An education expert is predicting a major shake-up to the sector, not dissimilar to that of the ride share industry on taxis.
Springfield City Group EGM for Education & Smart City Enterprises Richard Eden said the tides of change were nigh for education delivery and that collaboration and cooperation could help tackle the issue. “We haven’t had the Uber disruption to education yet, but it’s coming,” Dr Eden said. “Schooling, for example, is currently a specific place-based model, but here in Greater Springfield schools are cooperating and collaborating for what might serve as a model of learning into the future. What better place to do that than in a Learning City which will continue to grow at six per cent per annum for the next 20 years. If we can’t do it here, it will be difficult anywhere.”
Education is the soul of Greater Springfield. The Learning City prides itself in providing world-class education from kindergarten to university to employment.
There are currently 11 schools in the Greater Springfield catchment which service more than a quarter of the 40,000+ population. As the area grows and education changes, the city is already preparing to keep up with the demand. Dr Eden said that growth in Greater Springfield would continue well above the average rates elsewhere and that the liveability and access to world-class infrastructure, including education, would continue to attract people from near and far.
“The delivery of learning has to keep up with the way society has adopted digital and how we are now doing so many things in different ways,” Dr Eden said. “For example, the dawning of artificial intelligence capabilities means that humans will no longer have the cognitive playing fields to themselves. Within our schools we often teach our students their most important soft skills are going to be collaboration, networking and problem-solving. Our thinking here at Greater Springfield is let’s model and demonstrate those skills in how we actually deliver learning. The leaders of learning are embracing that idea and moving towards it by at least collaborating and talking amongst themselves.”
One key element of that strategy is the recent launch of the Greater Springfield Learning Coalition. The initiative is one of the first of its kind in the country and is a collaboration of all 11 Greater Springfield schools, working together for the purpose of providing better learning outcomes for more than 10,000 students.
Springfield Central State School principal Angela Gooley said she was proud to be involved in such a proactive and forward-thinking community. “We are in a very fortunate position of not having just one great school down the road, but 10 amazing schools and all within five minutes of each other,” Ms Gooley said. “It opens up an opportunity for us to authentically work through collective efficacy and in turn impact positively the lives, learning and outcome of our students. To us, that is absolutely exciting.”
The Springfield Anglican College principal Darren Pitt echoed a similar sentiment. “I’m extremely excited by the Learning Coalition initiative, and what it means for the young people of my school and Greater Springfield and for my staff,” Mr Pitt said. “The Coalition is a great opportunity for them to develop the 21st Century skills which abundant research point to as the key characteristics needed for success in the future. The opportunities presented by the Coalition for people to collaborate, communicate, engage in inquiry, problem-solving and project work are unique and will position them to flourish in their adult lives.”
Springfield Central SHS former principal Leon Proud said the Learning Coalition epitomised the age-old adage that “it takes a village to raise a child”. The Learning Coalition is really important because you often hear it takes a village to raise a child and this really captures that theme. I like to see it as there’s not competition between the schools, but collaboration and commitment which will certainly benefit all of our students.”
The newly formed Greater Springfield Learning Coalition will host the Greater Springfield Festival of Learning on 21 – 26 October 2019, another first-time initiative for the area and the country. The festival will encompass a wide range of connected events and activities across the Learning City which showcase and celebrate learning.
The emerging city’s newest school, Spring Mountain State School opened earlier this year and principal Cherie Moore said the benefits of the coalition and festival for both the schools and more importantly, the students, were undeniable. “The Learning Coalition brings a lot of the community into our environment,” Ms Moore said. “Being new, this allows us to come together with the other schools and to understand the community we’re working with and for. It also provides great networking opportunities and gives our students a bit of an understanding of what is happening across the community and how they can be a part of it.”
Springfield Central SHS school captain Laura Muirhead said from a student’s perspective, it was great to see everyone working together. “As students we are very proud to represent our school and are even more excited about being together as part of a bigger collective,” Miss Muirhead said.
The Greater Springfield Festival of Learning will provide excitement and interest in the Learning City as people will see what is currently on offer in the area as well as options for future learning.
Chairman of the Learning Coalition, Dr Eden said he hoped that while the festival was specifically designed for the Greater Springfield community it would also attract attention from a range of stakeholders across the Education sector. “Greater Springfield is a community that will support both traditional schooling and differentiated forms that provide parents with choice and points of difference,” he said. “The continued success for Greater Springfield’s Learning City will be directly related to the ability to create new Learning Partnerships and to leverage these partnerships to deliver educational excellence to individuals, organisations and enterprises. We hope that through showcasing what we already have and what we aim to have here in Greater Springfield through the Festival of Learning, it will bring even more exciting educational opportunities to the area.”