Jenny Black, in her EDM310 Midterm Reflection, wrote:
I have a personal one for you Dr. Strange. I don't mean this in a derogatory way, but I was just wondering why you are so sure that our schools are going to become web-based? Does that mean we won't be going to school anymore, and school will be considered our own computers? I'm still not exactly sure of what you mean by web-based schools. I honestly would like to know what you believe is going to happen, in detail.
My response: Your questions are not derogatory at all. They have stimulated me to clarify and write down what I think will happen in the profession of which I have been a part for 46 years. And I don't think "web-based schools" is my term so I will not respond to what that means.
You really want to know what I see in my Crystal Ball? It changes from time to time, especially when I wipe it to clear the dust or fog. But here is what I would say today:
These predictions are pretty clear:
1. Most information will be collected and processed electronically.
2. Those who do not have the electronic tools to use with this information, or who do not know how to use them, or who refuse to use them for a variety of reasons, will be seriously disadvantaged, especially economically.
3. Text will have run its course as a separate medium of communication. It will be used only with other media, especially video, audio and images.
4. The communities and individuals with whom individuals interact will be worldwide and even though many of these relationships will be virtual they will be important and intense.
5. Many businesses will be radically changed or non existent: newspapers, book publishers (print), television stations, radio stations, hard disk manufacturers, some computer companies (old school), schools, churches, universities and may others.
Now specifically about schools and universities in the next 15-20 years. I will admit however, that the crystal ball is a bit foggier.
1. If schools (K-12) still exist in 15-20 years (2025-2030) they will provide very different functions for society:
a) They will be baby sitting institutes in many instances
b) They will be fewer in number as a result of a great shift away from them by parents who want to maximize the learning of their children
c) They may be, as one of my cynical friends says, prisons. I think that may be too harsh a term. Daytime Detention Centers might be more appropriate.
d) They may be centers of evaluation - where assessment and certifications take place
e) They may be physical activity centers - operators of sports teams, exercise activities
2. If universities still exist in 15-20 years (2025-2030)
a) They will be centers of evaluation and certification
b) They will be centers for advising as to the most important strategies for learning
c) They will be centers for research financed by government agencies and, in some cases, industry
d) They may be operators of sports businesses which may be farm teams of professional teams and/or operators of sports institutes in what remains of "schools"
e) They may offer apprenticeships through their research centers to apprentices of high standing
f) A few may be collective organizations of independent producers of multimedia "learning" products, much like a firm that provides an "umbrella" to independent agents
Do I think K-12 institutes will still exist in some form? Yes, but public support for public schools paid for by everyone will be severely undermined and efforts will be made for the parents of students to pay for all school costs.
Do I think universities will still exist? I am certain that a few will, but the number of colleges and universities will be radically reduced.
Do I think there will be teachers. Yes, some people will be called that. But they will not resemble teachers as we know them today. This applies to both K-12 and universities.
Am I eager for this to happen? In some ways yes. In some ways no. Whether I like it or not is irrelevant. It cannot be stopped. So I need to decide what I am going to do. I have an answer: My goal is to prepare my students as best I can to be leaders of the transitions that will occur as opposed to being victims of the changes that are ahead.
Where will most learning take place? Independently, in family groups, in small community organizations that take advantage of all the new technologies that will have been invented by 2025. Remember the Internet is just 15 years old. Cloud computing as we know it today is less than 5 years old. The ability to communicate instantly, freely, and with video throughout the world is about 3 years old. That is only 20% of the time shortest frame I am reporting from my crystal ball. In my Class Blog post for October 21, 2010Think About This! I discussed Apple. Apple is the second largest company in the world based on the value of its stock multiplied by the number of shares outstanding. Only Exxon-Mobile is larger. And 60% - yes 60% - of Apple's revenues come from products that did not exist 3 years ago. Newspapers are failing as we speak. Huge booksellers, having put most of the small books sellers out of business, are going into bankruptcy themselves. Almost all video rental stores are already closed because of bankruptcy. The way doctors are organized as well as their interaction with hospitals are radically different than they were 10 years ago. Music producers and distributors are very different than they were 10 years ago. Twenty percent of people in front of television sets between the hours of 8 and midnight are watching Netflix films. The first audio CDs were released 18 years ago in 1982. How many are you buying these days? I could go on and on. The point is that change is becomming more rapid in all aspects of our society.
How confident am I in my predictions? I think I am probably wrong. If I am it will be because the changes I predict will happen more quickly than I expect.
What do you have to do?
1. Master the new tools.
2. Make sure your children master them.
3. Participate in the invention of what learning will look like next.
4. Be prepared to reinvent your job, and probably your profession, many times during your lifetime.
5. Do not be fooled into thinking that you will be a "teacher" like your teachers were.
6. Master the art of problem solving, asking questions, adapting to change, directing change. These skills will be the key to economic survival.
7. Learn Chinese (unless they adopt English first).
Thanks for getting me to write this down. It will be interesting to see what kind of responses I get.