The U.S. Department of Education has a clear vision of what the future school day should be. That’s apparent from my interviews with Karen Cator, the director of education technology.
It’s also clearly outlined by the department’s deputy director Steve Midgley. I asked Midgley to spell out his thoughts about the topic.
I think if many of the innovators I see working in the sector today are successful, we’ll see a school experience that looks significantly different in 2020 than it does today. Technology will play a role, but the key changes will have been in educational approach not technology.
Interest-driven learning, with a focus on projects that are relevant to individual students, will be key. I think we’ll see more and more students even in elementary school doing “real” science. Similarly, I think student journalism reporting on real events outside the school will grow, and students will acquire skills they need such as language arts, critical thinking, research, problem solving and team work through these sorts of activities. Student programmers are already making significant contributions to the technology sector, though their numbers are small. I suspect we’ll see their numbers and contributions increase greatly in the next 10 years.
I grew up in a Montessori school that my parents founded, and a lot of the techniques employed in that school focused on independent learning. The teachers there support students to move as quickly or slowly as they want, while ensuring that every student can develop a range of skills. This kind of individual support for students will be even more relevant and wide-spread in 2020. In my experience when you provide flexible opportunities for students to learn, every single one takes the opportunity, and sometimes in ways that you don’t expect. Of course, the teachers, parents and support staff still have to provide plenty of guidance, support and motivation! Continue reading