Monday, 25 February 2013

Back to the Future

This is a video of American author, Isaac Asimov, where he discusses how computer technology will change the way people learn and the role of schools:

In this 1988 interview, Asimov shares his predictions for the future of learning. What a visionary - he discusses many of the changes that education is still grappling with and aspiring towards, 25 years later!

  • The end of information scarcity - computers [particularly the Internet] have 'changed the game' regarding access to information. We no longer need to seek out a rare expert / master / [teacher?] to access information.
  • Prescriptive curricula - not necessary when people have access to abundant information in their own homes, via computers.
  • Personalisation of learning - people are increasingly able to use technology to choose what, when and how they learn, rather than having little choice over any of these elements, as has typically been the case in traditional school systems.
  • One-to-one learning - before formal education was opened up to the public, the wealthy and powerful would access learning via a tutor / master / etc [one-to-one for a few... ]. The invention of schools enabled access to education for many, but in a less-personalised, one-to-many relationship. Computer technology sees an opportunity to return to a one-to-one learning arrangement, but this time for many, rather than just the privileged [one-to-one for many... ].
  • Life-long learning - we shouldn't 'finish' learning at school. It's not prison, where the aim is to 'get out'... 
  • Digital Divide - it won't be possible to supply all children with computer technology initially, but we should embrace the learning potential of new technologies, anyway, whilst working towards equality of access.
So, a quarter of a century on, should we be happy with the progress schools and education systems have made towards this vision, or is there still lots of work to do to realise this "revolution" in learning and the role of schools..? 

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