Have you ever considered what education and the world will be like in the future, say in the year 2020? It can be very daunting to think about what could and will change in the world as technology continues to influence and dramatically change how people live. Because of medical technologies, people are living longer lives than hundreds of years ago. This is also a reason that the Earth is home to more and more people. How do these people interact now and how will that change over the course of time? How will education have to change to keep up with the change in peoples’ lives? It is a lot to think about but I have some ideas of what we may see.
Within the world, human population is expanding. First-world countries are helping third-world countries and providing better medical technology, better healthcare, and better living, which is changing the lives of people all over the world. One important aspect of this is education that people in other countries are receiving. While these third-world countries are not as advanced currently as first-world countries, I think it is only a matter of time before the world does not have what we consider third-world countries. There may be various levels and types of industrialized countries right now and I think non-industrialized countries will cease to exist.
The Read/Write Web and Web 2.0 tools have drastically changed education from how my parents experienced school to how I teach my students right now. There is no comparison to the technology that teachers and schools are utilizing right now compared to the technology available 50 years ago. And, I can just imagine my own future grandchildren thinking the same thing of my era of schooling. There are many ways I think school will change in the future. One of the major ways will be the timeline and time frame of school. Gone will be the traditional bell schedule and yearly schedule with students of the same age always moving through school in the same grades. Students will move at their own pace throughout all of school and will learn at their own rhythm. Teachers will behave more as facilitators, providing lessons, resources, and information and aiding students as they learn the information themselves and with students learning the same information. For example: I could be the facilitator for a student taking high school-level Biology who happens to only be 12 years old because he or she is intelligent enough to be learning that information at that age, after having progressed through the other levels of school. Simultaneously, another student in the same group could be 18 years old, having taken longer to master the content and information throughout their journey of school. Teachers will no longer just pass on students because that’s what you do at the end of the year, regardless of whether the student has mastered all of the content and is actually ready for the next set of advanced lessons.
Students will contributors and authors of their own learning, instead of passive onlookers. All students will have a personal laptop and will be regular contributors of information to the Internet, through their own blogs, wikis, or other Web 2.0 tools. Students will be in charge of their learning, choosing how to meet the content standards and demonstrate to the teacher they have mastered learning the information. Education will not just take place in a building with rooms made of four walls. Education will take place in the real world, exploring nature, business, and other realms of the world. Students will learn through volunteering, service projects, internships, and other means that are not always at the forefront of education today. The collaboration for students will not be limited to the same students in their school. Students will collaborate with and learn from other students all across the world, through the use of the Internet and Web 2.0 tools. The Internet will become more of a social networking grounds for education instead of entertainment. Students will be publishers of their own ideas and projects on the Internet, which will be available for their peers to see and have discussions. Teachers will monitor all of this with their students and will help direct, ask probing questions, and keep students on track with their education. Because of all this, students will be more well-rounded and ready for a career upon graduation and leaving the educational system. This will also hold students interest more in education and there will be a significant decrease in student drop-out rates, to where it’s almost non-existent.
College and universities will no longer be concerned with GPA and class rank of incoming students. The class rank in high school has gone the same way as the traditional schedule and is non-existent. A college education will be much more readily available through offering classes and lessons in the online environment. This will make college more affordable and not cost an arm and a leg to educate people. Colleges and universities will be more concerned with what students know and how they can help students learn about their passion, in order to live out their passion as a career for the world. This mindset will influence the world so that adults are not only working to have a career and make money, but they are working because their career is their passion and they are making a positive influence on their city, country, and world. Teachers need to help students find their passion and find a career that the student won’t feel like is work to them because it is their passion. How many people do you know like that now? I’m guessing not enough.
I believe all of these changes will start with a change in education. Teaching and learning has come a long way from one-room schoolhouses in the days of pioneers but I think there is still a long way to go. There are so many improvements that can be made to education with the use of the Read/Write Web and Web 2.0 tools. Students need to be exposed to these tools and taught how to use them and teachers need to be empowered to use Web 2.0 tools. I truly believe that education can change for the world for the better and everyone in the world can have an improved lifestyle, beginning with a change in education. I am excited to be a part of the change and to see what will happen in the next several years and decades with education. Hopefully, we as teachers are excited about the changes that are and will happen in our field.