What should we expect the future of education to look like? I think there are two totally different answers to that question.
Option 1: I HOPE education will look like this in the future:
We will personalize lessons and curriculum to serve a wide variety of interests.
We will serve each student as if they have an IEP, their goals and accommodations will be the right fit of courses will be developed for each student for maximum inclusion.
We will emphasize goals of problem solving and creativity through rich content experiences.
The curriculum will change from facts and topics to paradigms and complex systems for students to become familiar to apply to new situations.
We will take advantage of technology – not just an iPad in classrooms, but distance learning and cooperative learning activities involving multiple learners and teachers across the globe.
We will look at learning from the student perspective, not limited to activities within a class – offset schedules, night options, flexibility is key.
Textbooks will transform into books meant to support adapting and designing special lessons using resources from the internet, social media, and local leaders/actors.
Partnerships with local organizations as even private companies might develop as learning/training opportunities (field trips become field experiences).
Students won’t wait for seat time to move on – walls and geography won’t limit courses/options. If you are a 5th grade aged kid doing 8th grade math, you take the right math class for you – no excuses with technology help.
Kids might graduate early or take extra classes in alternative subjects – painting, welding, carpentry = not as “easy electives” but as life long learners and constructs that they can draw upon in novel situations.
With so much flexibility and online learning the role of the teacher and assessments will change – learners of different ages anywhere in the US would be “certified” in specific courses/skills. The teacher will be a facilitator emphasizing the nuances, challenging students, and coaching them to become better thinkers/problem solvers. Assessments will emphasize novelty, ability to adapt and be creative, and validate that course content and skills were acquired/instilled.
Students can watch lectures and browse videos from global presenters on interesting topics at any time/place then work with local “face to face” experts and educators to work on projects and experiences on a scheduled basis.
Students will carry with them a digital resume of what they have learned and their various strengths to college to further leverage their abilities and skill.
Option 2: I FEAR education will look like the present reality and we won’t change a bit.
All students are required to attend and learn a fixed core of topics.
Students coming from high schools will have a work ethic and some basic knowledge when entering the workplace – essentially being a generic mind for the university to shape (hopefully).
All students must learn and acquire content level knowledge and skills at a age based pace.
Getting an “A” in a class doesn’t mean the same thing from place to place.
There’s more, but it’s depressing (special education, advanced courses, standardized testing, calendar and daily schedules).
When we live in our current reality it gets difficult to DREAM of a different reality. We need to imagine what we can be and then bend/break some rules to become the future we dream. All of these ideas could be put in place today – but we need people to believe in them and have the sheet guts to try it out. In my opinion, charters or alternative schools have the best chance at being something totally different – why don’t we embrace a cutting edge system instead of fighting for status quo public schools?
YOU ARE INVITED TO DREAM WITH ME – add to this vision and feel free to find fault with it.