Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Learning Journey 2020

I'm imagining what college might look like for my 12-year old son in 8 years. College for my 21-year old already looks quite different than my experience many years ago.

This is what I imagine.

Place: Students will select home bases--places that they want to explore and live in as they learn.

Classmates: It's likely that students will place themselves with a group of similarly interested, curious students in places online and off.

Study: Using the Internet and other tech venues, students will pick and choose courses from all over the world. They will reach out to experts and mentors who have the knowledge they seek.

Travel: Travel will play a big role in their learning as students will want to place themselves in the midst of these experts or learning situations often throughout their learning experience.

Flexibility: Place, classmates, courses and travel will change over the course of their educational journey as they select from a menu of options.  Work and internships will help to pay the bills throughout the journey.

New Technology: We will continue to create and utilize technologies we can't even imagine today, but we can guess that those technologies will bring us closer together in terms of communication and knowledge.  We can also guess that those technologies will decrease the time of travel and creation.  We can hope that those technologies will protect the environment, promote peace and develop human potential towards "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

How does this vision affect the way I teach my students?

Learning to Learn: This vision reminds me that teaching children how to learn is the primary mission of schools. Students need to know how to access and navigate information in optimal ways to fulfill their curiosity and potential.

Solid Foundation of Information/Skills: The vision also tells me that our students need to have a solid foundation of basic information and learning skills so that they can make the sophisticated decisions they will need to make. These skills will have to be taught in efficient, engaging ways.

Tech Savvy, Experience and Knowledge: Students will need to be facile with the tools available, and flexible too so that when new tools are invented they are able to access and navigate those tools with ease.

Global Awareness, Experience: There is no doubt that our children will be working in a global society, hence students need to know how to live, learn, work and get along with others from all over the globe.

The education landscape is changing faster than I ever imagined.  The potential for greater learning is tremendous.

Do you agree with this vision?  What would you change?  How will you begin to change your teaching repertoire, classroom and school to meet this potential?