If you believe as I do that the Internet will continue to become the dominant technology tool for schools, then the new Pew Internet study on the future of the Web is must reading, particularly the part on the future of formal education. Here is the scenario they offered and asked whether the experts agreed. (57% did):
Enabled by information technologies, the pace of learning in the next decade will increasingly be set by student choices. In ten years, most students will spend at least part of their “school days” in virtual classes, grouped online with others who share their interests, mastery, and skills.
If they’d asked me, I’d say that eventually schooling will look like this. But there’s no way it will happen in ten years. If there is one thing that I have been struck by since becoming immersed in these new technologies it is how slowly educators have been implementing them in the their classrooms. And, I may be wrong, but I am absolutely convinced that the collaboration and information management opportunities that these tools facilitate will change much of what we do in the classroom. Schools have to find ways to nurture an individual student’s talents and passions, and one way to do that is through online communities of practice. I’ve said this before also, but I really think it’s going to be more important for teachers to be learning facilitators than subject matter experts. The classroom should be exploration not restricted by what’s in a text. These are all tools for exploration.
Some other interesting responses that I agree with just for the heck of it:
If you can, take a few minutes to read through them…