Time to reflect – The future of education

Like the rest of you, I’ve covered quite a diverse range of topics over the course of this semester. In this final blog I’d like to reflect on how my views on the future of education have changed over the last 10 weeks.

At the start of this module, I became very disillusioned with the state of the education system after watching a number of talks on the subject.

Although an abundance of excellent teaching and learning resources exist online, they are not being utilised in mainstream education, and I can see that because of the standardized nature of our curriculum, there is little hope of these innovations being used in schools.

However, over the course of this module I have become convinced that the future of education does not lie in traditional classrooms, ranked by age, (and later on, ability) but in multi age, flexible-learning environments.

School models such as the Sunmore Valley School or Montessori schools where children follow their passions and cultivate their own interests, becoming self motivated industrious learners are highly effective, and have a proven track record of producing some of the greatest innovators of our time. Self organized pupil centered learning works.

Undoubtedly, there is a need to maintain a standard of skills in key areas such as maths, reading, and writing. In the future, this will be fulfilled through interactive iPad and tablet applications that utilize the principles of direct instruction (DI), and combine them with practice based progress. This could work in a similar way to the Khan Academy, where students work their way through a knowledge map, and progress and performance is tracked and monitored graphically and statistically. This will also enable students to focus on weak areas, or progress faster through areas they master quickly.

Having DI available on tablet devices such as iPads will give us the best of both worlds. Children in learner-centered environments will be able to follow their passions and cultivate deep learning without intrusions from set timetables, and in their own time they will be able to study the core subjects to the minimum of nationally agreed standard through direct instruction on their mobile devices.

Such apps already exist in some form, but a day will come when the Khan Academy finally releases the software which ties all its resources together into an adaptive package which can be used by all children (a cornerstone of Khan academy founder XYZ’s vision). The result will be that the quality of education which a child can access through this software will be superior to one provided by state funded education.

This will signal the death knell for traditional schools. When it is proven empirically that this model provides children with a vastly superior education to traditional schools, parents will simply stop sending their children there. Schools will HAVE to change, for no reason other than there is no economic sense in paying an army of teachers to provide direct instruction when an app can do it just as well, if not better.

After debating, discussing and presenting for an entire semester, this is the direction I see education moving towards, and I’m all in favour of it.

However, I would love to hear your thoughts. Do you agree with me? If not, where do you think the future of education lies?

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1 comment
  1. elburns said:

    I do agree with you Dec, that the teaching tools are available but are unable to be implemented to the rigidity of the curriculum. I believe like you that learning should be guided, but skills should be taught. All this sounds great but will be difficult to implement, due to higher education teaching. My point being that if training teachers are taught with a rigid curriculum, where they are not freely allowed to discuss educational policies and discover effective teaching techniques, then how can we expect them to introduce this to schools.
    I believe that if this module was introduced to teaching courses, it would help spark their enthusiasm, like with us to make a change. Maybe this is where the change needs to come in, to start and the top (university) and work our way down to the bottom? I could be wrong, but if we encourage the future teachers down the ‘teaching as a science’ rather than ‘teaching as an art’, then more teachers would be excited, to implement their version of the curriculum. As I believe many of us are!

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