Lessons From an Open Future: Think Globally, Act Locally
The upcoming history of education is part of global history, a past of state-driven control versus the new role of the teacher, citizen, researcher, and policymaker. The discussions around this current of education – this and the next – are just beginning and will develop over the next decades. It is part of our shared responsibility as informed citizens to be a part of the discussion and dialogues, and I would like to discuss a few ways we can start that discussion here.
During this changing course of the education landscape, learning will remain primary. Stem education, academic rigor, and topics that are relevant to the workplace as well as a core focus within the service economy will remain central. In an open future, we can expect to see the development of new forms of learning. Several emerging areas of innovation within education intersect with open education; one of these areas is MOOCs (massive open online courses), which can offer massive scale, global reach, and at minimal cost (if we accept they are even capable of cost control). Ultimately, in the course of education, MOOCs can offer access to a new level of learning and content, allowing us to move away from traditional model classroom training.
Other emerging areas of innovation within education include new “curriculum frameworks”; district learning districts (DLS); lifelong learners; and personalized learning. In the future, these structures will be implemented by individuals (in collaboration with other stakeholders such as, parents, fellow educators, and communities); by organizational teams; or by states.
The role of the teacher will also evolve and change. In the present model of teacher development, the role of the teacher has typically been one of a model without checks or balances and one who is largely powerless, which in many ways is the core problem of teacher education today. This model, while necessary in the history of education, does not fit with the plan and vision for the future of education. Additionally, this model of education is largely limited to the classroom and to students, and has not included opportunities for teachers to be leaders in learning or communities outside of the classroom.
Another important trend of our current education landscape is student-centered learning, which combines personalization with open teaching and learning. Students will seek, if not answer, their own questions, and will be willing to spend time and effort on them. Educational platforms that are created by and for students will move to the forefront in the future. Once again, this type of teaching and learning comes with issues and policy issues that we need to continue to discuss and wrestle with.
There is great potential that comes with these shifts in education, especially in an “open” future. An open future requires a new type of learning that goes beyond a static, shared history. We are creating the framework for technology and education to continue to deliver a more representative and engaging education for our students. We must be a part of the dialogue on how open education models will go live.