I love writing that affirms my hunches and verifies my observations. So I am appreciative of former Elmhurst, Illinois resident Will Richardson‘s participation in and linking to the recently-released Horizon Project Report. The 12th annual product of the New Media Consortium, it makes some exciting predictions. Here’s a run-down of how they see things evolving in the short term:
- 1 year: cloud computing based learning
- 1 year: collaborative learning environments
- 2-3 years: game-based learning
- 2-3 years: mobiles in learning
- 4-5 years: augmented realities and flexible displays in learning
In 2010, the Consortium for School Networking, in collaboration with HP, is preparing a K-12 toolkit to accompany the report, aimed at school and district leaders, board members, policymakers, teacher groups, and others. The toolkit, to be released under a Creative Commons license, will help these key groups maximize the impact of the report in their schools and help their constituencies gain an understanding of new applications of technology to support teaching and learning and successfully plan for their implementation.
• There is increasing interest in just-in-time, alternate, or non-formal avenues of education, such as online learning, mentoring, and independent study. More and more, the notion of the school as the seat of educational practice is changing as learners avail themselves of learning opportunities from other sources. There is a tremendous opportunity for schools to work hand-in-hand with alternate sources, to examine traditional approaches, and to reevaluate the content and experiences they are able to offer. [Italics mine]
• The way we think of learning environments is changing. Traditionally, a learning environment has been a physical space, but the idea of what constitutes a learning environment is changing. The “spaces” where students learn are becoming more community-driven, interdisciplinary, and supported by technologies that engage virtual communication and collaboration. This changing concept of the learning environment has clear implications for schools.
The report‘s argument needs to be heard now by those in seats of power, and so I am sending a copy to my bosses and legislators.
Finally, I enjoyed Richardson’s affirmation of the tremendous tech-based changes underway, and the potential they have for breaking down schooling as we have known it into something more customized and volitional:
…”radically new ways” of thinking about learning, while no where near mainstream, are unquestionably starting to bubble up, and as more and more people begin to step back from the seemingly intractable equation that learning=schools, there will be more and more pressure on the system to change. And all of this makes me believe even more that sooner rather than later, we will see families with access and the means to do so opting out more and more from the traditional school structure [emphasis added].
Such changes promise a new American freedom, to be ranked up there with FDR’s famous “four freedoms“: the “freedom to learn” –for at least a significant now and a growing portion of Americans–is now a cherished and utile liberty. Once they have experienced the freedom of web-based researches and learning, what student would want to return to the old-school? The Internet is simply a better research tool.