Education Roundup: The Future Of Education
The future of education is talked about at length every day in blog post after blog post, policy proposal after policy proposal. For the longest time, politicians have promised positive change but no one — Democrat or Republican — has been able to prescribe a path to success that we can all agree on. In this week’s education roundup, we take a look at some of the best posts that deal with this murky futurespace. Let’s get started!
The History of the Future of Education
If you’ve never checked out Hack Education, which is operated by Audrey Watters, bookmark that thing immediately. A recent series of posts to catch our attention from the site is, “The History of the Future of Education” essay series. This series details education technology through the ages, and one of the particularly solid items you’ll want to check out is “The Invented History of ‘The Factory Model of Education,'” which demonstrates that part of preparing for the future of education is to lay to rest some of the misconceptions we have about our past.
“One of the most common ways to criticize our current system of education is to suggest that it’s based on a “factory model.” An alternative condemnation: “industrial era.” The implication is the same: schools are woefully outmoded.
“As edX CEO Anant Agarwal puts it, ‘It is pathetic that the education system has not changed in hundreds of years.’ The Clayton Christensen Institute’s Michael Horn and Meg Evan argue something similar: ‘a factory model for schools no longer works.’ ‘How to Break Free of Our 19th-Century Factory-Model Education System,’ advises Joel Rose, the co-founder of the New Classrooms Innovation Partners. Education Next’s Joanne Jacobs points us ‘Beyond the Factory Model.’ ‘The single best idea for reforming K–12 education,’ writes Forbes contributor Steve Denning, ending the ‘factory model of management.’ ‘There’s Nothing Especially Educational About Factory-Style Management,’ according to the American Enterprise Institute’s Rick Hess.
“I’d like to add: there’s nothing especially historical about these diagnoses either.”
For more, check it out at this link.
What Is the ‘Future of Education’?
Quora is yet another great source for talk about the future of education as some of the best minds on the Internet to discuss the possible synthesis of current models and future technologies and disruptions. One strand brought to our attention that is well worth checking out is entitled, “What’s the future of education?” This thread has 49 well-thought-out answers. As an excerpt we’ll share the top and then invite you to get in on the discussion at this link.
From researcher Nathan Ketsdever:
“The following are based on my research in the area of education innovation and technology — here are the eleven most epic shifts in education over the coming decades:
- Teacher as curator vs. ‘sage on the stage’; this blows apart the ‘banking model of education’ in which info is dumped into the brains of students.
- Project based learning. Teams and collaboration. (KIPP I believe is big on this)
- Experiential learning. This is backed up by education theorists since John Dewey (one of the founders of American pragmatism). Kolb at Ohio is one of the main proponents, but certainly the TED talk on Tinkering backs this up.)
- Real world mentors. Skype creates the ability to bring experts into the classroom virtually and record them for later use.
- Kids teaching kids.
- De-centered due to internet and social media
- Time-shifting due to internet and social media
- Crowd sourced (and collaborative/networked) due to internet and social media
- More data driven
- Mobile as a platform for learning (and shared content or data set creation)
- Gamification of learning”
Robots Will Steal Your Job, But That’s OK
Federico Pistono, author of Robots Will Steal Your Job, But That’s OK, has done incredible research into the future of education, and his reddit AMA is still must-read stuff for anyone interested in the topic. One particular highlight includes when someone asked Federico what the biggest problems facing education today are, and what could be done about them. His thoughts are insightful.
“Off the top of my head:
- People are segregated in age groups. This makes no sense. Have everyone attend classes based on their level at any given time.
- Teachers stand up and talk, student sit down and listen. This makes no sense either, we know that we are more receptive and creative when we move, interact, and speak.
- Individual assessments. In the real world, you almost never do everything by yourself. We should be able to decide when to work alone and when to work with others on any given task/project.
- All the class moves at the same pace. This makes no sense. You ensure that the smartest are bored, and the less bright or less engaged are left behind. In one word, you ensure mediocrity. Have everyone move at their own pace.
- Most tasks are written, usually with pen and paper. Horrible idea. Have people create things, make stuff, whenever it can apply. Simulate it, if it’s too expensive.
- Standardized tests. I don’t think I even have to explain myself with this one.
- Teachers are underpaid, unmotivated, many times either under-qualified or overqualified. In the Scandinavian countries, being a teacher is considered the highest honor, and teachers are well respected, well paid, and well selected. As a result, they are some of the best teachers in the world, and the results are there to show for it.”
You can read more of Federico’s thoughts on education at this link.
The future of education is as uncertain as it’s ever been, but with great minds thinking forward and an understanding of where we’ve come from and how it’s worked for us — and hasn’t — it’s still a pretty hopeful “place” to be. What do you think schools will be like in the next 10 or 20 years? Sound off in the comments section!