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future of education

Danish Private Schools looking for inspiration to the curriculum of the future

Danish Private Schools arrived in Silicon Valley with the presumption that computer science, coding and design thinking will be essential pillars in the curriculums of the future. A week in Silicon Valley arranged by Innovation Centre Denmark reassured the 28 schools that the future they imagined was the present already.

Year after year, Denmark is mentioned among the world’s most digital countries because of our access to the internet, online habits and digitalized public sector. To stay in the lead, though, we must not rest on our laurels when it comes to understanding how digitalization works and affects our everyday lives. These efforts - as with all things - start with education. Silicon Valley is a good place to go when you want to know about the next innovative technologies and practices.

With this in mind, Innovation Center Denmark hosted principals from 28 Danish private primary, secondary and high schools in the third week of September.

The delegation came to Silicon Valley with a suspicion that computer science, coding and design thinking will be essential pillars in the curriculums of the future. In Silicon Valley they were soon to find out that the future is already a well-operating present. Naturally, in the world’s most famous innovation ecosystem, you find some of the most prestigious and well-funded institutions at all levels of education. They all prioritize computer science, coding and design thinking as essential parts of the education of the next generation.

danish private school principals in San Francisco
During the visit to Silicon Valley the Danish Private School got a tour of the Sacred Heart campus in San Francisco. Foto: Innovation Centre Denmark  

The week started with a visit to the Sacred Heart School in Menlo Park followed by a tour of the world-renowned design thinking school Nueva School. Stanford University was also on the itinerary as well as the successful EdTech startup ‘Wonder Workshop followed by the futuristic coding initiative 42 School. Lastly, the principals got to experience computer science lessons up close at the San Francisco Unified School District.

The take-aways were many and of great variety when the principals evaluated on the evening of the last day. The discussions went on about how computer science, coding and design thinking could be implemented in the curriculum and whether or not it should be an independent subject or a part of already existing curriculum.

“coding is a language we must teach in the same way we teach English, French and Spanish” as one principal concluded. Another rebuked, “Digitalization affects everything which means it must be a part of all classes.” Some pointed out that while computer science where definitely prevalent across the board in Silicon Valley, not many of the schools highlighted the importance of the broader concept of ‘digital citizenship’. They also agreed that training and finding teachers with proficiency in computer science is a challenge in order to implement it in the curriculum.

In any case, the trip to Silicon Valley gave the principals valuable insights to take home, and gave them some inspiration on how to start their own efforts to teach computer science, coding and design thinking in Denmark. Innovation Center Denmark Silicon Valley thanks them for the cooperation and for the opportunity to fulfill our mission of bridging Silicon Valley with Danish institutions to facilitate knowledge transfer for the benefit of Denmark.


private school principals in San Francisco
As part of the learning experience the group of Danish Private School has the opportunity to attend classes at San Francisco Unified School District. Foto: Innovation Centre Denmark 

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