Writing about future trends in any industry, at least from the blogging perspective, is fun because there is no accountability and it is fair to be blissfully optimistic. With that disposition I write now, inspired by the recently released 2012 Horizon Report K12 edition, a projection of possible future trends in education technology authored by Larry Johnson, Samantha Adams, and Michele Cummins of the New Media Consortium.
The NMC Horizon Report > 2012 K-12 Edition is available for free download here.
Last year I wrote about the 2011 edition of the report. To make it more fun I fictionalized a day in the life of Elroy, a high school student in the year 2016. My post drew the attention of the authors of the report and this year I helped advise them. As one of several globally sourced advisory board members, I participated in a wiki discussion that took place over several weeks this winter. I learned about technology applications I had not yet even heard of, and as one of the only traditional school teachers on the panel, I probably brought too much skepticism to the proceedings. Casting my skepticism aside, let’s take a look at what a day in the life of Elroy might look like in 2017.
Meet Elroy, a 15 year-old junior at Sequoia High School in Redwood City. The year is 2017. Elroy has been in public school since his first day of kindergarten. Beginning in ninth grade, Elroy’s parents elected to enroll him in the Open School Project (O.S.P.) at Sequoia, a program initiated that same year to accommodate the growing demand for personalized learning environments utilizing the wealth of educational resources available with the latest technology.
Thought-provoking as always! I am really excited about so many aspects of this ‘future’ of education!
My one concern, and it’s with my usual skeptical positivism that I wonder this, is as someone who remembers how much more free time we were all supposed to have once this whole ‘computer thing’ took off, and who has seen exactly the opposite happen, with more (time on/at) work required of each of us, (instead of the same or less), what encouraging signs have you seen that this won’t also be the case with education? That the 30% less time taken to be educated to today’s standards won’t mean an actual increase by 30% (or more) of what Elroy will be expected to know then… (Clear as mud? Let me know I can try to clarify.)
interesting point you raise Lisa!
I would love to thoroughly respond to this, and perhaps we can do lunch sometime to do the conversation justice, but in a short comment response I will speak of my own recent experience.
In my 3 week spring pilot where every student had their own laptop I was liberated from the presentation role and able to focus all of my in-class effort on interacting with individuals, small groups, and whole class hybrid (virtual and f2f) discussions. To achieve this I threw together a poorly researched playlist of web resources and cloud-based formative assessments. I have since (over this summer) found many higher quality resources I intend to use in my future lessons. Nonetheless, students achieved at my usual benchmark (75% class average) for success on the summative exam which included both multiple choice, written response, and problem solving. I consider this a huge success because in that unit they tripled the average number of word problems solved in prior units, quadrupled the number of labs carried out, and students who normally would be bored with a slower pace were able to finish early and pursue projects of their own design.
I really see the explosion of edtech tools as an opportunity for liberation. Students will be able to use the machine to learn basic skills much faster and with very little adult assistance. Teachers will be able to focus on more meaningful work that pushes students to think critically. The other end of this is what becomes of the high needs learners? THere have been many successes in mathematics with adaptive software that identifies and targets where students fell off the math boat. Language arts is another story. As you know, I think there is promise in finding ways to get kids to write more without increasing the work of the teacher. Hey, let’s work on solving that problem together!
Oh if this could come true! Do you think it is actually possible for education to snap itself together this effectively and quickly? I loved every moment of what you wrote and my only concern would be the length of time to actually implement something so rich with prospects at a better education.