Education – Priorities for the Next Decade
Moderator: Dr. Stephen Kosslyn – Stanford University
Dr. Adam Weinberg – President and CEO, World Learning
Susan Polgar – Executive Director, Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence, Webster University
Dr. Fred Mednick – Founder, Teachers without Borders
Dr. Vincent Aleven – Associate Professor, Human-Computer Interaction Institute, Carnegie Mellon University
Dr. Howard Gardner – Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Last year, Stanford University held an urgent roundtable discussion to ask: what role have the ‘humanities’ played in higher education? While this particular meeting articulated the traditional value of liberal arts teaching, it noted that the future of the humanities is in question, not only due to recent economic conditions, but also due to the growing prominence of industries based on the hard sciences and technology. The growing emphasis on STEM in education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) poses a challenge to reviving or reinventing the humanities for today’s world in which education resources remain scarce. The education system of the United States, historically ranked in the top five globally in math and science has recently fallen to 30th, faces the challenges that will confront many nations around the world. How can educators ensure advances in both the hard sciences, which are easily measurable, and the humanities that are essential to understanding our world, but are not quantifiable? If the United States is a test case in the decade ahead, what should be educators’ priorities and what kind of education is essential to prosperity and well-being in our global age? Where would funding be best placed, and how should funding be linked to performance indicators? What role do the humanities play in a marketplace, increasingly dominated by science and technology? Conversely, how can technology be used to enhance and broaden access to education that will prepare young people for the challenges of the present and future?