Mr. Kaku stated at ISTE 2016 that educational progress and teaching approaches generally follow technological developments. As new waves of technology arise, teaching and learning expand across grade levels to meet the wave’s skill requirements.
Kaku urges a revolution in education as the fourth wave of technology approaches—the quantum era. In such a technologically evolved environment, how can we teach future generations?
We agree with Kaku that teaching for conceptual understanding is vital.
Assimilation of Concept of Conceptual Understanding
Conceptual understanding can help students apply what they learn in class across disciplines. Nowadays, rote memorization and traditional arithmetic teaching approaches are regarded inadequate for real-world learning and application.
A frequent practise for state accountability and measurement, teaching to the test does not always prepare pupils for work outside the classroom.
In a research by Brown and Kane, preschoolers were more likely to transfer abilities when encouraged to employ previously taught and shown solutions. Rather of being told a rule, they learned best by seeing examples of solutions.
In arithmetic or another academic subject, pupils should be allowed to make decisions based on emergent understanding gained from example solutions, not an explicit rule that covers only one problem or one manner of addressing a problem.
Job-Readiness Requires Conceptual Understanding
People often operate in the workplace based on prior knowledge, assumptions, and perceptions. If it’s a new circumstance, they make wise decisions. People rarely have all the information they need to make the best decision. Developing conceptual comprehension and relationships comes next.
A lack of exposure to exploratory learning as a child prevents kids from developing problem-solving skills later in life. To truly grasp and convey knowledge, students must build on, analyse, evaluate and make appropriate associations.
Rather than relying on information, people must make decisions based on their conceptual understandings and relationships. Given that the fourth wave of technology will be wholly new, we must train students to make judgments and employ greater comprehension of new information.
So, where do we go?
How to Acquire Conceptual Understanding?
Academic learning, assessment, and soft skills don’t have to be mutually exclusive. From MOOCs and robots to the internet and people, information may be imparted in many ways. Intuition, experience, and underlying structures may not be as interchangeable as simple activities and information.
The common thread between concepts, the fundamental structure of knowledge, and how ideas are related must be taught, which has not been done previously. Our kids must be exposed to real-life jobs to achieve this.
Just as a good learning game incorporates real-world techniques, effective teaching activities must involve real-world strategies. For future professionals, we need to educate abstract ideas, not just facts and memory.
Explore what they are interested in as if they were working in that field. Project-based learning and exploratory units are good approaches to approach conceptual knowledge in a school system that lacks personalised learning resources.
If you teach social studies, instead of offering pupils information and dates, ask them to study books as historians seeking to understand why events occurred. With practise, students can uncover underlying patterns and cause and effect relationships in these examples.
According to author Warren Berger, youngsters enjoy having their questions answered, which makes them curious. Curiosity may be fostered in the classroom. Solicit scientific inquiry from kids in a science unit. To test new ideas, ask them how scientists go about it. What do they find? What should they know? Encourage children to learn more about how cells work, rather than just what they are and do. The critical thinking and investigative capabilities they need to create informed assumptions will be developed early on if they are made early on
They stimulate curiosity and more questions when they ask good ones. They learn by asking questions. To learn patterns and underlying structures, pupils must be exposed to situations having similar threads.
Promoting Conceptual Understanding for Equality
Connecting ideas is a skill that is often neglected since it is not tested. It has long been assumed that pupils who struggle to memorise information and swiftly put in formulas are inferior and need extra help. In the real world, however, a student’s capacity to perform or use prior knowledge to make an informed decision may not be reflected in his test score.
We level the playing field and prepare children for future success when we teach for understanding rather than memorization. Encouraging students to memorise information apart from how it might be applied in a project or real world scenario can help them focus on transferable skills and knowledge rather than unnecessary information.
However, there may be underlying patterns and ideas that can be applied to future discoveries in biotechnology, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence. We encourage kids to uncover patterns and think like professionals by teaching them exploratory, conceptual understanding. To confront the fourth wave, we must first prepare students for success beyond standardised tests.