5 Takes on How Tech is Changing Education

Over the past several weeks, we have been writing about how technology is impacting education as part of our Future of Learning series. Our contributors explored the skills needed to thrive in an increasingly fast-paced digital world, ventured to put a stake in the ground about what online ed might look like in 10 years, and asked teenagers what they want their education to be like.

In case you missed it, below are interesting excerpts from the five articles we published in our Future of Learning series.

3 Ways Exponential Technologies Are Impacting the Future of Learning

In her book, Now You See It, Cathy Davidson, co-director of the annual MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Competitions, says 65 percent of today’s grade school kids will end up doing work that has yet to be invented.

Davidson, along with many other scholars, argues that the contemporary American classroom is still functioning much like the classroom of the industrial era — a system created as a training ground for future factory workers to teach tasks, obedience, hierarchy, and schedules.

65 percent of today’s grade school kids will end up doing work that has yet to be invented.

6 Tips on the Future of Learning from Actual Teenage Exponential Thinkers

Finally, we landed on our biggest question: What is the purpose of all this learning, anyway? Their answer: education should “make people confident in their ability to learn anything.”

In a world of exponential change, standing still is not an option. People once held one job per lifetime, but today many researchers expect millennials to hold as many as 20 jobs throughout a single career. We must all be prepared to constantly learn new skills and ideas.

What Online Education Will Look Like in 2025

Automated systems have already begun evaluating open-ended submissionsand are offering customized feedback for each student. The systems will get even better as time goes on, and will be available to all students, irrespective of social status.

Taking this a step further, human interaction will be quietly replaced in many products with very convincing bots. These bots will not become sentient anytime soon (as they do in most sci-fi movies), but they’ll do a great job providing emotionally satisfying interactions for users

One of the current limitations we face today is grading open-ended submissions, but as machine learning takes off, this limitation will fade.

Virtual Reality is the Global Empathy Machine

The combination of project-based learning and VR could help solve one of the biggest problems in schools today: the fact that students aren’t being adequately prepared for the jobs that exist in the modern, information economy. In fact, students are being prepared for a world that ‘doesn’t exist anymore.’ By creating a culture of education that allows students to work together to foster innovation, we will actively be creating citizens who are prepared for the challenges of the modern world.

And they’ll be learning what is arguably the most important skill in the modern world: the ability to be natural collaborators.

For all of the good that stories and videos on the internet can do, they will never allow you to experience a situation like you were truly there.

Automation eating your industry? (Answer: Yes.) These are the skills that will always be valued in the workplace.

Finland recently shifted its national curriculum to a new model called the “phenomenon-based” approach. By 2020, the country will replace traditional classroom subjects with a topical approach highlighting the four Cs — communication, creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration. These four skills “are central to working in teams, and a reflection of the ‘hyperconnected’ world we live in today,” Singularity Hub Editor-in-Chief David Hill recently wrote.

Hill notes the four Cs directly correspond to the skills needed to be a successful 21st century entrepreneur, when accelerating change means the jobs we’re educating for today may not exist tomorrow. Finland’s approach reflects an important transition away from the antiquated model used in most US institutions; a model created for a slower, more stable labor market and economy that simply no longer exists.

The current setup does not match the way the world has and will continue to evolve. You get your certificate or degree and then supposedly you’re done. In the world that we’ve living in today, that doesn’t work.

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Singularity University empowers leaders to leverage exponential technologies to solve global grand challenges.


Stories from Singularity University and the SingularityU community.

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