Research Question 4: Significant Challenges

What do you see as the significant challenges that international schools in Asia will face during the next five years?

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

NOTE: The Significant Challenges are sorted into three difficulty related categories based on their appearance in previous Horizon Report editions -- solvable challenges are those that we both understand and know how to solve, but seemingly lack the will; difficult challenges are ones that are more or less well-understood but for which solutions remain elusive; wicked challenges, the most difficult, are complex to even define, and thus require additional data and insights before solutions will even be possible. In your responses to the trends below, feel free to explore why or why not the challenge should be in its specific category.

As you review what others have written, please add your thoughts and comments as well.

Please "sign" each of your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this:- Vic Vic Sep 16, 2015

Compose your entries like this:

Challenge Name
Add your ideas here, with few complete sentences of description including full URLs for references (e.g. And do not forget to sign your contribution with 4 ~ (tilde) characters!

Balancing our Connected and Unconnected Lives
With the abundance of content, technologies, and overall participatory options, learning institutions need to lead the way to facilitating finding a balance between connected and unconnected life. With technology now at the center of many daily activities, it is important that learners understand how to balance their connected life with other developmental needs. Educational institutions should lead the way to ensure learners do not get lost and absorbed by the abundance of information and technology, and encourage mindful use of technology so that students stay aware of their digital footprint. As education aligns closer with technological trends, teachers will have to promote this balance, encouraging students to feel, digest, reflect, touch, and pursue sensorial experiences that are crucial to developing character and integrity. Finding a balance and guiding learners to personal success should be society's compromise with new generations of students. - nathan.pither nathan.pither Nov 8, 2015 Although I agree with Nathan that schools and teachers need to be deliberate in teaching students how to balance their activities, I have recently read a new-ish take on the situation that helps, to some extent, relieve the stress of trying to be more balanced. It might be just semantics, but the phrase used in the Letter from the Editor in July 2015 issue of Wired Magazine is work-life mix. In this letter Scott Dadich emphasizes that often there are no defined lines between our work selves and our private selves. This speaks directly to the idea of a digital footprint. What students do in school and outside of school defines who they are; both digitally and off-line. People in the community notice a student in a school uniform, recognizing that the student represents the school and the school represents the student. The line, for better or worse, between our individual selves and our organizational selves (school, work, family, etc.) is blurred. The only significant difference is this distinction is amplified, once again, by the technology.- ibeeckmans ibeeckmans Nov 9, 2015 This. - tosca.killoran tosca.killoran Nov 9, 2015 Probably stating the obvious here, but a balance of physical contact and physical exertion is also an important part of this idea of balance. - brian.duffy brian.duffy Nov 9, 2015 A great read is Danah Boyd's It's complicated pg 54 where she talks about the online-offline identity of teens. This chapter is significant as it challenges adults that come from an age where we constructed an external avatar for our online identity. Boyd discusses how teens elegantly view these parts of their identity as one- and in fact make very clever choices as to what to share and when to be online.- tosca.killoran tosca.killoran Nov 9, 2015 - uzay.ashton uzay.ashton Nov 10, 2015 A good video to watch is Generation Like which you can stream on the PBS website. It outlines how the current generation of teens and young people view themselves through social media (e.g. the more "likes" they get on FB, Instagram, etc., the more they feel validated about themselves). Teaching our kids how to balance their online/offline lives is difficult, but it's not impossible. - uzay.ashton uzay.ashton Nov 10, 2015 Pew surveys cited by The Washington Post indicate millennials prefer reading in print for a variety of reasons. A major reason being to balance their connected lives because the print books do not buzz, beep, or distract them from the story. - kurt.wittig kurt.wittig Nov 10, 2015 This is such an important topic/ issue. As we debate the likes of Sherry Turkle, our students are constantly figuring out how to self-manage and balance. So much. So much. Literally, it is a topic of conversation every day. - adrienne.michetti adrienne.michetti Nov 10, 2015

Competing Models of Education
New models of education are bringing unprecedented competition to schools, especially for students whose needs are not being well served by the current system. Charter and online schools have particularly gained traction in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Scandinavia. According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, there are more than 6,000 charter schools in the US alone with more than 1.9 million students enrolled, compared to over 98,000 public schools where 49.4 million students are enrolled. Most US states also offer and encourage enrollment in online courses, and some states are requiring students complete them in order to graduate. Adding to this challenge is the fact that many students do not formally attend either type of school; the National Center for Education Statistic reports that nearly 3% of the school-age population was home schooled during the 2010-11 school year. Ninety-one percent of the parents of these children cited concern over the environments of tradition and charter schools when asked about their choice. For school leaders and policy makers, the challenge is to meet such competition head on, offering high-quality alternatives to students who need them. As new platforms emerge, there is a growing need to frankly evaluate models and determine how to best support collaboration, interaction, deep learning experiences, and assessment at scale.

Creating Authentic Learning Opportunities
Authentic learning, especially that which brings real life experiences into the classroom, is still all too uncommon in schools. Authentic learning is seen as an important pedagogical strategy, with great potential to increase the engagement of students who are seeking some connection between the world as they know it exists outside of school, and their experiences in school that are meant to prepare them for that world. Use of learning strategies that incorporate real life experiences, technology, and tools that are already familiar to students, and interactions from community members are examples of approaches that can bring authentic learning into the classroom. Practices such as these may help retain students in school and prepare them for further education, careers, and citizenship in a way that traditional practices are too often failing to do. The use of the wider community by infusing them into our learning adds a layer of authenticity and demonstrates to students the challenges and impact they can have on the world. In addition by taking students out into the "real world" and putting them in real situations to learn content, regardless of content, will add a layer of authenticity. This does bring it's challenges but all to often we leave school with memories that are still falling short of preparing students for dealing with the day to day skill set they need. - carlene.hamley carlene.hamley Nov 9, 2015 There are a number of schools creating authentic learning opportunities and one example is shown in the TED Talk from Peter Hutton in Melbourne demonstrates (What if students controlled their learning?). My hope is that we are nearing a time in education where students are more in control, which includes a shift in onus to the student to demonstrate the concepts they understand, the skills they mastered, and the communities they build and support. In such a situation the determinant of being ready to move on would not be the time spent in classrooms nor the content they memorized, but a true sense of who they are and how they can contribute. - ibeeckmans ibeeckmans Nov 9, 2015 Agree- tosca.killoran tosca.killoran Nov 9, 2015 This describes personalizing learning, not just differentiating- agreed too - sara.schneeberg sara.schneeberg Nov 10, 2015 I find it interesting that in the description of this challenge that in two places it refers to bringing 'real life experiences into the classroom' and 'authentic learning into the classroom'. Why does the learning have to be brought to the classroom? (Although digital resources and devices can bring students 'virtually' to a multitude of places and experiences.) What can schools do to get their students to authentic, meaningful learning experiences? As many international schools do, Shekou International School has their annual Week Without Walls where students go off campus for an extended period of time for learning, collaboration and service. Our elementary students have their field trips (Classroom without Walls) out into the community to make connections with the content they are learning. In giving students more choice over their learning and shifting to a more personalized, interested based education, we can support our students by helping find and facilitating authentic learning experiences beyond the walls of our schools. For example, Shekou International School has been developing a partnership with Tencent (Shenzhen, China based company that provides media, entertainment, internet and mobile phone services) to provide short-term internships for students including designing characters for a video game and producing audio for an animated feature. As schools and educators, we can help our connect our students to authentic experiences that we engage them in the learning they need to pursue their goals. - dbeabout dbeabout Nov 9, 2015 I went into a classroom the other day and it looked like it was in the 50's. The kids were hunched over their desks in a maelstrom of boredom. I'm not pointing fingers but why do we continue to restrict and restrain ourselves in these past relegated boundaries? With mobile devices "supplementing" the curriculum, the world is your classroom. - patrick.mcmahon patrick.mcmahon Nov 10, 2015

Improving Digital Literacy
With the proliferation of the Internet, mobile devices, and other technologies that are now pervasive in education, the traditional view of literacy as the ability to read and write has expanded to encompass understanding digital tools and information. This new category of competence is affecting how education institutions address literacy issues in their curriculum objectives and teacher development programs. Lack of consensus on what comprises digital literacy is impeding many schools from formulating adequate policies and programs that address this challenge. Discussions among educators have included the idea of digital literacy as equating to competence with a wide range of digital tools for varied educational purposes, or as an indicator of having the ability to critically evaluate resources available on the web. However, both definitions are broad and ambiguous. Compounding this issue is the notion that digital literacy encompasses skills that differ for educators and learners, as teaching with technology is inherently different from learning with it. Supporting digital literacy will require policies that both address digital fluency training in pre- and in-service teachers, along with the students they teach. Perhaps the challenge in defining Digital Literacy is looking at it as a separate 'literacy' that requires separate attention. Just as with the notion of 'digital citizenship' focusing on online behavior and consequences as a separate curriculum from behavior and consequences in general. Our students are growing up in a world where they do not particularly see 'cyberspace' as a separate existence from the 'real world' of face to face interactions - it's all the 'real world' for them. The National Council of Teachers of English recognizes the complexity of literacy in their definition of '21st Century Literacies' stating, "As society and technology change, so does literacy. Because technology has increased the intensity and complexity of literate environments, the 21st century demands that a literate person possess a wide range of abilities and competencies, many literacies. These literacies are multiple, dynamic, and malleable." The complexity comes from using the term 'literacy' to define not only the ability to (according to UNESCO) "identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute printed and written materials associated with varying contexts." but also the ability to use digital tools and resources to teach and learn. - dbeabout dbeabout Nov 10, 2015 I'm very curious to see where schools "go" in the next 4-5 years in terms of how digital literacy is addressed in curriculum. It's been swept under the carpet for so long, I wonder how hard it is to finally acknowledge that this new category is indeed "affecting how education institutions address literacy issues in curriculum" and then to develop programs to address it. This is perhaps the area I am most interested in right now, because it's long overdue and we are seeing the repercussions now of not having had any clear digital literacy guidelines for the last 5-10 years, as those students have entered the workforce. - adrienne.michetti adrienne.michetti Nov 10, 2015

Integrating Technology in Teacher Education
Teacher training still does not acknowledge the fact that digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession. Despite the widespread agreement on the importance of digital competence, training in the supporting skills and techniques is rare in teacher education and non-existent in the preparation of teachers. As teachers begin to realize that they are limiting their students by not helping them to develop and use digital competence skills across the curriculum, the lack of formal training is being offset through professional development or informal learning, but we are far from seeing digital media literacy as a norm. This challenge is exacerbated by the fact that digital literacy is less about tools and more about thinking, and thus skills and standards based on tools and platforms have proven to be somewhat ephemeral. "As teachers begin to realize that they are limiting their students by not helping them to develop..." - What about the teacher education programs' responsibilities in recognizing the needs of students regarding digital literacy and incorporating this into training teacher candidates? Instead new teachers are having to do additional professional development to 'catch up'. Also there seems to be a lack of agreement/discussion around considering digital media literacy in the same realm as reading, writing and math literacies within our educational systems - often being left to ICT and design teachers to address as a stand alone topic. Until digital media literacy is recognized as integral to our students education, how would we expect teacher education programs to address it. [Note: These comments may overlap with the challenge "Improving Digital Literacy" above: - dbeabout dbeabout Nov 8, 2015 It is very frustrating as a coach to not have tech integrated into teacher training. Often we find busy teachers ask us repeatedly for light coaching tasks that are not inculcated into the teacher toolbox of skills. In order to help teachers develop skills we created a website to address the light skills needed BEFORE teachers are able to think of integrating tech as a literacy in their classrooms. - tosca.killoran tosca.killoran Nov 9, 2015 The common refrains of 'we'll never be able to keep up with all the changes anyway', and 'the kids will always be ahead of us' have been a cop-out for quite long enough. The pendulum has (thankfully, in my opinion) shifted away from IT Classes in schools to some sort of idealistic perception that kids will receive enough competency embedded in the content and concepts of their classes. However, somewhere in the middle is probably more likely to result in competency. However, this cannot happen unless the adults in the room are aware that having these skills is just as important for the teacher as it is and will be for the students. - brian.duffy brian.duffy Nov 9, 2015

Keeping Education Relevant
As online learning and free educational content become more pervasive, stakeholders and administrators must seriously consider what schools can provide that cannot be replicated by other sources. It is no longer necessary for parents to send their children to school for them to become knowledgeable and gain skills that will lead them to gainful employment. There are, however, valuable skills and attitudes that can only be acquired in school settings. Soft skills, such as face-to-face communication and collaboration, for instance, are essential practices for solving problems in a world that is increasingly interconnected. Similarly, work ethic and the ability to persevere through even the toughest challenges, both social and academic, are reinforced in formal education environments. The idea is to rethink the value of education as a means of reinforcing attitudes and skills learners will need to seek credible information, work effectively in teams, and persist in achieving their goals. A recent survey by the Workforce Solutions Group found that more than 60% of employers say applicants lack “communication and interpersonal skills.” On the same note, the National Association of Colleges and Employers surveyed more than 200 employers about their top ten priorities in new hires and found that hiring managers desire people who are team players, problem solvers and can plan, organize and prioritize their work while technical skills fell lower on the list. Generally speaking, trends in hiring make it clear that soft skills such as communication and work ethic are differentiating outstanding applicants from the pile. Has school ever been 'relevant' to the majority? Up to end of Elementary schools, most of the learning is very relevant and practical. Then, in Middle School and beyond, we start the serious job of compartmentalizing with subject specific foci. Perhaps one realm that schools can continue to be relevant are with the soft-skills spoken of above. People are social and the interactions with others need to be learned by engaging with other. Digital technology can do wonders for learning content and academic skills, but the affective and practical people skills will likely be the domain of face-to-face interaction. - ibeeckmans ibeeckmans Nov 9, 2015 School might become even more relevant as students grow in these skills and autonomous learners seek out feedback and coaching from educators who are trained as experts in guiding students in developing these important skills. This topic is highly related to "Rethinking the Roles of Teachers" topic below. - sara.schneeberg sara.schneeberg Nov 10, 2015

Managing Knowledge Obsolescence
Simply staying organized and current presents a challenge in a world where information, software tools, and devices proliferate at the rate they do today. New developments in technology are exciting and their potential for improving quality of life is enticing, but it can be overwhelming to attempt to keep up with even a few of the many new tools that are released. User-created content is exploding, giving rise to information, ideas, and opinions on all sorts of interesting topics, but following even some of the hundreds of available authorities means sifting through a mountain of information on a weekly or daily basis. There is a greater need than ever for effective tools and filters for finding, interpreting, organizing, and retrieving the data that is important to us.
Personalizing Learning
Personalized learning includes a wide variety of approaches to support self-directed and group-based learning that can be designed around each learner’s goals. Solving this challenge means incorporating into school activities concepts such as personalized learning environments and networks, adaptive learning tools, and more. Using a growing set of free and simple resources, such as a collection of apps on a tablet, it is already quite easy to support one’s on going social and professional learning and other activities with a collection of resources and tools that is always on hand. There are two paths of development for personalized learning: the first is organized by and for the learner, which includes apps, social media, and related software. School goals and interests are driving the other path, primarily in the form of adaptive learning. In this pathway, which envisions the development of tools and data streams that are still some time away from being seen in schools, adaptive learning is enabled by intervention-focused machine intelligence that interprets data about how a student is learning and responds by changing the learning environment based on their needs. While the concept of personalized learning is fairly fluid, it is becoming more and more clear that it is individualized by design, different from person to person, and built around a vision of life-long learning. I fully agree with Personalized learning becoming more and more at the forefront of education. I want to quickly point out that this is not a vision of all students silently strapped to computers doing nothing but rote learning. I see it as so much more than that. I feel that the computer is only involved in the organizing of learning goals, tracking of progress (whether the progress is entered by student, teacher, or computer), and development of a student profile. The key driver for me is individualization of learning. More and more people of all ages are wanting increasingly personalized learning. Schools will need to work in this way if they want to be relevant in the future. I do not know how this will be possible yet, but seems a certainty that it will happen. - jay.priebe jay.priebe Nov 9, 2015

Rethinking the Roles of Teachers
Teachers are increasingly expected to be adept at a variety of technology-based and other approaches for content delivery, learner support, and assessment; to collaborate with other teachers both inside and outside their schools; to routinely use digital strategies in their work with students; to act as guides and mentors in to promote student-centered learning; and to organize their own work and comply with administrative documentation and reporting requirements. Students, along with their families, add to these expectations through their own use of technology to socialize, organize, and informally learn on a daily basis. The integration of technology into everyday life is causing many educational thought leaders argue that schools should be providing ways for students to continue to engage in learning activities, formal and informal, beyond the traditional school day. As this trend gathers steam, many schools across the world are rethinking the primary responsibilities of teachers. Related to these evolving expectations are changes in the ways teachers engage in their own continuing professional development, much of which involves social media and online tools and resources. While fully online schools are still relatively rare, an increasing number of teachers are using more hybrid and experiential learning exercises, and experimenting with social media and others ways of building learning communities. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Oct 17, 2015 thinks our teacher hats are evolving and in some instances in a more revolutionized way...we need to learn/relearn how to teach online, create lessons that are in a mobile format, develop 'blended learning' experiences, keep engagement alive in a 'blog format', etc. Just as the expectations of higher education institutions impact, and in a way limit, innovative teaching and learning in the upper grades of our schools (i.e. IB Diploma expectations, SAT, ACT, testing & grades for college applications) so does the training our teacher candidates are receiving. Rethinking the roles of teachers is one thing but great thought and energy needs to be put into how we train and support teacher candidates and current teaching professionals to prepare for working in an educational environment very different from the one they experienced and that they were trained for. This also impacts recruiting for schools - finding educators who, if not already experienced in more student-centered, transdisciplinary, non-traditional schedules, will be open to retraining and re-education to meet the needs of students. - dbeabout dbeabout Nov 8, 2015 I'd agree with the above. It is important to see that the role of teacher as content master is rapidly changing. I think schools need to be looking to hire well-rounded individuals that see potential learning in every activity. Clearly we need developmental understanding to facilitate our students, but to be certified, in say, science is less necessary when there are almost 20 million of these experts available to virtually connect with at any given time. Facilitation rather than delivery will be far more important in the future. - mark.mcelroy mark.mcelroy Nov 8, 2015 Ultimately, are we not moving (ever so slightly) to becoming learning coaches? Again, this will be helped if the person responsible for the learning was the student, not the teacher. A coach would just help to facilitate that learning.- ibeeckmans ibeeckmans Nov 9, 2015 Word- tosca.killoran tosca.killoran Nov 9, 2015 Agreed. - uzay.ashton uzay.ashton Nov 10, 2015 I agree with the comments above. Educators might see an increase in our roles as mindset coaches for students. I wonder if we will become experts in how to facilitate the growth and development of these increasingly important skills? Even adults benefit from Cognitive Coaching, as it brings connections and realizations within our own minds, as Bill and Ochan Powell demonstrated in their Cognitive Coaching training: Retraining might indeed be necessary but seems to have already begun through the increase in coaching roles in schools. - sara.schneeberg sara.schneeberg Nov 10, 2015

Scaling Teaching Innovations
Our organizations are not adept at moving teaching innovations into mainstream practice. Innovation springs from the freedom to connect ideas in new ways. Our schools and universities generally allow us to connect ideas only in prescribed ways — sometimes these lead to new insights, but more likely they lead to rote learning. Current organizational promotion structures rarely reward innovation and improvements in teaching and learning. A pervasive aversion to change limits the diffusion of new ideas, and too often discourages experimentation. Change is hard. Changing culture and organizations is harder. From my observations on the "disruption" movement it seems that we need to be careful to consider the human side of large-scale change too. When innovating and improving within teaching and learning we must make efforts to maintain relationships and respect. In my experience, many educators are open to new ideas and welcome innovations when they are communicated well. I wonder if it is the "pervasive aversion" or the "aggressive implementation" that is actually limiting new ideas and discouraging experimentation. Where does this pervasive aversion come from? Is it human nature to be against change or is it simply human nature to be defensive when ideas are pushed across without carefully considering the best way to communicate them to match our purpose and audience? - sara.schneeberg sara.schneeberg Nov 10, 2015 Agreed. Often it is the mismanagement of the message that sinks the innovation. - ibeeckmans ibeeckmans Nov 10, 2015

Safety of Student Data
Safety of student data has long been a concern in K-12 education, which is evident through legislation that has been passed to safeguard students and their personal data, such as the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act in the United States.106 As schools embrace ubiquitous technology, and more learning takes place online and in 1:1 settings, researchers see great potential to leverage these digital learning environments to mine data, which can be used to decipher trends in student behavior and create personalized software. Schools around the world are adopting cloud computing to support adaptive learning, promote cost-savings, and encourage collaboration, but sometimes the safety of student data is threatened when third-party vendors provide low-cost software as a service in return for access to student data that they then profit from. I think this has always been and will always be an issue, and one we need to constantly monitor. We appear to be poised to go all-in with wearable tech, which will be collecting data in real time that can be harvested for a variety of purposes. This also raises the issue of the relationship between schools and tech companies, where misaligned incentives might lead to unforeseen consequences. Some schools have given tech companies quite a bit of access in exchange for discounted or even free tech. It's important to keep in mind that their primary motive will always be profit, and that ours will always be learning.- JasonTiefel JasonTiefel Nov 5, 2015 I agree with Jason on this point. In the past when the internet and social media were new and exciting, sometimes the discussion of safety and the idea that some of the firms used are proprietary and use the data for their own profit were put on the back burner. Now as these tools become ubiquitous, decisions must be made as to what fits in with the safety promises we make to students and parents. For example, while Facebook is "where the kids are" facebook sells your data to make money and as a school this breaks with common data privacy policy. As such at our school we now only allow official communication to go through google+ as it is a member of the Student Privacy Pledge:, and has explicit policies for protecting student data whereas other systems do not: - David.collett David.collett Nov 6, 2015

Teaching Complex Thinking
It is essential for young people both to understand the networked world in which they are growing up and also — through computational thinking — to understand the difference between human and artificial intelligence, learn how to use abstraction and decomposition when tackling complex tasks, and deploy heuristic reasoning to complex problems. The semantic web, big data, modeling technologies, and other innovations make new approaches to training learners in complex and systems thinking possible. Yet, mastering modes of complex thinking does not make an impact in isolation; communication skills must also be mastered for complex thinking to be applied meaningfully. Indeed, the most effective leaders are outstanding communicators with a high level of social intelligence; their capacity to connect people with other people, using technologies to collaborate and leveraging data to support their ideas, requires an ability to understand the bigger picture and to make appeals that are based on logic, data, and instinct. Coding: Established technologies: my suggestion may be a little off topic and possibly dated but teaching the language of coding from grade 1 onward seems like an obvious necessity these days - as much teaching reading, writing and math. Here's an article that sheds some light on the topic:[[user/simon.gauci|1445476011]] I also concur on this front. Coding is the language of the internet and understanding what is fast growing into a parallel world to me seems to warrant a place alongside other staples of education such as language learning, the arts and PE (older but still relevant video on this idea:
- David.collett David.collett Oct 25, 2015 While I agree that exposure to the language of coding/programming is valuable, I wonder at what point we reach diminishing returns with students. This article is more about the emergence of coding academies being sold as a "quick and easy" career move, and it's a bit curmudgeonly, but I think the author makes a good case for where this is all going. Namely, the tools to create basic software will one day be readily accessible and will be based on combining visual elements (think a mega version of Scratch) or even translating intentions to code via voice (the author links to this MIT article to show that this is underway). If things are heading this way, I don't see that spending a lot of time learning programming will be a necessity for all students.- JasonTiefel JasonTiefel Nov 3, 2015 Coding is important though I would recommend approaching this from another angle by creating the logic of coding in early years in the form of fun games , in the end of the day coding is logic, better the logic better the code, at early age students tend to like to play , creating curriculum games keeping coding in mind is an approach that will teach students and train their logic and prepare for coding in future years. e.g : a group of children, with two teachers, draw a 8x8 squares in the floor and place the two persons in far squares ask student to start commanding them where to go to meet each other, or place an object and teacher move into squares to reach the objects, the logic students learn and simplest steps to achieve this is actually coding in my humble opinion.- abdulrahman.hasan abdulrahman.hasan Nov 6, 2015 Coding...more important than a second language...just an opinion. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Nov 6, 2015 I think we haven't done enough data collection as education institutions on just how important (or if it is important at all) coding is to children's longitudinal academic success. I think it is easy to assume that it may have little impact because programming will get easier and easier over time. However, similar to the MakerSpace movement, coding seems less about the buzz word- coding- and more about systems thinking. If we want children to be flexible in thinking and have a variety of ways to problem solve, as well as create problems, then coding is a simple first step for very young learners. The, "if this, then that" that happens in programming is a excellent way to teach even 5 year olds about consequences to actions. At NIST, we have only just started introducing coding to the maths programme in the PYP, we have only had one Global Codeathon event and no data has been gathered on how this relates to learning. I think as it is now infused in many schools throughout the region it is necessary to include it here. I created a website for parents, teachers and students to understand coding better at NIST.- tosca.killoran tosca.killoran Nov 9, 2015 I'm not sure about coding as a technology, but surely coding as a curricular element is gaining importance and relevance. Thinking of it this way -- as a curricular piece rather than as a tool through which we access other content/skills -- I'm not sure it belongs here. - adrienne.michetti adrienne.michetti Nov 10, 2015 [Editor's note: Moved over from RQ2] - Vic Vic Nov 12, 2015

Under-resourced Campus Infrastructure
Critical school infrastructures are under-resourced. Rather than encouraging researchers to build on and extend core resources, leverage shared file systems, and open accessible service APIs, institutions are narrowing their focus to what they perceive as the minimal subset of enterprise services they can afford to sustain. As a result, educators are often trying to design new, innovative learning models that must be integrated with outdated, pre-existing technology and learning management systems. One of the key bottlenecks to most of the innovation we're talking about will be bandwidth. Many countries in SE Asia have relatively poor internet infrastructure, which is going to stifle innovation and slow down progress of things like cloud computing. Another particular problem in SE Asia is the extent to which governments and ISPs control and divvy up the market. A recent controversy in Thailand has been the single gateway initiative, which functions as a tool for surveillance and control but would have massive implications for internet performance and vulnerability (in addition to limited access to information - see below).- JasonTiefel JasonTiefel Nov 5, 2015 Just wanted to echo what Jason said. I experienced many similar conditions and barriers while living in Indonesia. - brian.duffy brian.duffy Nov 9, 2015 Increased and Reliable Bandwith: This is an infrastructure issue, but given the move to cloud computing, bandwidth will continue to be a significant consideration for educational institutions going forward. People will make choices about which school to enrol in based on this type of support, all other things being equal. Given that we are in the Information Age, people will need consistent and reliable access to information. Funds that previously were spent on hardware (computers, tablets, etc.), servers, and support will have a significant portion redirected to increasing bandwidth.- ibeeckmans ibeeckmans Nov 6, 2015 [Editor's Note: Excellent point; I'm combining this with the challenge Under-resourced Campus Infrastructure in RQ4.] - Vic Vic Nov 10, 2015

New Challenges Added by Panel

Aligning Key Stakeholders Toward Innovation
As with any major change or disruption to education, parents play a huge role in the success of any implementation. This is especially true in the international school arena, where parent voice is often heard louder than one of an experienced educator. This being the case, it is imperative that parents are educated to help them understand why this change may occur. School will not look or function as it did for them and this can be disconcerting as a parent. If we are asking for a partnership in education with our parents there needs to be specific orientation and education around any major disruptions such as passion driven, student-centered learning activities becoming more of the norm. - mark.mcelroy mark.mcelroy Nov 8, 2015 The gap between student knowledge and comfort with digital tech compared to parents appears to be widening. We need to bridge that gap, but who will do it. Perhaps the first step is acknowledging that this is a significant issue. - ibeeckmans ibeeckmans Nov 9, 2015 Part of the issue is time. Who is responsible for parent education? The parent, the school, the coaches the VPs? Who? Who has time to up-skill and help them in there partnership with schools? As usual, at NIST we created a website to help parents who may not make it in for coffee mornings and workshops to access resources and sites for digital citizenship tosca.killoran tosca.killoran Nov 9, 2015
This is a challenge that is aligned with a couple of the ones mentioned above: parent education and research-based decision making. Often, though understandably at times, administrators are reluctant to disrupt the traditional way of education in fear that parents would be disgruntled, and the administrators will not be able to support their argument with research. The irony, however, is that if we're trying to be innovators, we need to take the risks to try something new; we must be able to take the positive risks, with all the qualitative data around us from our actual daily teachings, observations and workings with students, that something new is at hand, that something new must be explored with the challenge to traditional education. However, I get the impression that some leaders are afraid to disrupt the system for myriad reasons (again, valid as they may be) that do not directly impact student learning in a positive way. - liz.cho liz.cho Nov 9, 2015 Agreed, like the parental education piece above, there is a significant gap in understanding and implementation of digital tools by the majority of admin/leadership. How can they champion something they have difficulty understanding? What steps need to be taken to ensure that school administrations understand the importance of these tools? Critical decisions are often left unmade as a result. - ibeeckmans ibeeckmans Nov 9, 2015 [Editor's note: I've combined this challenge (formerly "Parent Education") with another added challenge -- "Administration" -- under the title of "Aligning Key Stakeholders Toward Innovation."] - Vic Vic Nov 12, 2015

Challenging Perceptions of Success
Even though we've seen significant changes to the hiring policies of companies like PricewaterhouseCoopers (dropped UCAS requirement) and Ernst & Young (dropped degree requirement) and others, schools and parents still see college entry as the ultimate endgame for most students. We need to shift perception of what 'success' looks like in schools if we wish truly wish to meet the needs of all learners in our schools. This perception is what stifles innovation, creativity and the shift away from our entrenched models of schooling.
- john.burns john.burns Nov 8, 2015 This is a massive issue everywhere, and our university advising counsellors at UWCSEA have indicated it's one of their top items. When we talk about learning as being something ephemeral and personal, that only goes so far, because every parent wants their child to attend Harvard. So yes, I agree -- examining what it means to be 'successful' is a huge challenge. However, I'm unsure yet as to how this is connected to technology. - adrienne.michetti adrienne.michetti Nov 10, 2015

Lack of Resources for Research-Based Decision Making
With the increase in international education across the globe ( there is very little research focusing on the unique challenges of international schools. Thus, creating a need for international schools to research and validate best practices based on their unique context. - jessica.hale jessica.hale Nov 3, 2015 [Editor's note: I've tweaked the title of this challenge.] - Vic Vic Nov 12, 2015 I agree with this point and the need for a research bank or collaborative on specific international research so as to make decision making more targeted. There is enough talent and there are researchers in each school doing projects, and so a database similar to ebsco, perhaps through atlas or some other commonly used tool could bring together this research so as to develop the regional understanding of issues that have been researched and areas in need of development. For example here is my dissertation on Third Culture Kids who participate in Online Social Networking. It currently is housed nowhere but could be a part of an international research library if it was developed by one of the regional organizations. EARCOS perhaps: - David.collett David.collett Nov 6, 2015 Yes. We need to create Action Research models to assist our PD as a teacher and invent programs as we build. We often implement packaged programs, not testing/pioneering new models. Action Research allows us to go beyond the 'boxed instructional materials'. Have a look at what is happening at the American School of Bombay: - michael.lambert michael.lambert Nov 8, 2015 The saying goes "we manage what we measure" and that is true in education. In the USA it might be testing regiments that are part of the regular classroom experience. Overseas, it might be a wide variety of testing procedures, or depending on the school, none at all. But what do we use to measure the impact of technology on education? After co-teaching a lesson with a classroom teacher and, say, showing students how to use a digital portfolio, how do I measure the impact? I "feel" like the impact has been positive, but am not sure. Perhaps many of the adaptive learning tools such as will let us track, int his example, the math scores and the possible correlation and causation that goes with using an adaptive app and having a higher test score at the end. - michael.boll michael.boll Nov 7, 2015 [Editors note: This challenge (formerly "Finding an Evaluation Metric" sounds like a dimension of "Research Based Decision Making," so I am combining these two challenges.] - Vic Vic Nov 12, 2015

Protecting Student Safety through Stricter Policy
Many of us in the Asia region are greatly aware of the recent events that untangled the "perfect" schools world. Even at leadership conferences such as NESA and EARCOS school leaders [directors] gathered to discuss issues such as child abuse in the schools and began the arduous, yet essential, task of constructing a response to Safety and and Abuse Policy as an overall organizational idea as well as for individual schools. Items such as pre-service training, recruiting screening, response to accusation, school-wide stakeholder protection, local laws/rights. etc. Although these issues are still under the radar, there continues to be a greater need to be more transparent.- simon.gauci simon.gauci Nov 3, 2015 [Editor's note: I've edited the title of this challenge (formerly "Children Safety and Abuse Policy - The Elephant in the Room).] - Vic Vic Nov 12, 2015 An ongoing problem in Thailand is the very mild screening process for recruitment of teachers, particularly in some of the 'cheaper' schools. This vulnerability has a number of causes, from poor funding for education, to miserly school owners, to a proliferation of counterfeit credentials. How these could all be addressed is a mystery, but is obviously of paramount importance for keeping our kids safe. - brian.duffy brian.duffy Nov 9, 2015 This is a huge issue in Asian international schools now. Lawyers have had to rewrite policies for schools because of this. Keeping this data safe is a big area of concern. - adrienne.michetti adrienne.michetti Nov 10, 2015

Internet Censorship and Restriction
The surveillance, censorship, and restriction of information online is a particularly big issue in SE Asia, and it's getting worse instead of better. China has long been the exemplar for crippling innovation by restricting access to tools (e.g. Google), but other countries are doubling down on this kind of behavior. Freedom House has released their "Freedom on the Net 2015" report, and countries like Thailand have plummeted due to an increase in arrests and intimidations about things posted online. The report has fantastic visualized data on which countries fare the worst and what kinds of topics are frequently censored. "Criticism of Authority," something any teacher interested in social justice should be encouraging in their students, is by far the most restricted topic for countries in Asia. The detrimental affect that this behavior has on free expression, innovation, social justice, and most other topics of consequence is impossible to overstate.- JasonTiefel JasonTiefel Nov 5, 2015

Other Insights

Long-Term Trend
Standardized Testing in Asia: online access to bootleg tests
Widespread access to information is without a doubt a key element is today's schooling but what about access to standardized tests; such tests that may/can determine the "fate" of some students post-secondary education location. The enormous pressure of many Asian students is common knowledge and with stats revealing they're at the top of the scores, there is continued pressure to maintain and sustain that top ranking. Remember that the context for this inquiry is Asia and this assertion does not in anyway exclude that other students in the world i.,e European/North American are not under similar pressures. Nonetheless, access to bootlegged standardized tests seems to be an issue worth investing some time into because as access/connectivity increases, security increases and hacking tactics get better and so on. What impact might this issue have on Asian International schools Acceptable use Policy's (AUPS), server use etc? Here's an article to consider: - simon.gauci simon.gauci Oct 21, 2015 [Editor's Note: Moved from RQ3] - Vic Vic Nov 12, 2015

New Challenge Name
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