Group 15 Presents:

Education Utopia

By Brian Armistead, Kaitlyn Conner, Kelsey Graham, D’Andra McIntosh, Kayley Petersen, Cariann Saunders, Grayze Anne Sepe, and Aubry Snow

What will education be like in 2035? In an age where change is the only constant, it’s difficult to predict the future. However, with current trends, we can envision what the blueprints of education will be like in a utopian setting. “[United States] is still running an educational model developed for the industrial revolution, designed to prepare workers for factory jobs” (Kembel). The new focus on higher education will compose of a complete digital presence, limiting tuition costs, portfolios instead of weighing heavily on standardize testing, wearable technology, and breaking down traditional classroom barriers.

Kembel, George. “The Classroom In 2020.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 8 Apr. 2010. Web.

Geotagging

In the future, geotagging could play a large role in education, such as making it impossible to skip class. As geotagging technology grows, schools can use the new technology to have students “check-in” when they arrive to class, recording their time and location. There could also be a feature that has students “check-out” at the end of class, showing that they stayed the duration of the time and didn’t skip out once their check-in was received.

“What Is Geotagging? — Definition from Techopedia.” Techopedias. Janalta Interactive Inc., n.d. Web.

Google Glass

Google Glass is a headset, or optical head-mounted display, that is worn like a pair of eyeglasses and displays information in a smartphone-like, hands-free format. In the education system, it will provide a hands-free way for students to take notes. Instead of getting distracted by trying to write everything down and pay attention to the lecture, students will be able to simply record the lecture through their Google Glasses, or take pictures of notes on the board.

Furthermore, Google Glass could put forth helpful information when studying or researching, as well as providing more information on topics of interest. This would help students more easily remember what their professors had talked about in class weeks before a test, as well as adding to productivity with projects or research papers.

1- Metz, Rachel. “Google Glass Failed, but Here’s the Path Its Successors Will Take | MIT Technology Review.” MIT Technology Review. N.p., 26 Nov. 2014. Web. 2- Afshar, Vala. “14 Google Glass Innovative Uses In Education.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web.

Competency-Based Education

A new model called competency-based education has begun altering traditional university lectures. Typically, students must sit and listen to a professor lecturing for an hour or even longer, but competency learning allows a student to learn at his or her own pace while making the learning process more efficient. This innovative model considers what students should know when they complete a certain degree, and encourages real world interaction in their preferred fields. Most importantly, it allows students to acquire the necessary knowledge by making their way through lessons independently. NPR Ed says, “Students can move at their own pace. The school certifies — measures — what they know and are able to do.”

This education model is steadily gaining interest and popularity, with the University of Wisconsin being the first public institution to offer five competency-based degrees. A core element of competency-based learning is employing the power of technology for teaching and learning (Huffington Post). Thus, as technology continues to grow, computer-mediated instruction will continue to improve and allow universities to further individualize learning for each student. It may not be long before we begin to see competency-based education embedded within every university across the world.

1- Kamenetz, Anya. “Competency-Based Education: No More Semesters?”NPR. NPR, n.d. Web. 2- Mendenhall, Dr. Robert. “What Is Competency-Based Education?” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web.

Cutting Costs

The cost of higher education is an all time high. With the implementation of hybrid degrees, the needed expenses for a diploma will lower greatly. Western Governors University is an accredited, affordable, and respected institution of education based in Salt Lake City, UT. It is a purely online university that offers over 50 degrees that range from bachelor’s, master’s, and post-baccalaureate programs. WGU provides its students with a flat-rate tuition of $6,000 — considerably less than what current students are paying at the University of Georgia. Hybrid degrees also attract others that may not necessarily have time to work for a traditional degree. The average degree completion at WGU is 30 months — cutting the standard 48 months by a year and a half. Investors have taken note of this “Online 2.0” style of instruction and have applied to their own respective institutions — Patten University and Southern New Hampshire University to name a few.

Fried, Vance H. “College 2020.” The Heritage Foundation. The Heritage Foundation, n.d. Web.

Eliminating Geographical Barriers

Online education is not uncommon at many universities across the world, with many schools already offering the entirety of their courses online, such as Regent, Kaplan, and Walden University. The University of Georgia is even beginning to provide a variety of online courses, such as the New Media Institute’s 4110 course. Without these options, many students wouldn’t be able to fit certain classes into their schedules and complete degree programs like the New Media Certificate.

According to Kevin Carey, by the year 2030, “rather than people only being able to ‘go to college’ in a few, scarce expensive places, you’ll essentially be able to go to college from almost anywhere.” For example, while only one in 18 students who apply to Harvard University are admitted, it is now possible for anyone around the world to take online courses offered by this ivy league.

Morella, Michael. “It’s the End of College As We Know It (And I Feel Fine).”US News. US News, 30 Apr. 2015. Web.

Innovative Communication

In many classrooms, particularly large-scale introductory classes, students are often glued to their laptops while taking notes, with little to no social interaction required. However, online tools such as message boards and chat rooms (ex: Piazza and Google Hangout) provide students with an easy means of virtual communication. This online socialization will often lead to in-person, collaborative socialization for group projects, while also giving students a better sense of voice online.

In the future, online technologies that keep students informed of and interactive with a course through announcements, surveys, polls, or other activities will become the norm in university classes. It will most likely be impossible for instructors to escape incorporating some form of connection with the virtual world into their higher education courses.

“Building Community and Interaction Online | University Teaching & Learning Center | The George Washington University.” Building Community and Interaction Online | University Teaching & Learning Center | The George Washington University. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2015.

Portfolios over Testing in College Admissions

Ever since 80 US colleges and universities came together on September 28th, 2015 to announce their transition from standardized testing to digital portfolios as the criteria for college admissions, the path to higher education institutions has become significantly more creative and engaging. Students now collect all of their work from freshman to senior year in high school in a digital or electronic portfolio as part of their college applications. This allows them to begin thinking about their college future at an earlier time, and it serves as guidance towards a fulfilling career. It also allows students to keep track of their personal growth while routinely assessing their skills. Admission officers view portfolios for both creative and traditional students and effectively evaluate how far a student has come.

1- “80 Colleges and Universities Announce Plan for New Application and New Approach to Preparing High School Students | Inside Higher Ed.” 80 Colleges and Universities Announce Plan for New Application and New Approach to Preparing High School Students | Inside Higher Ed. N.p., n.d. Web. 2- Carey, Jennifer. “The Truth about Digital Porfolios & College Admissions.”Powerful Learning Practice. N.p., 05 Feb. 2013. Web.

Thinking Forward with Big data

In September 2015, digital portfolios were introduced as a possible requirement for admission into certain universities. But what if this idea evolved into the total elimination of standardized testing, to create a college admission process that focused on individual creativity, rather than test scores in limited subject areas? Thinking further, by 2035, big data in education serves to track each citizen’s educational progress from kindergarten through high school. Every essay you’ve turned in, every grade you’ve received, and every assignment you’ve completed could be digitally stored on the Cloud to determine your efficacy in higher education or in the workplace, depending on the path you choose.


Conclusion

In conclusion, hybrid degrees from institutions such as WGU are what is going to become prominent in the future. Its accessibility and economical cost will draw more and more of the incoming student population. The usage of geotagging will allow students to become more accountable for their education and will value the means of being present, and using wearable technology like Google Glass enables students to always be a part of the classroom. As we know it, a more holistic view on each applicant will be the norm in college admissions. Ultimately, the possibilities of how education could innovate within the next 25 years are endless, but a utopian-like society, or one rich with new technologies and more efficient teaching resources, is sure to come.