Industry 4.0, AI and the Future of K-12 Technical Education

Mike Beighley, Superintedent of Whitehall School District

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This week we interviewed one of education's greatest disruptors, Mike Beighley, Superintendent of Whitehall School District. Known nationwide for its groundbreaking approach to teaching Industry 4.0 with the Mobile Skills Lab, Whitehall has been at the forefront of educational innovation for years.

In this episode, we trace the district's journey in implementing cutting-edge technology programs, from listening to and learning from Ashley Furniture's Industry 4.0 efforts, to launching the Mobile Skills Lab, to the new and eagerly anticipated Emerging Technology Lab. Discover how Whitehall's educators are dedicated to providing personalized learning experiences that ignite students' curiosity and prepare them for a tech-driven future.

Listen in as we highlight the crucial role of passionate and inquisitive educators in driving change, and explore how education must evolve to meet the demands of our rapidly changing world. Learn about the integration of artificial intelligence in classrooms, the groundbreaking work of an AI task force, and the creation of new educational models designed to offer real-world relevance and context to students' learning experiences.

In this episode, you'll learn:

  • Why the old model - with seat time restrictions, Carnegie units, and fitting kids into a mold - doesn't serve our students anymore
  • How to find & foster the right teachers to lead Industry 4.0 and AI efforts
  • How to build partnerships with employers that go beyond financial support
  • How to not let scheduling get in the way of individualized learning
  • What the role of drones, self-driving cars, AMRs, industrial robotics, augmented reality, and Industry 4.0 technologies are in a K-12 district

Quotable Moments:

"Schools absolutely have to change, we have to change quickly...our current system was built for a different time, and we got results. But those results don't match anymore what the world requires."

"For so long in education we have been restricted by what we think is possible, instead of just finding a way to do it... But the bottom line is, we have to commit to a vision, and then you have to share it."

"It's our job to show the kids the world and provide them to go anywhere in it that they want to go and then give them an awful good reason to stay."

3 Big Takeaways from this episode:

  1. The old K-12 model doesn't fit this technology-driven, ever-evolving world of today: K-12 leaders must seriously consider if the current system of teaching students is best serving our kids and communities, then make the visionary and courageous decision to implement change.
  2. Empower passionate teachers to lead innovative programs: The right teachers to lead Industry 4.0 and AI programs might come from unexpected places - like an elementary math teacher or a computer scientist-turned-educator. Hear how Mike has found instructors who are passionate about leading innovation and entrusted them with the platform and programs to create this next iteration of technical education at Whitehall.
  3. Collaboration - not competition - will foster innovation in K-12 education: The old model of education pits districts against each other. The new model requires collaboration between districts, educational service organizations, employers and communities. No single entity can keep up with the pace of change, so keeping our tech ed programs updated will require open dialogue, resource sharing and collective problem-solving.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Connect with Whitehall School District:

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