The Seven Futures of American Education: Improving Learning & Teaching in a Screen-Captured World
American education is entering the age of cybersymbiosis — irretrievably dependent on digital technologies. Cyberized culture is accelerating foundational shifts at the core of education — redefining knowledge, redistributing access, and renegotiating authority — while education’s growing importance is changing expectations about its performance. This combination offers a spectacular opportunity to improve education. The futures of American education will be shaped by various scenarios — Free Market Rules, Free Learning Rules, Standards Rule, Cyberdystopia, Steady As She Goes — whose influences would be disastrous in the extreme but can be beneficial in moderation. But the most important future is the one in which we improve education by cyberizing it. Online learning has been the leading wedge in cyberizing education, and it can also lead the way toward improving it. Strategies for re-empowering learning and teaching, such as learning-centered engagement, learner-generated content, and sensible assessment can enhance the value of the interpersonal interactions which are at the heart of learning and teaching. Strategies for revitalizing educational institutions such as prior learning assessment, stackable credentials, and student success systems will help produce better prepared citizens, workers, and lifelong learners in the twenty-first century. Cyberizing education will also help move us closer to a future in which everyone’s education truly matters.
“…a must read for those that want to get a perspective on what has happened over the previous two decades of work in online learning.”
John Bourne, Executive Director Emeritus, Online Learning Consortium
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