Dr. Bryan Alexander made some interesting hypotheses for the future in his lecture at The National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education. The ones which truly interested me were his Phantom Learning and Alternative Residential scenarios, probably due to my own “blended” education. In these scenarios, the education system changes; online courses and cyber schools become more mainstream.
What I like about these propositions is the idea of education being as close as your laptop. Massive Open Online Courses(MOOCs) and Distance Learning(DL) make getting certification and degrees more accessible in a hectic life. Through this system, I can imagine a simpler process of getting additional certificates or degrees while working and raising a family. Children can pursue and participate in various activities while still receiving a good education. Online education is just STARTING to trend, so it is interesting to imagine the possibilities.
Although, I am unsure it will go as far as Dr. Alexander predicts: He said the majority of children by the age of 18 will have taken online courses, or have had more education online than in traditional schools. I don’t believe this will happen in ten years. Maybe in 20 or 30, but not quite as soon as ten. I have a few reasons for this:
1)Interaction: Probably the best thing about brick and mortar schools is the ability to interact on a daily basis with many other people. This teaches children various things ex. how to act in a public setting, how to interact with others, awareness and acceptance of differences
2)Location: The child will be home taking courses online, but who will be with them? In many(all?) states, adult supervision is required for minors in cyber schools. Many households have two working parents, so neither is home to supervise the child.
Overall, I think Dr. Alexander has some interesting and optimistic ideas. I believe Augmented Reality(AG) would serve great for educational purposes, and bring efficiency to day to day life. I can imagine traveling for vacation and being able to hold up my phone to signs and maps to translate them or unfamiliar objects to find out what they are. Growth of MOOCs and DL is inevitable, and will become necessary as our lives become more and more hectic.
I, too, am optimistic to see how technology will effect our lives.