The Future of Education? Cool…and Scary.

Lately I’ve been obsessing over the future of education. That has included a lot of research and time spent analyzing trends in technology, especially those that will impact the education sector. There are some great publications and sites that have helped my research, but the ones focused on education are relatively few. It’s ironic that education promotes individuals and groups to create technological advances, but lags behind in adopting those new technologies. Thus far this is what I’ve found:

  1. The Future of Education is going to be cool for students, teachers, administrators, and parents.
  2. The Future of Education is going to be scary for students, teachers, administrators, and parents.

Not sure what I mean? The classic technology paradox here is easier to understand with a few analogies. Take for instance smart phones. Smart phones give many students access to information and the web. A large number of these students may not own a computer, and therefore the smart phones put information directly at their fingertips. This is great. However, smart phones can also connect these students to hundreds of other ways to avoid learning while in the classroom. Many teachers and schools are afraid to allow smart phones in class because of the negative possibilities. Smart phones define this paradox in education where technology can solve one issue, but create an entirely new issue.

One of the growing technological trends in education is what I call, “On Demand Education”. It’s the ability for students to learn at anytime, from anywhere. This, again, is great. Future students may be able to set their own “learning” schedule, to get work done when they want (think late-night Math). But if I remember correctly, I was a fairly successful procrastinator in high school. How many students will have the will-power and scheduling abilities to do this “On Demand” education successfully? Does it give another out and/or excuse for those students who have better things to do in their mind?

This video does a better job explaining the technological paradox than I ever could. Please watch to the end for full effect (and understanding). As I continue to look at the future of education, I do so excitedly…and cautiously.

Sight from Sight Systems on Vimeo.

Thanks to Russell Holly for posting this article and giving me inspiration:

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  • Dianne says:

    As we embark on our 1:1 initiative next year, I often think of what happens during class with the devices, and how the teachers must plan lessons, projects, units, etc so that the students are engaged in the learning and not whatever else they would rather be doing. There are many avenues to take with this.. allow more student choice, let the students direct their own learning, use problem/inquiry-based learning. Yes, there are solutions, but will learning “that” way still be a turn-off to students who would rather be watching videos, playing games, do what THEY want? How to motivate them so that what they want is to learn what the teacher is trying to coach/guide them in learning? Important questions as we embark on a future in education that we have no preparation for. And, VERY cool video… scary though, yes for sure. Reminds me of both Total Recall with the eye recognition and the book “Feed”. Cool… but scary!

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