Recently, I enjoyed a conversation with a group of Middle School parents about how much education has evolved and how exciting it has become. It is true. Although there are still many schools across the country that adopt a more traditional approach, at LJCDS, our educational philosophy is to adapt to the changing society and equip our students with the critical skill sets that the new world values.
In traditional education, teachers spend more time telling students what to think instead of how to think. The carefully manicured content constructs a predesigned understanding of the world. Their goal is not adaptability for their students but more of a blueprint of thought.
With the rise of the internet, we have gained access to a greater breadth of knowledge. If you don’t know something, a Google search is at your fingertips. With this immediate access to information, our educators are spending more time helping students build essential skills to process information, and think critically and analytically.
We know it is impossible to teach students everything they need to know about the world and train them to do every type of task. To prepare our students for their future, we strive to educate them to be adaptable and resourceful, so they can learn for themselves. That is an evolutionary leap in educational philosophy, one that schools are still adapting.
Now consider this parallel with machine learning, a subset of artificial intelligence.
Computer programmers cannot possibly write unique algorithms for every task and scenario. Machine learning makes it possible for computers to take large sets of information (data) and modify its algorithms to improve its probability of making accurate predictions. The machines are now adaptable as they process the changes around them. That’s machine learning in a nutshell. And it is a significant evolutionary leap, one that parallels the education leap as we both are trying to leverage the wealth of information available to us.
Currently, the Middle School is working through one key difference. Many innovations exploit previously unrecognized relationships. A computer can process data in large volumes and find those relationships, but people need a fuller foundational breadth of knowledge to sense a new connection. Without that awareness, the data available is null because we don’t have the knowledge and understanding to search for it. It is up to us to design a curriculum with the critical nodes in place, so it constructs a network of knowledge that will allow students to best utilize the vast amount of information available on the internet.
The wonderful part of being at La Jolla Country Day School is that it is comprised of forward-thinking educational leaders. Our educators are questioning the status quo as the world changes. They aren’t blindly following others to navigate this generation’s dilemmas. I haven’t been around another group with this richness of intellect, care, work ethic and wisdom. The future is bright, and I’m excited to be part of it.