Welcome to the Digital Revolution: Education in the Age of Disrupted Learning-Wednesdays with Wightman Town Hall Recap-October 21, 2020

Article | 11.03.2020

The October 21, 2020, Wednesdays with Wightman Town Hall session featured special guest Ian Jukes. The Town Hall facilitator was George Kacan, regional director of Wightman’s Royal Oak office. The moderator was Dr. Thomas Langdon, a part-time superintendent of Walkerville Schools and an educational consultant for Wightman.

Ian Jukes is the co-founder and Executive Director of the InfoSavvy Group, an international educational leadership consulting firm. Ian has been a classroom teacher; a school, district, regional, and provincial leader; a writer; an international consultant; a university instructor; and a keynote speaker. He has worked with clients in more than 80 countries and made more than 13,000 presentations. Here is his presentation Education in the Age of Disrupted Learning. 

As situations quickly unraveled for everyone when the pandemic began in March 2020, it became a watershed moment for every industry, organization, and household. Seven months later, with the virus still raging, educators are apprehensively casting their eyes forward while grappling with the day-to-day “new normal.”

Educators had to pivot quickly when things shut down, and now as schools try to reopen there is the constant concern about if we will need to shut down again. In the face of these disruptions to the learning and classroom environments, it is not clear that we will be able to go back to where we were before.

Ian talked about how the pandemic is the force behind a new wave of disruptive innovation. Disruptive innovation begins with a new product, trend, or event that create fundamental changes in behavior.

He provided the example of the iPhone and its disruptive effect on the music, video game, photography, banking, news, and retail industries – changing the business models and even the viability of entire segments of the economy.

Technology and COVID are causing disruption that none of us saw coming - affecting governments, companies, and organizations of all sizes. Ian emphasized that with that level of change we have to assume it will affect education processes and norms after we emerge on the other side of this pandemic. Traditional education systems won’t be immune to the massive changes that lie ahead.

From digital addiction, which has been further fueled by our pandemic stay-at-home lifestyle, to how digital natives process information, teachers, administrators, school boards, parents, and students all must embrace adapting to these changes.

Ian highlighted how schools have spent billions of dollars on putting technology in place respond to a learn-from-home model the pandemic necessitated. Yet, they are still trying to use old methods of teaching. It isn’t working.

He predicts that over the next few years educational systems will experience deep and permanent disruptions, and, that society as a whole will experience the ripple effects of these shifts. The question is are schools and districts ready for what is coming?

Ultimately, the focus needs to be on keeping school relevant and being open to moving from where we are to where we need in order to prepare our students for success and fulfillment.

The next Town Hall meeting will be held Wednesday, November 18. The playback of the October 21 Town Hall is below.