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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Inspired by 21 Things That Will Become Obsolete in 20 years

I've been inspired by this posting 21 Things That Will Become Obsolete in Schools in 2020 and here's my list:

1. Fixed spaces for learning - eventually there will be much more movement than we see now, think of Google or similar environments. There are "offices" but there are also spaces to meet, there are big spaces and a few smaller spaces and areas for collaboration and areas for gathering. Or think School of One with one big space segmented into functional areas.

2. I second the idea that IT departments as we know them will be different - instead I think (and said in my book as well) that we'll be outsourced for connectivity with 3rd party co-location areas which house applications that aren't in the cloud (and likely most will be) with the high end network manager no longer needed. Schools will pay per computing device which will include applications and Internet access.

3. Specialized teachers with just one role. We're already seeing this for budgetary reasons but I think eventually the teacher who only teaches 4 sections of Latin will find himself/herself needed to have more content/subject expertise. Teachers will lead the way in retooling and reeducating themselves according to what needs to be taught and how - and colleges/universities will help.

4. Libraries as we know them. These are already changing and I think will continue to change into spaces with varied functions - perhaps very large spaces where lots of things are happening and where books, Kindles, iPods or whatever digital assistants are called in 2020 are available - they may even be where online learning takes place. Think of the Online School for Girls where physical brick-and-mortar classes are supplemented by online classes. When the online learning happens during the school day - where does it happen? How about in the Library which has morphed into a School of One/large Google space with collaboration and other possibilities going on.

5. Being uninformed. Everyone will get the feeds they need to be informed as learners and as community members. However, somehow the filtering and the digesting and the organizing has got to be better than it is right now.

6. Teachers not being available to students. This is controversial I know. But somehow if education is moving away from a traditional school day there has to be a way for teachers to be more available. Whatever the equivalent of texting, Skype, etc. will allow teachers and students to communicate more frequently with teachers able to indicate when they are on the grid and when they are away.

7. Lack of choice by students. Students will have more choice about what they learn, how they learn, and how they will demonstrate what they've learned. I talked to a student in Iowa who said one of her favorite history classes allowed her to take a project and just learn about it the way she wanted and then demonstrate it using the tools and vehicles she wanted.

8. Big old heavy textbooks. Yes, they will be a thing of the past and my daughter (age 18) and her generation will say, "in my day we carried these huge backpacks that weighed nearly half what we did and our spines just about got permanently curved."

9. The Digital Divide. This cannot continue, education must be universal, so therefore must be access to everything including technology.

10. Traditional college applications. They'll be video based, face-to-face, portfolio-informed, with teachers giving their "recommendations" as videos - or - in video response to video questions posed by colleges.

11. Bandwidth Issues. Obviously, this must go away, and high speed access must be the norm in every community whether wealthy or poor, urban or rural.

I can hardly wait!

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