School Day of the Future: Learning in 2025

| January 12, 2011 | 5 Comments
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Adil Tahawai: future learner

What will a typical school day in the year 2020 (or beyond) look like? How and where will kids learn? What will be the role of the teacher, the parent, the education community?

Over the coming weeks, I’ll post responses from respected authorities on the field byway of articles, video interviews, and innovative projects.

We’ll launch the series with a collaborative project by Knowledgeworks and Collective Invention for Grantmakers for Education that shows what learning will look like in the year 2025. The group created scenarios of the future from the perspective of learners and educators in order to help grantmakers understand what kind of innovations would make the biggest impact on learners.

From Learning 2025: Forging Pathways to the Future.

The heart of formal learning is the relationship between a learner and a mentor, teacher or technical master. That relationship is supported by family and community. Traditionally we’ve built schools at the center of our communities to enable such relationships for larger numbers of children. In today’s world, the mentor-learner relationship is now managed by various entities, from school districts to charter school networks to home-school networks to—increasingly–online communities.

And in the future, we can expect that technology’s role will increase as new distance learning models enable innovation at the very heart of the teaching and learning relationship. In a 24/7, Internet-enabled world of learning, the nature of that relationship will undoubtedly evolve. What happens when kids are engaged in geographically-distributed learning cohorts with other students who happen to share their interests, learning styles and/or challenges?

The Ideal Scenario: Learners Create Rich Opportunities

  • Amid a culture of flexible innovation, learners shape their own learning experiences, drawing upon a rich learning geography to identify resources that meet their needs.
  • Personalization of learning experiences are the norm, so the K-12 system of 2010 no longer dominates learning. Those schools and districts that remain have become part of a complex and vibrant set of options that together form a loose learning ecosystem. Learning is available 24/7 and year round across many learning platforms and beyond geographic limits.
  • Smart networks of resource providers form lightweight, modular learning grids to offer  flexible learning experiences as demand dictates. Gone are the days when the adults involved in learning primarily served as teachers, administrators, and tutors. Now a whole host of learning agents support learning, with some specializing in particular content and others focusing on pedagogy or assessment design. Networked collaboration is the norm.

To get a sense of the experiences of a wide range of learners from the future — a 15-year-old Muslim immigrant being home-schooled in Minnesota by her mother, a 17-year-old “climate refugee” encamped in Richmond, Calif. with tribal elders, a 17-year-old African American in New Orleans, go to “Meet the Learners.”

And below, meet a future “learning agent” (known in 2010 as educator). He’s addressing two of the learners described above and guiding them on joint projects. (You’ll also see two other videos, all of them portrayed by Jamais Cascio.)

So all this said, what’s needed to get us there?

  • Resources geared toward the learner
  • Risk-taking and prototyping
  • Social and peer-based learning
  • New forms of governance
  • Personalized learning and community
  • Public will for change

Read more about the Learning 2025 project.

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  • Hutton Peter J

    i love the concept, but is it scaleable? It would be amazingly resource intensive. Not that i am against it. But the personal element makes it far less prcatical than an IT based solution.

  • Anonymous

    Great question Hutton. What makes you think that personal solutions can’t be scalable and IT-based?

  • Cwright

    Wow, I wish I was 30 years younger. I Love the concept and know my grandkids will be so much better educated, if this type of learning is implemented across the board.

  • Tfisher

    I think individualized learning based on the specific needs and interests of a student is an awesome concept. The collaboration between the students in the video seems to foster the abilities needed in the future workforce.  

  • Ldouglas

    The younger generation will be well prepared.