What’s in the Future for Education?

Some rights reserved<br />Request to license Andy Heather's photos via Getty Images

What’s in the future? Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today. – Malcolm Little

I was watching a report about education institutes on the news the other day. It was comparing graduation rates across the US state to state. Iowa, my home state proud to say, had the highest graduation rate with 88% while the nation’s capital lurked around the bottom of the list at 59%.

As I watched it made me think of the questions posed for this blog posting:

– Will education as we know it change because of technology?                                    – Where and how will you be teaching in 5, 10, 15 years time?

This is my 19th year teaching. In that time I’ve seen huge advancements in technology within the educational setting. Has it influenced the way people teach? Sure it has. Has it always been for the better. No. Will it continue to influence education in the future? Without a doubt.

In the newscast it talked about the common trends of education institutions in America: public, charter, private and online schools.

Educational Institution Pros and Cons (Fox News)

I’ve known friends to teach in all of these different settings, but the online learning is where I see education growing more and more.

The ability to collaborate with someone overseas, deliver education to those that live in rural areas, or offer “at your own pace” classes is becoming more appealing to people’s busy lives.

With online resources like University of the People, GCF Learning, and Khan Academy more people are turning to technology for learning. I wonder if the graduation rates in the states with the lowest percentages would rise if students were given the opportunity to do more online learning.

According to Dan Pink one of our drives/ motivators in life because we naturally find that things are interesting. We want to learn. We want to be engaged and succeed. We want to be part of a community. If allowing kids to learn what they want to learn at their own pace apposes them dropping out of school, then why not provide them with the opportunity to further their education online.

Already I’ve seen my role in the classroom shift from presenter to coach over the past twenty years. I see this trend continuing into the future. Not everything will be like a flipped classroom, but I see teachers moving to working as a coach as students gain content from online resources.

The video below, by C. G. P. Grey, discusses the future of education through technology called Digital Aristotle. It discusses the concept of each person having a tailored education program online suited for their learning style and level. From the way I’ve seen education moving, it makes a lot of sense.

Would Good Fences Make Us Good Neighbors Online?

How safe is your privacy online?

Privacy. Is there really such a thing any more? How much do others know about you? How much can you find out about others?

I’ve recently watched a video online showing Arthur C. Clarke’s 1974 prediction about today’s internet. In it he describes a world where we can communicate with others around the world, search bank statements, and buy theatre tickets from our homes. The reporter from ABC then questions what impact will the future technology have on our social lives. I wonder if he was thinking about the impact technology would have on our relationships with others or was he seeing a possible stress on our privacy?

I have a sister that is deeply afraid of doing anything online that leaves a digital foot print. Her skin crawls when thinking the idea that someone in the world might have information out there online about her. She was freaked out that I was able to quickly pull up her and her husband’s address, phone number, and past residences in less than a minute. What made her really upset was when I showed her pictures of herself on facebook. She doesn’t have a facebook account, but her friends do. They have posted her picture without her knowledge. In the past people would print their pictures and have them in albums to share in their home. At home… not with thousands around the world.

Sharing photos online has become so easy. Wether your using FB, Instagram, or any other sharing platform, it’s just too easy. I have a friend that likes to post pictures to FB while were out. One time I got a  messages from a friend in the Middle East on my phone telling me to order the sweet and sour strawberry shrimp and realize my friend just tagged me in a photo as I came into the restaurant. That is a little weird to me having people on other continents know where I am and what I’m doing without me telling them. This is the spin off of being so connected though. There aren’t any fences high enough to keep what you put online totally private.

I read an article from Forbes titled “How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did” online. In the article it talks about how shopping online or browsing someones site that you’ve created an account on is constantly feeding them consumer information about yourself. The store can use this information to make statistical predictions about you and send direct marketing lures tailored for just for you. Is this an invasion of your privacy? Is it more than looking in your cart at the store? To the father that didn’t know his daughter was pregnant, yes.

A colleague and I debated over this article and talked about being modern day consumer and maintaining your privacy. We both agreed that you have to be smart. In the interest in the case above we went online and started to register for a Target account. As you register, the box for “please send me Target offers and promotions”  is already checked. It even has a link telling you how it’s going to use your information. They tell you. There isn’t a surprise. People just need to be more educated on what to look for while signing up on line. The pregnant young lady had a choice to leave the box clicked or not.

Our daily web searches are being tailored to our interests as well as our music and videos too.  Combining sites one can probably create a collective picture of my favorite foods, colors, teams, vacations spots, restaurants, books, music, movies, and more by monitoring my online behavior. Even though we have an obligation to read the fine print while we conduct our daily lives online, do others have a moral responsibility as well to help us maintain our online privacy?