What can public schools learn from industry by bridging the school to business gap?
According to Stewart McDonald, superintendent for the Kodiak Island Borough School District (KIBSD), public schools today have roots in the Industrial Age, as they were formed to prepare workers for the 19th century workforce. However, contemporary industry has broken from the tradition of a conveyor belt system ofcompartmentalized subjects and grade and age levels.
It’s necessary for today’s workers to have a different skill set than what was required on the production line of old. They are required to solve problems, adapt to change, and integrate multiple disciplines. Project management is a dominant factor in business along with multidisciplinary thinking, and higher order skills.
McDonald believes changing the educational model for bridging the gap between school and work should involve teachers as project managers, facilitators of learning, and treat students as professionals. This is the structure of the World Bridge Program.
Schools that participate in the World Bridge Program are committed to fundamental change in the approach to learning for teachers and students. Through the program, students join a Research and Development project motivated by a real need in community or business. The projects are created with partners such as NASA, the Alaska Aerospace Corporation, or academic institutions like the University of Massachusetts.
Teachers facilitate and track personalized learning through direct or computer based instruction. Industry professionals are the evaluators, and the teacher participates in project based learning simultaneously with the student.
To find out more about the World Bridge Program, continue reading Stewart McDonald’s commentary here.