Thanks to generous support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Fondation Henri Moser, the Center for Curriculum Redesign has worked during the past two years to synthesize research on Mathematics education around the world – as related to the central question: “What should students learn for the 21st century?”
The recommendations are now published as three succinct papers, which describe the goals for redesigning standards for Mathematics for the 21st Century:
- Maths Branches Subjects and Topics – CCR
- Maths Methods & Tools – CCR
- Maths Concepts & Processes – CCR
and the supporting paper: Maths & Higher-order Thinking Skills – CCR
The recommendations have incorporated copious input and feedback from: CCR member jurisdictions; many invited experts at its Stockholm conference; and an experts’ colloquium in East Hampton NY.
As always, the CCR remains open to constructive suggestions and creative ideas, so please feel free to contact us at email@example.com.
“Hype vs. Reality: A.I./Robotics and impact on employability” was the theme of the third CCR colloquium on the topic (see agenda and past colloquia: #2 and #1). Several leading economists and technologists (participants and bios) debated the potential impact of technology on employability, starting with a critique of the Oxford Martin Study: The_Future_of_Employment_OMS_Working_Paper_1.
The presentations were given by: (alphabetically)
- Henrik Christensen – Georgia Institute of Technology (140319-NYC-Jobs-roundtable)
- Ernest Davis – New York University (Employment)
- Charles Fadel – Center for Curriculum Redesign (moderator, sponsor) (CCR economists intro 2014 – Charles Fadel)
- Michael Handel – Northeastern University (USCIB_roundtable_Handel)
- Gary Marcus – New York University (Marcus employment2)
- Frank Levy – Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Levy Five Minute Slides)
- Luke Muehlhauser – Machine Intelligence Research Institute (Luke Muehlhauser roundtable slides)
- Susan Puglia – IBM (Hype vs Reality – AI and Robotics – IBM POV SPuglia 031914)
- Juergen Schmidhuber – The Swiss AI Lab IDSIA (USI & SUPSI) (roundtable2014)
- John Smart – Acceleration Studies Foundation (Smart-TechUnemploymnt-CCR)
- Lynn Andrea Stein – Olin College (Stein)
The consensus reflected the following views:
- Routine tasks will remain the most automatable, for the foreseeable future. Even some facets of innovative and creative activities might become automatable.
- The full-fledged adoption of technologies generally takes much longer than initially anticipated, yet often strikes deeper eventually than assumed a priori.
- Robust occupations will be those that are “full of challenges with new discoveries to be made, new performances to be obtained, new things to be learned and shared with others“.
- Occupations that will see an increase in demand are so-called T-shaped (requiring both depth and breadth) with deep expertise and complex communications skills.
- Further progress on predictability would require a deep, sector-by-sector analysis, and cannot be achieved by a top-down review.
- The ultimate challenge in predictability is due to the parameters being numerous, variable, with wide “error bars”, and temporally interplaying with each other.
The Center for Curriculum Redesign is grateful to the Hewlett Foundation, the USCIB Foundation and the McGraw-Hill Financial – Global Institute for their support of the research and the event.
On October 14-15, 2013, the OECD hosted CCR’s Interdisciplinarity & Metacognition colloquium (agenda). The following presentations are now available:
- The Theory and Findings of Interdisciplinary Education – William H. Newell (Miami University in Ohio)
- Interdisciplinarity in Primary Education : Why, What and How ? – Yves Lenoir (Universite de Sherbrooke)
- Interdisciplinarity and Metacognition – Lessons from Learning Environments – David Istance (OECD/CERI)
- Metacognition in the classroom – Peter Nilsson (Deerfield Academy)
- Learning to learn – what is it and can it be measured ? – Ulf Fredriksson (Stockholm University, Institute of International Education)
- Metacognition and self-regulated learning in different subject areas – Roger Azevedo (North Carolina State University)
- A Metacurriculum on Metacognition: What Instructors and Students Can Learn From Thinking About Learning – Karl Wirth (Macalester College)
The CCR is grateful to all presenters, participants, and partners.
We are very pleased to announce that Victoria (Australia) is the eight key PISA jurisdiction to join the Center for Curriculum Redesign. Richard Bolt, Secretary for Education, stated: ““The innovative work of your Center as a thought leader… is both timely and important”. We look forward to enhanced collaboration between all the CCR participants.
A recent survey published by the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (BIAC*) highlights that employers in 27 countries consider that curriculum reform should be the first priority in schools. Evidently, this emphasis is directly aligned with the Center’s core mission.
The report states: “It is interesting to note that the most commonly selected priority is school curricula reform, closely followed by linking education to labour market needs and improving co-operation with employers… it is interesting to note in Chart 3(a) that many business and employers’ organisations do wish to build closer co-operation at this level of education. Improving teaching quality and training, including VET and school leaders, is also a high priority for employers in many countries according to the survey results.
Given the attention attributed to curriculum reform, the survey requested specific details from respondents about which elements of the curriculum should be strengthened in their respective countries. The results are shown in Chart 3(b) . According to the responses, it appears that employers most commonly believe that more emphasis is needed on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in national curricula. This is closely followed by enhancing focus on core skills such as numeracy and literacy, as well as critical thinking and communication skills. In some countries, business and employers organisations also attribute importance to enhancing language skills, as well as basic economics and personal finance.”
*BIAC is the officially recognised representative of the OECD business community. Founded in 1962 as an independent organisation, BIAC’s members are the major business organisations in the OECD member countries and a number of OECD observer countries.
The full text of the press release can be found below:
BIAC Media Release
Employers call for closer Co-operation in Education Policy and Reform of School Curricula
Paris, 6 June 2013 – According to an international survey of national business and employers’ organisations, the private sector is calling for education systems to focus more closely on the needs of labour markets.
The employers’ survey was carried out by the Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC) to the OECD, and includes responses from 28 leading national business and employers’ organisations in 27 countries spanning several continents.
Commenting upon the results, Mr. Attilio Oliva, Chair of the BIAC Education Committee, stated that “The high level of unemployment in many economies around the world is a painful reminder of the crucial importance of helping every person of any working age become as employable as possible – not only in the current economic period, but also for any moment in one’s future working life”.
Survey responses show that it is necessary to deepen co-operation between employers, policy makers and education institutions in order to design reforms that improve education systems – in schools, higher education and vocational training. This should also be an important element of the OECD Action Plan for Youth, to which the OECD Ministerial Council committed on 29 May 2013.
At the school-level, for example, the survey results suggest that reforming curricula is a top priority for employers. This should include increased focus on “STEM” (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), as well as skills such as reading, numeracy, communication and critical thinking, among others.
“The BIAC survey reinforces the point that employers care deeply about skills and we must all work together to boost the quality of our education systems,” Mr. Oliva added. “Improving education is essential for people to find jobs, for employers to find employees with relevant skills, and for our economies and societies as a whole to thrive”.
On the heels of its April 24-26, in Stockholm, Sweden, the Center for Curriculum Redesign is pleased to publish the “Stockholm Declaration” as a statement of intent.
The conference, attended by more than 100 participants from around the world and which included several members of the OECD/PISA Mathematics team, reaffirmed the need to deeply redesign Mathematics standards. The aim is to better reflect relevance to Society and employability, via a deep rethinking of which branches and topics increasingly matter.
The CCR intends to run two more experts meetings before the end of 2013, after which it will publish its standards recommendations.
The CCR is pleased to announce that the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority has joined as a Partner organization.
The CCR also looks forward to fruitful exchanges with ACARA.
On April 22-24, 2013 the CCR hosted its “21st Century Mathematics” conference in Stockholm, Sweden which attracted numerous influential participants from over twenty countries. The final agenda is given here.
The CCR is grateful to the Confederation of Swedish Enterprises and the OECD for their partnership, as well as to the Gates Foundation, the Nellie Mae Education Foundation and the Moser Foundation (Geneva, Switzerland) for their generous support.
The conference presentations are available below:
- Greetings and Introduction: Charles Fadel (CCR & BIAC)
- Presentation: “Why should we fix this urgently?” Åke Svensson (CEO – Teknikföretagen)
- Short remarks on importance to OECD countries – Dirk Van Damme (OECD/CERI)
- Presentation: Why Curriculum Redesign? Why Maths? Exponential technologies and their impact on humankind – Charles Fadel (Center for Curriculum Redesign)
- Presentation: “Mathematicians’ reluctance to embrace uncertainty (zero, probabilities, incompleteness)” Michael Kaplan (author, “Chances are”)
- Presentation: Neuroscience and Cognitive Psychology of Mathematics – Jon Star (Harvard University)
- Presentation: Mathematics standards of PISA countries – William Schmidt (Michigan State University)
- Presentation: Why do we teach Mathematics? (CCR to facilitate)
- Presentation Katz ; Presentation Dauben: The History of Mathematics teaching; the tension between practice and theory – Joseph Dauben (City University of New York)
- Video: Teaching Complex Dynamical Systems at Ross schools
- Presentation: Mathematics and PISA’s future – Dirk Van Damme (OECD/CERI)
- Presentation: Mathematical Thinking – Keith Devlin (Stanford University)
- Presentation: Mathematics and the drift towards Purity – Sverker Lundin (University of Gothenburg)
- Presentation: Stop Teaching Calculating, Start Teaching Maths – Conrad Wolfram (Wolfram Research)
- Presentation: Mathematics and 21st century skills: Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration (Michael Pearson, Mathematical Association of America)
- Presentation: The importance of Computational Thinking – Maggie Johnson (Google)
- Presentation: The Power of Visualizations – Staffan Landen (Karolinska Institutet and www.Gapminder.org)
- Presentation: Many Eyes – Irene Greif (IBM)
- Presentation: “Street-fighting” Mathematics for Everyone – Sanjoy Mahajan (MIT & Olin College)
- Presentation: Workplace Mathematics – Arthur Bakker (Freudenthal Institute)
- Presentation: What Mathematics does the workforce really use? – Merrilea Mayo (Kellogg Foundation)
- Conclusion: “The Stockholm Declaration: Mathematics for the 21st century” (All participants, led by CCR)
“Man and Machine: the Impact of Technology on Employment” was the theme of the second CCR economists’ colloquium (see Agenda and meeting Summary). Several leading economists (Participants), among whom MIT’s David Autor and Frank Levy, debated the potential impact of technology, and reaffirmed that in an age of search and Artificial Intelligence, “21st Century Skills” such as Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication and Collaboration were all the more essential.
The advances of technology were presented by Charles Fadel (CCR – presentation) and Rob Nail (Singularity University – presentation). David Autor presented the latest curves on the US economy-wide changes in job task content (presentation, page 24 in particular).
Other presentations were given by: (alphabetically)
- Paul Beaudry – University of British Columbia (presentation)
- Robert Gordon – Northwestern University (presentation)
- Gad Levanon – The Conference Board (presentation)
- Frank Levy – MIT (presentation)
- Stephen Rose – Georgetown University (presentation)
Quite notably, and echoing CCR’s Futurists’ colloquia, Frank Levy highlighted the importance of versatility of knowledge and skill as a wise response to uncertain economic times.
The Center for Curriculum Redesign is grateful to the Hewlett Foundation, the US Council Foundation and the McGraw-Hill Research Foundation for their support of the research and the event.
The presentations made at the “Futurists and Educators II” meeting at Harvard on September 20-21 are now available:
- Jillian Darwish – KnowledgeWorks Foundation: “Four drivers of change”
- Charles Fadel – CCR: “The impact of Technology (abridged)”
- Robert Plotkin – Attorney: “The automation of invention“
The preparatory reading materials were:
- Albright on Past Forecasts
- Nagy on Wright vs Moore’s law
- Vinge on the The Singularity and schools
- Pentland on Big Data
Many sincere thanks to all presenters and contributors.