Imagine what education could look like in ten years. It is easy to see that many of our students are being left behind by the technology trends. Innovation and progress are not visible in our age. Today’s world is undergoing rapid change. Every day new, ever-improving technologies emerge in every corner and part of society.
It will require a new educational paradigm to help educate the brightest and most talented in this brave new world. It will cost us our future if we allow our educational tools to age in a corner of the classroom. Inequitable access to education will lead to the exclusion of many children and a stagnation of the global workforce.
The New Toolbox
A few years ago, I was at an antique auction and spotted a few tools for woodwork that I thought I might be able to use. For just a few bucks I was able snag a collection of old hand tools that might have been in someone else’s toolbox for decades. Over the next decade, these tools became my tools for a variety of projects. My skills and artistic ability in woodworking continued to grow. I discovered quickly that better tools lead to improved craftsmanship. New tools are a sign of new skills, as any woodworker can attest.
Woodworking can be used as a metaphor to shape and mold students. Sharp tools are the only thing that can replace them. The best tools are essential if you want to build the most successful projects. We will be disappointed in our projects in the future if our tools are not improved.
In this article I’ll try to portray the impact technology will have on the education of students in the next ten-years. If we just open our minds to the possibilities, I will show you some of the wonderful possibilities that are available to us. My main focus will be on this idea: Transforming students from passive passengers to active users. You might be curious what I mean. Let me explain.
Ask yourself what it means for you to be a user. A user isn’t just someone who uses. The student’s role as a user is to make use of the latest technology in an autonomous and free manner. This freedom will allow students to take an active role in their education and not just be passive passengers. We have never seen this before.
In today’s technological society, being a user means also being tracked. The engine behind our education should be tracked. Tracking is a part of our everyday lives. Tracking a student allows you to identify weaknesses and strengths in your students. For many years, education philosophy has held the sacred grail of being able to precisely tailor curriculum to individual students. This dream could soon be realized thanks to technological advances.
Individual assessment and the current education curriculum are at best arbitrary. Modern database and tracking technologies are necessary to accurately assess students. It is easy to find the tools to make this possible. This may be the right project for Congress if they are looking for a shovel-ready one.
Imagine a world where every student has a tablet computer that can access the App of virtual photo memory (internet). Imagine every student being able to access all the knowledge available at any given moment. You can also imagine a world where any misspelled word would bring up a spelling challenge app instead of an auto-correction. Think about what it would look like for teachers to have a complete database of all misspelled words, misunderstood concepts and missed equations for each student. You can imagine a teacher being able to personalize the experience to each individual user with minimal effort. Imagine the curriculum being tailored automatically to each user by an intuitive educational platform that recognizes every weakness and strength. I could go on but you get the idea.