Schools do not look the same as they did 100 years ago; nor should they. The buildings in which we educate our youth should change as the needs of society change. These buildings should change both structurally and intellectually. In my previous two posts I discussed my educational philosophy and the need to shift the focus of learning. What follows is my vision of what schools in the future will look like.
The major premises that my vision for the future of schools are based on:
- Today’s school buildings do offer some “unwritten” advantages that pay dividends in personal development of students
- Learning through the use of technology is not going away, but does not replace the value of a good teacher
- Knowing where to find information and what to do with that information has become a higher priority than the information itself
- A school, and education in general, is a means of creating an opportunity for something better.
There are inherent advantages in schools as they are currently configured. They are a microcosm of society, for better or for worse, and provide a relatively safe environment for young people to learn the roles of society…how to interact with others, forming relationships, conflict resolution, etc. These lessons that exist outside of the curriculum are fully missed through online education.
That, however, brings me to the second bullet point, technology is not going away. As a high school administrator I have seen students leave my school to jump on the bandwagon of online school. Unfortunately, the transition from all brick and mortar to exclusively online is a difficult one for many students. My vision for the future is a blended effect across the board. Schools would become much more wired than they are now with a much more liberal plan for electronics usage.
With a more blended environment it is going to be important for schools of the future to provide the proper structure for success. I envision a slew of new classes developing that will teach basic tech uses, proper research and citation process, digital citizenship (and digital presence), time management, focus strategies, unplugging sessions, etc. All of these new classes would become a mandatory part of the curriculum that would provide the tools needed to construct a future education in preparation for life in the “real-world”.
All of these factors combined bring me to my final vision for future education; information gathering and usage will be measured and will lead to greater flexibility and choice for students. My radical twist for the future of education is the breaking down of the current class length requirement currently set at semester or trimester and instead a focus on standard proficiency. Through blended learning students would be able to complete courses early and move on to other areas of interest faster or conversely have the ability to spend more time in areas of need. Grades, in essence, would no longer be the assessment of student learning, but rather, students would need to be able to use the material learned in class and apply it in order to prove proficiency. Standard proficiency would lead to advancement and diving into material at a deeper level.
Schools of the future will look different. My vision for schools creates choice and eliminates the students that “know how to play the game”. By blending learning and shifting our focus, schools will be a place of choice and opportunity that will prepare students for what lies ahead.