Now Or Stay Behind

Nabil Bouassaba - Now or stay behind

We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist, using technologies that haven’t been invented, in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet. —Richard Riley, Former US Secretary of Education

The lessons of history teach us that the transitioning leaders from one industrial revolution to another were involuntarily driven to their predetermined destinies of either innovation or failure. The earliest mechanization of manufacturing was accomplished through the use of water and steam power during the first industrial revolution. The second industrial revolution involved the utilization of electric power. The third one automated the production process with the help of electronic and computer technology. 

But this one is the fusion of technologies that already exist, the mutation of traditional processes, such as how we interact with one another, how we educate in school, how we perform our job, how we do research, and how we lead teams and develop new ideas. In today’s world, chatbots can provide customer support, execute operations on bank accounts, and book flights and hotel rooms; and artificial intelligence can learn our routines, our favorite cuisine, our preferred hobby, and any relevant details from the past to assist us in making the best decisions for the future.

This will have an effect on our sense of privacy, our concepts of ownership, our purchasing patterns, the amount of time we give to work and leisure, and the manner in which we advance professionally, cultivate our skills, meet new people, and nourish existing connections.

It is possible that this will seem depressing to us because the majority of it has the effect of reducing the amount of human interaction and the utilization of the critical success factors that I mentioned in this book, such as empathy. But what other options do we have? Should we fight it or accept it? There is no doubt about one thing. Resisting will not make it go away. Technology is here to stay. Technology progression continues to develop and replicate itself at a rapid pace and is consequently gaining control of our lives. Unless we treat technology as a tool and not a purpose, it will influence our behaviors and decisions regardless of whether or not we want it to.

For example, it was impossible for students in the past to know the curriculum content if it had not been presented to them by their teachers. Currently, information is available in a variety of formats and can be accessed with the click of a button. As a result of the trend toward independent learning, students are being given the opportunity to decide how they would like to gain knowledge. For one thing, teachers can delegate tasks to students that require them to formulate practical responses to issues. Students have access to an infinite number of resources to investigate the issue and find a solution that is tailored to their individual preferences. Some of them will look things up on the internet, some will watch videos, and yet others will use applications on their smartphones. The teacher is no longer the only source of information in this model of instruction, which is known as the “flipped classroom.” Instead, teachers in this model take on the role of mediators in the classroom and monitor their students’ progress toward reaching the academic goals.

There is no question that technology encourages young people to work together and be creative. As a result, this opens up enormous doors for them to cultivate strong personalities, critical thinking skills, and problem-solving abilities, all of which will eventually help them become successful leaders.

Over the course of my career, which spanned more than a decade, I had the opportunity to work with international schools and ministries of education. During that time, I experienced the transformative power that technology had on learning and teaching. 

I was in charge of the Middle East sales operation for an Australian e-learning company that offered K-12 cloud-based solutions, designed around the concept of gamification to help pupils achieve mastery levels in mathematics, English, and science. According to research by the University of Oxford and the Australian Christian University in over twenty-one thousand schools, it was discovered that students who utilized the math program had an advantage of up to nine percent on national exams in comparison to students who did not have access to those tools.

Because of technological advancements, children from different parts of the world are now able to receive an education of the same standard. You would have a much better understanding of how far technology is going to go to democratize learning if you saw a young girl in a remote city in Asia having access to the same level of education as any child living in the United Kingdom or the United States.

I know! You can’t wait to find out about the negative aspects of technology, can you? You have a point. There is a dark side to this revolution as well as dangers that come along with it. But is it possible for us to weigh the benefits and drawbacks? The natural disposition of our thinking is to jump right to contemplating the negative aspects first. It is perfectly reasonable to take precautions to safeguard both us and future generations against the potential risks posed by technological advancements. However, while we are debating whether or not to get rid of technology, which will never happen, we can work toward transforming ourselves and our children into digital citizens who have a high level of emotional intelligence and are responsible for our actions and the way we deploy technology.

Successful leaders recognize that technology is a tool that can simplify operations and establish the framework for improved collaboration, faster access to reliable information, and more efficient decision-making processes. Other leaders are steadfast in their commitment to their traditional management style, which not only lends them more authority but also shields them from the risk of having their essential skills tested, such as adaptability and change management.

Both organizations that are entirely digital and organizations that are entirely analog are doomed to fail. The same thing occurred in the educational institutions that made the decision to do away with textbooks and replace them with e-learning instead. They sped up the revolution that was already taking place in their surroundings and pressured teachers and parents to make significant adjustments without first conducting research or making adequate plans for a smooth transition. Traditional schools, on the other hand, prevented their communities from having access to modern resources that would have made the process of teaching and learning more streamlined and effective.

However, those reference schools that utilized a hybrid method demonstrated the highest levels of achievement overall. Everything that could be made easier with the help of technology has been converted into a digital format, but the traditional methods of instruction, which include using textbooks, pens and paper, have been preserved wherever they’re necessary for the development of the pupils.

The same principle applies to each and every other sector. A computer will never be able to take the place of a person’s innate intuition due to the fact that it is unable to interpret emotions, and its calculations are limited to algorithms and probabilities. The human brain and heart both function with an unlimited number of dimensions and are connected to both reason and soul, and this is exclusive to humans.

Nabil Bouassaba