Published by host - 19 Dec 2013
Across the world, nearly 4.9% of our GDP is spent on education. In countries such as USA and UK, the percentage is much higher and in countries such as ours, it is much lower. As we look into the future to get our citizens more educated and informed, we find that the biggest change will be the end of the “one size fits all model”.
The future of education will be hyper-personalised, catering to individual students needs and focused on learning outcomes that enable one to do something meaningful with their learning.
At the heart and centre of the education, we tend to sometimes forget students. What would be the ideal learning environment for the student? From Kindergarten to 12th grade, higher education through graduate programs and finally ongoing learning for skills refreshment, what helps the student learn better?
If you ask a student, they’d like to a) be inspired to learn by having the subject brought to life with examples and experiences, b) learn at their own pace and enjoy the subject and c) learn so they can apply it towards a task they want to perform.
Teaching can be broken into 3 elements - instruction, application and review.
Instruction is the explanation of the theory and concept with a few examples. Most of the sciences and mathematics are taught this way already. The social sciences are largely taught this way as well, but the examples are replaced by stories in history, locations in geography and local government examples in civics.
For languages, the theory is replaced with a large dose of rules. Most are arcane and require rote memorisation. Teachers tend to force students to learn every concept at the same time, regardless of the student’s ability to learn. Inexpensive tablets and applications on those will replace the blackboard based teaching in the next 10 years.
Application is currently performed by repetition and practice. Instead of applying the learning concepts to a project (in some private schools they are given projects), students are asked to do the same “problems” and answer the same questions multiple times. The expectation is that repetition will ensure you will remember it.
The future of application will be based on science kits, drama renditions of historical facts and real-world recreation of circumstances where you would use math. The student is more likely to remember a drama he or she participated in about the Mughal Empire than the multiple chapters devoted to it in the history textbook. This will also help counter the folks who claim that computing is making students “insular”. The fact that you are doing a project (or a drama) requires teamwork and cooperation.
Finally, review is done by tedious and stress-inducing exams, with emphasis on how well you learned to “learn”, instead of learned to “apply the learning”. Computing is already replacing the paper-based exams in the higher classes, and they will continue to do so even in the lower grades.
The future, will feature personalised applications based on experiences with inexpensive tablets and mobile phones replacing the text and images of the 2D text book with voice, video, interaction and text.
While teachers won’t be replaced, the tablet will enhance the teacher’s ability to be a facilitator instead of setting the pace. The teacher’s role will change to be a curator of great material and a person that understands the unique needs of each student. This obviously means, that not all students in a class will be at the same “level” during the class. Some might surge ahead in mathematics, others in literature and still others in art. Which is a good thing. It will help the students excel in “something”, rather than be ordinary at “everything”.