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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

The Future of Education

The Future of Education

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I've been asked to speak to a group concerning "the future of education." Given that I think future ed will be characterized by the use of technology and collaboration, it seems right to ask for thoughts in this forum. So, thoughts on "the future of education?" What it might be? What it should be? I should note in advance that any ideas utilized in my presentation will be attributed to their source.

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Bill Kuhl's picture

Thomas I think you are correct, technology sure isn't going away, hopefully solutions will be found for some of the negative aspects. There is some really good content on the Internet but schools must block much of it because of the negative issues.

Collaboration seems like a wonderful idea, but politics seems to get in the way. If things do not improve I am afraid education will become taken over more by private business and home schooling will continue to become more popular.

I try to remain optimistic, issues in education are now getting the attention of the leaders in business. Hopefully some new more effective educational models can be created and replicated across the nation.

There are many wonderful teachers that are working under some near impossible situations. I hope they do not give up before a turn around occurs.

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

I think we're going to stop looking at computers and mobile devices as "technology" and instead, start treating them more like the pens and pencils they are- tools to help us create, tools to help us manage information, tools that allow us to communicate with each other. That's the long ball.

Teachers and mentors are always going to be critical. Students need a human touch, and need not to be treated as info widgets flowing down a growing-up conveyor belt; nor do they need to be treated like geese; stuffed full of knowledge until they want to puke, in hopes they will come up with something tasty (not child foie gras I hope!) on the other side.

I hope teachers stop looking at tech as toys or distractions, and instead look at it as tools to serve instruction and communication. Every time I read another article decrying the use of computers in schools, I think- do you really think they are going away?

I think things like the iPad and Jeff Han's multi-touch blackboard/screen will make learning even more interactive. I think being able to "touch" and manipulate information will be part of the new generation of ?manipulatives" so to speak.

But that's my dream, anyway.

Pat McKay's picture

Yes, I am retired after 35 years in education, but I feel I have enough knowledge to comment. Where is our model? I believe it is Finland. We must do some of what they are doing. The following must be done: extend the school day, extend the school year, eliminate many of the half days and days for vacations and planning days for teachers. Technology of all kinds will be included, that is a given. The students can show the adults how to be most effective. Also advertising the importance of education above much else with effective communication such as the non-smoking ads. Society must be made to realize that without effective education at all levels, we as a country will continue to be on a downward swing in all societal levels.

Pat McKay
Retired elementary principal
Davis County Schools, Utah

Jane Jackson's picture

An appropriate relation between technology and collaboration is expressed in this delightful blog by a high school physics teacher. It won the 2010 Edublog Award this month. A few quotes are below.
The $2 Interactive Whiteboard
Posted on August 6, 2010 by Frank Noschese

Yes, you read that correctly. The TWO DOLLAR interactive whiteboard.
Before you jump to the conclusion that I am some technology-hating Luddite, I want you to know that I love technology. I train other teachers how to use technology effectively. In my physics lessons, I use technology with my students, but only when the pedagogy demands the technology. ... I have a SMART Board in my classroom. I'm a SMART Exemplary Educator...

The word "interactive" for the $2,000 electronic interactive white board (eIWB) means interaction with a piece of hardware to manipulate virtual objects on a screen. And most eIWBs only interact with one person at a time. ...
The word "interactive" for the $2 IWB means interaction among students. Students are working together to collectively construct knowledge, explain their reasoning processes, and get feedback from the teacher and each other. Students are interacting with each other in small groups when preparing the whiteboards. Then they interact with the whole class when they present and field questions from the class and the teacher. At all times, the teacher can see and hear student thinking and challenge them with questions. This process is called "whiteboarding."
Districts spend tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars on electronic interactive whiteboards, plus thousands more for professional development to show teachers to use them in order to write, move, reveal, and resize virtual objects. How about taking all that money and spending it on professional development for learning how to engage students in Socratic dialogue, effective questioning, reformed science teaching methods like Modeling Instruction, and other inquiry learning methods? ...
Please, instead of thinking about how to get your students to interact with a $2,000 electronic whiteboard, think about how you can get your students to interact with each other using a $2 whiteboard.

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