the Oktava students, all the others involved and, of course, the participants. Beautiful! The Valentine's Disco was also held, and the school was decorated in the name of love.
Despite all of these new gadgets today, we shouldn’t forget that the most valuable and most important things in life are interpersonal relationships and, of course, health. And because the spring holidays are awaiting us, use that time to strengthen and build relationships, take care of and develop your body, perhaps by winter sports, and if you have time, educate yourself. In anything! Time is going to fly at the same speed, so it is just how pleasantly and meaningfully we decide to spend it.
Have a great time, enjoy the joy of life, and for all the OPEN GATE colleagues I wish you an amazing two weeks!