What does the future of education look like?

What does the future of education look like?

Problems of all shapes and sizes often boil down to a problem in education. Equally, inspiring success stories often come back to a great education or teacher. Education has the power to propel or disrupt a society and individual but it feels like it is all about to change. 

I worry about the future of education because I loved my own old fashioned one. I am intensely nostalgic for inkwells and blackboards. The smell of chalk and polished wooden floors evoke powerful and mostly happy memories. This wasn't that long ago. I finished school in 2007 so it shows how quickly schools evolve as they try to keep up with new trends, psychologies of learning and new budgets.  

Yet, having heard from educators across the world, a few common themes emerge and they are surprisingly optimistic. 

WORK demands will drive the change. As the workforce adapts to the modern world and certain professions become redundant, the pressure on schools to produce the right skills sets will increase. As organisations are struggling to compete with those that dominate particular markets, one of the only ways for them to succeed will be to innovate. This requires creative thinking, adaptability and a heightened awareness to social and commercial trends. 

TECHNOLOGY will come up with a solution that provides a path of least resistance. I believe a technology platform or product will revolutionise the classroom and way of learning. Platforms such as Evernote, Google and Siri will be standard and will change what teachers value and test for. Due to immediate access to information, the emphasis won't be on retaining facts and regurgitating, it will be much more project based. Hopefully this will lead to students being assessed on critical thinking and problem-solving skills. 

The CLASSROOM might change a lot or, in some cases, disappear altogether. If most of the learning content is online and teachers can be reached anywhere, then all a school needs to do is provide a safe space for students to work and play. This prediction concerns me the most. Surely school is as much about developing socially as it is about the subjects taught? I learnt how to write nicely by mimicking a classmate and I wanted to learn to read only so I could join in discussions on a book series. I can see positives for this for students who live very remotely, have a disability preventing them from travelling or where customs prevent certain students mixing with others together. This could open education up to swathes of people it is currently denied to or where it exists in a poor format.

Another positive for using technology in a less structured classroom is that students will be able to progress at different paces. Most schools stream by ability these days and technology and individual learning will enable this to develop further. For those struggling, there should be more support as teachers will, quite simply, have less to do. 

TEACHERS are more likely to become facilitators or educational psychologists. Assessing classes to determine individual learning styles using psychometric testing (most likely) and then facilitating a particular programme of study. It is unlikely they will retain their position of standing in front of a group of students and teaching them together and in the same way.

My hope is that children will be taught to believe they each possess potential in different ways. We should be moving away from standardised testing and competition and instead into forming teams and projects based on individual strengths. After all, that is what the working world demands. 

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