Last night I ran across a fascinating article by Thomas Frey, “The Future of Education.”

I'm interested in hearing others thoughts on his predictions. Personally, I believe he's right on the mark. And if he is correct what does that mean for our profession?
A few of my thoughts can be found here on my blog.

Feel free to post either place. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Tags: Education, Future

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This article is strikingly similar to the book Disrupting Class by Clayton M. Christensen. I just picked up a copy from the library last week. The key phrase that I am beginning to hear in several places is "disruptive innovation." This is the phrase that Frey uses in his introduction and is the thesis of Christensen in Disrupting Class.

The key idea behind disruptive innovation is that it starts with a small band of non-conformers. The acceptance of the disruptive innovation (such as new digital technologies) occurs exponentially. Because only a small group embraces the innovation initially, growth starts slowly, but as it gains speed it rapidly becomes more and more accepted until it displaces the status quo and dominates the market. This is what is occurring in education today, specifically with the introduction of on-line learning.

I'll be interested in reading Frey's article more closely and comparing it to Christensen's book. Thanks for passing this along to the ed. community!
Thanks for the book suggestion :)
I will check that out ASAP.
I don't buy that the changes will happen within 5 years (I don't see them in 20 frankly given the slow plodding beast that is education) but I definitely agree with:

Transition from Consumers to Producers>>

Assuming copyright law allows it this will be the biggest change to society in general and definitely education. However, given current copyright limits this won't get far. I'm excited to see the current generation grow up and become the adults. They get fair use, today's adults don't.
I would argue that the change will be very rapid in some areas (such as home schooling, private and charter schools) and very slow in others (public schools). Public education will not adopt sweeping changes such as those predicted by Frey until they are forced to do so.
Sadly that is true.
You have a very good point that copyright laws could hinder this process. It'll be interesting to see what occurs.
Well said!
I thought the same thing as I read Frey's article. I believe that Disrupting Class is right on the mark. I can see the application of technology to a student-centric environment changing very rapidly in my own district. I do agree with the short time frame for changes. Look at how many states are either sponsoring virtual schools or are investigating the use of them. This is true for school districts as well. Once good virtual courses become available, why would I not want to take advantage of them if I'm a student? Why would I want to sit in a semester or year-long course when I could finish the course faster? And for kids who need more time to work, why fail when I could succeed?
Education as we know will not be viable under these changing conditions. Teachers most certainly are going to be necessary, but the role will be changing. We have to support teachers through this change, universities will have to provide different ways of earning certificates, and I know there may be some who will either struggle to adapt, or may not be able to adapt. When I think of what's coming, I like to think about Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are a-Changing" and hope I'm still able to help and that I can recognize when it's time for me to get out of the way. It will be exciting and scary all at the same time. Bring it on.
What if we didn't change the paradigm that students and teachers go to a building together everyday, but change the paradigm of one being a teacher (babysitter) and the other being the learner? What if BOTH were viewed as learners. The students are new learners and the teachers are PROFESSIONAL learners. The teachers are the ones fascinated by HOW people learn and they continue to learn from each other and from their extended network online.

The kids learn the basics pretty much the same as they do now. From grades K-2 is when kids LOVE learning. Why change that? However, when they are ready gradually what if they started learning based on their passions and what if the PROFESSIONAL adults in the building facilitated their learning making sure that they learned all that they need to along the way. The teachers could match up groups who were interested in similar things to do projects together. The students could also drive what they are learning. Networking with other professional learners and students around the worlds would enrich the whole thing.

Thanks for your thoughts Janice.
I know for me, that I actually learn more while teaching a subject then when I initially learned it. That is why I have projects from time to time where my kids put together a lesson that interests them and teaches to the class.
I'm looking forward to learning more and more about this because I do believe that the concepts are solid... common sense. Now perhaps is the moment in time when we'll see real change! I'm on it! I embrace it!
If these visions are accurate, and I think that they are, we should be seeing evidence that it is beginning to happen. I work at a University - little evidence here. I am familiar with MIT open course ware - and others such projects. These represent the shift - but they are still large scale efforts. Who has seen a learner center production system - such as that described by Christensen working? Anyone?

The only place that I recognize some of what Christensen is talking about is in open source software communities. Has anyone seen evidence in other areas / disciplines?



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