Ever since I started working as a teacher seven years ago, the future of education has been on my mind. I'm not sure that my most recent vlog has well articulated my thoughts on the matter, but it's a start.
I'm the first to admit that I do a bit of handwaving at the end of the video about Digital Aristotle -- near-artificial-intelligent software doesn't just pop into existence. But I'm comfortable with the handwaving for two reasons:
- Technology evolves much faster than people expect.
- Real AI isn't necessary for my vision of Digital Aristotle anyway.
There is a lot to be done with just simple testing across massive groups of students and this is something that the people at The Khan Academy, among others, are working on.
One last point that I'd like to be clear on: almost by definition a computer program can't teach social skills. There will always be a place where working adults send their kids to be socialized. Because of that I don't think that schools are going anywhere in the long term, I just don't think that the formalized education part of those schools will be anything like what we do now.
If you want to see the most sci-fi vision of the future of education, I suggest reading The Diamond Age by Neil Stephenson. The main plot is about 'The Young Lady's Illustrated Primer' a computerized book. Coincidentally, The Diamond Age was the first book I read on a kindle, which made it a doubly enjoyable experience.
- The Khan Academy, particularly this article about some of the behind-the-scenes work they're doing.
- I didn't have a chance to mention it in the video, but the people at TED-ed are also doing some interesting work in this field.
- An article about how easily children are able to teach themselves about computers
- There is also an interesting article at the Smithsonian magazine about some past predictions for the future of education that didn't work out.
- The book that the child version of me is holding in the video is The Way Things Work by David MacAulay. If there is a kid with even the slightest inclination toward engineering in your life, you should get them a copy.
YouTube EDU Artwork by Jessica Fan.
Music by Broke For Free