Kevin Pashuk en beBee in English, Education and Training, Secondary Education Chief Information Officer - Appleby College/ beBee Brand Ambassador • Appleby College and beBee 15/11/2016 · 3 min de lectura · +800

The Last Bastion: Changing Our Schools

I wrote this post on my blog around 5 years ago.

Sadly, it's still very germane for most of the schools I encounter.

There are pockets of excellence (like the school I am part of), but...

Let's see if it resonates with you my reader.


The Last Bastion: Changing Our Schools

I was a terrible high school student.

Not terrible in the sense that I got bad marks, but terrible in the sense that I hated school and couldn't wait to get out of the system.

I was disengaged in most of my classes.

I didn't see the relevance in what I was being taught.

I was in a place where quiet, compliant, memorizers of information did well.

Original thought was not encouraged.

High school was something to be tolerated until I graduated.

So it's a surprise to many that I now have a career in education.

But it's not a surprise if you really know me.

As I mentioned in previous posts, I thrive on change. At least that's how my wife has summarized my propensity to be consistently doing new things.

Combine that with the fact that education is really one of the only sectors or industries that has not been transformed through the application of technology, and you will see that there is lots of opportunity for people like me.

Oh, we dabble, and there are shining stars of excellence (I like to include Appleby College in this mix), but for the most part we are educating our kids in the same manner as students have been for generations.

I'm talking transformation like that which has occurred in banking, travel, buying a house, social interaction, music, books, entertainment, government, utilities, etc.  The list goes on and on.

Education stands by itself as the most change resistant group of institutions - including primary, secondary, and post secondary.  We love our medieval roots so much that we even dress up in robes and gowns when we graduate our students.

But, as some pose, does education really need to change?

Let me ask. If everything else in the world is now done from a globally competitive, highly connected, continuous environment, doesn't it make sense that new skills, literacy and competencies are needed?

I think so.

And so do several thousand others.

While there are divergent opinions in exactly what should change, and how they should change, there are growing voices (including Bill and Melinda Gates, Davis Guggenheim (Waiting for Superman), and others) agreeing that there needs to be significant reform in education.

Every movement seems to have a seminal book, and in this conversation let me put forth my recommendation.

The book is “The Global Achievement Gap – Why our best schools don’t teach the new survival skills our children need – and what we can do about it.” by Tony Wagner of the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

The Last Bastion: Changing Our Schools

Tony Wagner interviewed several large organizations about the skills and literacy that today’s industry, government and other large organization need in the graduates they hire. His book outlines seven critical survival skills our kids need to thrive in this century. They are:

  • Critical thinking and problem solving 
  • Collaboration across networks and leading by influence 
  • Agility and adaptability 
  • Initiative and entrepreneurialism 
  • Effective oral and written communication 
  • Accessing and analyzing information 
  • Curiosity and imagination 

He then compared this list with the current skills and competencies that are developed in the current structure of delivering education. It's a fascinating read if you work in education or have kids who are in the system. More info on Tony’s book and his survival skills is available at

Tony is much better at explaining himself.  Check out the video below:

The Last Bastion: Changing Our Schools

The beautiful thing for those of us in IT leadership?... most of the development of these skills is enabled by effective application of technology - which is my craft.

Reforming education is like building a cathedral. It takes many people, many years.  The ones who start may not live to see it completed. But everyone is working to a goal deemed most worthy.

If you are a progressive IT leader, let me encourage you to consider the educational sector for your career.  In my opinion, it is the most exciting IT job in the world right now.

If you are a teacher working in this system that is systematically designed to thwart your efforts to get this generation ready for the world that we are throwing them into... Thank you.   

An army of thousands and I are working hard to make it better for you.


Note: A version of this post was previously published on my blog.

Images: Used under Creative Commons License

About the Author:

The Last Bastion: Changing Our SchoolsI’m the Chief Information Officer for Appleby College, in Oakville, Ontario Canada, where my team is transforming the delivery of education through innovative application of technology.

I'm convinced that IT leadership needs to dramatically change how IT is delivered rather than being relegated to a costly overhead department.

In addition to transforming IT in my role as CIO, I look for every opportunity to talk about this... writing, speaking and now blogging on BeBee ( , LinkedIn, ITWorld Canada, or at

I also shoot things... with my camera. Check out my photostream at 

Kevin Pashuk 15/11/2016 · #7

#6 Great Harvey! Keep me posted.

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Harvey Lloyd 15/11/2016 · #6

@Kevin Pashuk i found the whole video on youtube, I wanted to personally thank you for this post. The team is now reviewing the video for a meeting tomorrow with community leaders in how we can introduce our high school to innovative processes that help the city. I have downloaded the book also.

We will see how this goes.

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Kevin Pashuk 15/11/2016 · #5

#4 Thanks Harvey. I'll count you among the 'thousands' that are working to reform the system.

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Harvey Lloyd 15/11/2016 · #4

Not only relevant but a mandate, @Kevin Pashuk. Having followed a similar path of educational boredom in my youth we work with students with disabilities. 90 % of our time is spent on academic achievements while these students can't socially function in society in a productive way.

I have found that a little knowledge used effectively is better than lots of knowledge that isn't used. "Agility and adaptability" the ability to take knowledge and generalize it into your current situation, simple in saying, but lost on most.

My two daughters went through the system. There first four years out of school was adapting to real life. The Rodney Dangerfield, "Back to School" sort of life.

The juggernaut called education is a beast of many heads and talons. It is very much self-regenerating as folks try and adapt to the new world in which we live. In the one room school house era we had a purpose. Maybe its time we sat back and redefined the purpose. Clearly, knowledge is not the end game. Google and other resources have placed knowledge at our fingertips.

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Tausif Mundrawala 15/11/2016 · #3

#2 Absolutely. An interactive environment does the needful which could replace the archaic practice of concentrating only on brighter students and leaving aside the average ones.

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Kevin Pashuk 15/11/2016 · #2

#1 Thanks Tausif. It is one thing to say that we should have individualized learning and another to try and deliver it to a room of 30 students with only one teacher. That is the transformation that can be enabled by technology.

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Tausif Mundrawala 15/11/2016 · #1

I thinks one-size-fits-all attitude doesn't work in education as well. A parent should understand the nature of their child and what interests them. Some like to read whereas some learn from illustrations and videos, while some opt for educating their kids in any adventurous way in the form of quizzes and games. This subject is closest to my heart as anyone who is contributing towards someone's intellectual development is actually building an entire universe for that person. Kudos to you, Kevin, for bringing forth this subject.

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