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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

A Strange Idea for a Presentation

A Strange Idea for a Presentation

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I've been asked to speak to a group concerning "the future of education." On a couple of other groups, I've asked for people to contribute their thoughts on the topic. This group, however, made me wonder if there might be a way to collectively build a presentation on the topic that everyone could then utilize as they wish. How cool would it be to have myriad minds and voices articulating a vision for the future of education and, in doing so, creating a shared product? Sounds downright futuristic. If anyone's interested, please post thoughts. I'm game for any ideas.

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Whitney Hoffman's picture
Whitney Hoffman
Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

I think education will be more interactive.

Beyond just project based learning.

My 7th grader is attending "virtual office hours/Study groups" on skype, led by his teacher. She calls in students who opt in, and thy discuss the class notes, review material, and prepare for upcoming tests. The teacher has already shown that students are not only enthusiastic about this approach, but they are doing much better on the actual tests themselves. The only downside is that the kids are now bugging other teachers to do the same, so the one faculty member is trying to figure out how to set up peer mediated study groups online- I think this will become an every day norm in the near future.

Learning and data collection will take place inside and outside the classroom, allowing students to apply classroom learning more directly to every day life. As a result of this increased sense of purpose, students will be more enthusiastic about school and exploring topics of their interest in more depth.

Students will be able to attend classes virtually when sick or on trips with their families, making sure they don't miss much class time, and avoiding the problems with getting "caught up" afterwards. The ability to stream classes over the internet will also allow students to review classroom and lecture material they may have missed in their notes, or simply as additional review. Class room time will become less about lectures and more about interactive learning and mentoring. It will not be less important, but more important as a way to connect, share ideas and extend learning.

One on one laptops will not be an issue- almost every student will have a tablet that allows them to use it as a text book, a writing tool, a creativity tool, and as a way to connect to classes and other students, whether they are in the building or elsewhere on the planet. (For example, the 7th grader used the new iPad 2 last night for a skype session, and was walking around the house with it, and ended up doing most of his session outside at the patio table.)

These are a few of the ideas i see coming on the immediate horizon.

What do you think?

Rachel Pickett's picture
Rachel Pickett
10th grade Social Studies

I'd love to help build this with you... any ways you need help?

I think that an intelligent move in the field is to develop intrinsically motivated classrooms, and 'permeable classrooms.'

Since the world seems to be changing so quickly (economically, socially, environmentally, politically...) classrooms can become spaces where students begin considering, solving, and testing solutions to the problems we face. I think students could collaborate with adults, on authentic projects -- adults who actually work in the fields students are studying. This is what I mean by permeability.

Movement towards developing intrinsically motivated environments (ones shaped by developing Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose) will be important for developing self-directed, motivated, purposeful students who craft high-quality work. (this idea I get from Dan Pink, who wrote a great book about intrinsic motivation, called "Drive").

Laurie Vent's picture

I think that is a great idea - people from all over working together to build a presentation on the future of education that would also be a model of the future of education.
I would suggest the use of Prezi - it is an awesome way to create presentations AND you can give people editing rights so multiple people can work on the same Prezi.
I agree with Whitney and Rachel - the future is more interactive, self-directed, anytime & anywhere and collaborative.

Cynthia DeMone - 16414's picture
Cynthia DeMone - 16414
10th grade biology teacher

I like your ideas of permeability. Practically, how does a typical classroom get set up with this concept in mind? How do you describe a typical day in such an environment? How does this work out logistically? What role does the teacher take and the adult "expert" in working this out. I am in the midst of working out a collaboration along those lines and I am working out the details of how it should go.
I know my fellow teacher also has worked with professors at her alma mater to guide our students in the right direction for their science research and projects for submission to science fairs. We have to work within the infrastructure now, of the traditional classroom. How do we flux this into an environment where students take ownership of their learning? I love the ideas, I just want to get a handle on how these things will be fleshed out in the day to day experiences of the students and teachers.

Rita Oates, PhD's picture
Rita Oates, PhD
Global PBL, student engagement in STEM, language practice

Here's a brief video of how the International Baccalaureate Organization is setting up a technology platform to perform many of the things suggested above: http://bit.ly/IBvideo
They wanted to have a way for students to collaborate across time zones, countries, etc. who are all in the IB program. Teachers can post videos for students to watch and write about. Students can share work with classmates or learning partners on the other side of the globe. Teachers can be the guide on the side. IB has also set up a way to have adult mentors (IB graduates) safely help through the technology. (This technology is provided to all IB programs at no cost, through their IB service fees.)
If you want to try something like this with your school, the platform underlying the IB is called ePals LearningSpace. Think of Facebook on steroids but designed for an educational setting....so that students can be registered into specific classes through the student information service, not one by one. http://learningspace.epals.com
There are some videos there from some classroom teachers talking about how classwork and homework change when this type of digital transformation is provided from the district to all teachers.

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