Future Friday

As much as I’d like to be focusing on the juvenile fun of Halloween, I can’t help but ruminate upon my more adult realities.  No fun, right?

This week I got my LSAT score, I filed my Australian taxes, and I’ve been preparing applications for various jobs and graduate schools.  I’ve committed myself to leaving the country after the holidays, so I’ve been seriously OD’ing on the Travel Channel leading to a nearly irresistible desire to drive to LAX right now.

When it comes my future endeavours, I’m certainly keeping my options open.  Everyday, I waffle between my various teaching and schooling options. As I mull over the considerations of each choice, I’m finding more complicated issues than simply financial viability.

Let’s take teaching…

Okay, perhaps I could get a teaching job, but what will that look like in 10..20..30 years?

Last year, in both Australia and Germany, I worked in classrooms in which every child had a laptop.  In Munich particularly, 90% of classwork was accomplished on the laptops.  Certainly, a teacher needed to design the task the students worked on, but once the directions had been given the students had no real need of me.   The headphones went on, the students got to work, and I was only contacted for small clarification questions and requests to use the toilet.  All of the text, video, powerpoint, diagrams, podcasts and other information was available online.  That said, I still think students need ample social learning opportunities…they are getting kinda weird socially….

Tech rich lessons allow for a wonderfully easy integration of multimedia, various learning modalities, and individual pacing. If I were to complete any educational research (Rosanna, I’m still down to do this as a dissertation), I would love to study how technology is changing and frankly diminishing the role of the teacher.

Teachers will have the ability to create exciting, interactive lessons outside of class, while their in-class role will transform into more of an aide.  With the internet, teachers and professors have become less and less the gatekeepers of knowledge, but more guides for the students.  We can steer the students toward the important stuff, suggest different ways of thinking and problem solving, but the students can take more and more responsibility for their discovery of knowledge.

There are, of course, many potential issues with all of this as one of my good teacher friends experienced after educating veteran teachers at her school about the fun of podcasts.   One teacher per department can create a wonderful podcast for a lesson, and simply give that to each of the other teachers.  Teachers share lessons all of the time, but this would be different.  In this case, each student taking freshman English can come to class, flip open a laptop, download the podcast and hear the exact same lesson.  Only one teacher would have to create the podcast.  The teachers in the classroom would need only to supervise, and answer the clarification questions.   I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad development.  When you really think about it, the consequences are mind boggling.

This article is from a couple of years ago, but I think it raises some interesting points about education in the future:  21 Things That Will Be Obsolete in 2020.  Think attendance offices, books, paper and school buildings. crazy, huh?

Teachers might not be obsolete, but their role will be transformed.  How will teachers be trained?  What pedagogy and expectations will we embody?  It’s exciting and frightening to imagine.  I mean, if I commit to teaching for the next 40 years, I gotta know what’s my career’s really going to look like, right?

This guy thinks he’s got some good ideas.  The teachermate gadget looks kinda lame to me, but the other stuff seems cool.  I dunno what do you think?

Now after all that talk about technology, I still have to remember that most classrooms in the world are lucky to have even one computer in them.  The disparity between the classrooms of developed and developing countries astonishes me.  Which brings me to the other thing on my mind- the world population hitting 7 billion.

7 BILLION! I still can’t wrap my mind around it.  I seriously can’t stop watching the population ticker here .  I stare at it.  It’s kinda embarrassing.

The crazy thing to remember is that most of this population boom is occurring in poor, developing regions.  Access to resources in this world is gonna get scary and crazy.  You can call me an alarmist, but I’m genuinely freaked out about over population.  I think you should be too.   In honor of Halloween, I had to give you a bit of a scare.

Okay…how bout something silly to end

A comic related to my crazy desire to be on a plane right now

and what the hell…

Halloween Horror


2 thoughts on “Future Friday

  1. The future of education and the role of the classroom teacher is intimidating, challenging, and full of wonders and advancement. Don’t know if I’m up to it, afraid of what a dinosaur I am, but cautiously hopeful that my younger colleagues will lead the way and help me along 🙂

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