Creating Education's Future (727 Words)

Education’s 21st century opportunity is to link local <=> community resources and social-learning sciences to digital systems to better educate character and skills to achieve healthier individuals, institutions, ecologies and economies.

As education falls short of its potential and as we grasp the frailty of reform movements to matter, the unimaginable gift of computer science wedded to relevant sciences waits in the wings.

The question for educators, politicians, and philanthropists is if we can envision knowledge technology’s humanitarian potential to counterbalance commercial, and more dangerous impulses, whether born of ignorance or opportunism.

When Gutenberg invented moveable type, the culture of publishing was radically changed for over 500 years. However, moveable type is like a pebble to Everest when we see how Digital Systems can change educational research, design, publishing, and assessment.

These Digital Systems are like a solar system with many suns. Below are six interconnected digitally driven changes we should herald:
• Creation & Curation of Curriculum
• Research (Data Gathering & Modeling)
• Continuous Improvement of Curriculum
• Dissemination of Curriculum
• Artificial Intelligence
• Learning Community Networks

Technology supports individual and collaborative curriculum creation by educators in-residence in schools. View classrooms as learning design labs.

Curate the trillions of dollars of brilliant cultural resources on the Internet into wells of well organized and carefully scaffolded curriculum.

Current technologies invite integrated design and instant global dissemination within and across disciplines.

Whether we’re looking at ancient galaxies through the Hubble or Webb Telescopes, weather models, gene or disease patterns, or theories of culture, personality, and learning, we can be living in an almost real time rapidly evolving knowledge “ecology” or “cloud”. This enables us to research and then design and deliver for unimagined learner and teacher diversity. Research designs can move past group-based statistical models to more meaningful mapping of individual development.

Centralized corporate design, printing, warehousing, and shipping were so expensive a few decades ago all publishing was top-down. Today every medium we imagine can be created and sent around the world instantaneously from any classroom or kitchen. Thus, the infrastructure and costs for dissemination have nearly disappeared.

Technology now lets us see how to continuously customize resources to meet people’s needs. As we understand the diverse instincts and inhibitors of growth, we will customize and integrate learning experiences.

AI will profoundly affect research as we link it to teacher and student e-Portfolios. AI will nourish ever more useful networks for learning. AI will help us understand human diversity and stages of development and how these relate to character development and academic achievement. It will move the cutting edges of pedagogy into deeper and more practical realms that influence our thinking about maturation and how best to facilitate people’s growth.

In our quest for order, we banished social interactions and collaborative work in classrooms. While espousing cooperation with slogans like none of us is as smart as all of us, we stifled the instincts that inspired students to effortlessly do the impossible, the pattern analysis and practice required to learn to speak.

As dating and other social applications have shown, not all relationships are equal. The ways in which we use technology to partner students with teachers, peers, mentors, younger students are keys to freeing learning to better fit with people’s passions to learn within rewarding relationships.

Big changes happen when what’s needed suddenly finds a bridge to what’s possible. The need is for people to realize their potential in all realms of becoming. The bridge is education supported by local  global communities in all the ways that social and learning sciences can wed with technology to build humanitiarian process that serve people’s development.

While the systems we create will involve interacting with computers, they will also facilitate meaningful learning with people at the right times in natural, face-to-face, cultural, and virtual environments.

We can be victims of the future or creators, and no where is this choice more apparent than how we wed education with computer science to facilitate learning communities.

Budgets for Hubble and Web telescopes are 26 billion dollars to better understand the universe. Shouldn’t we spend multiples of that to understand how to educate for our human potentials.

We will not see the future until we create it, and that future should evolve into ever deeper harmonies.
Big changes happen when what’s needed meets what’s suddenly possible… Whether we go kicking and screaming or enthusiastically take the dive in the knowledge age depends to a large degree on the foresight and insight of our schools. Are we going to work with nature and each other to create balanced humanitarian relationships and institutions or we are going to continue to teeter, or perhaps even fall, in dystopian rather than utopian circumstances?
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