Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Education in the year 2099

As part of the Educational Technology Leadership program at Brock University, I am asked to forecast my thoughts on 21st century education. My first thought is not about what education will be like in this century, but rather what people 100 years ago thought it would be like today. Imagine in the year 1912, a teacher asks a student what they think school will be like in 2012. What would they have said? Could they have envisioned devices like computers, ipads, smartphones, printers, touchscreens, etc... Maybe they would have said something like "Everyone in 2012 will have a phone at their desk? or perhaps a radio?"

So when I think of what the classroom will look like in 2099 I think... there will be no classroom in 2099. Schools will be a thing of the past. Old people will say "there was a time when we used to all line up to go into a giant brick building called a school and everyone would sit in a room filled with other people. Then an instructor would teach you things..." This would be followed by a huge look of amazement and laughter by the listener, and maybe of course a "Wow your old!" comment. 

I would not be surprised if science-fiction today becomes "science-fact" tomorrow. Students will be taught via computer simulations, or maybe something similar to the idea from the matrix where a student will dock their brain to a computer system and upload/download information. This may seem far fetched but go back in time and show someone from the year 1912 what we have in classrooms today and picture their response. This really isn't that hard to believe...

Today's educational system is definitely in need of a huge change! We still practice teaching methods from the medieval times!

This is a typical classroom from that time period (still similar to today's classroom or lecture hall). Direct instruction as a teacher speaks with students who busily copy down notes, well except for the student passed out. 

Classrooms will be a thing of the past. Students will all have individualized lesson plans (IEP's) to meet their specific needs. Group interactions will be done to foster social growth and discussion of learned topics. Students will no longer be grouped by age, but rather, ability and predominant learning styles. 

I doubt I will live to be 115 to see the year 2099, but I can't wait to see what the future has in store for education and what part of that process I will play as an Ed Tech Leader. 


  1. Zach- An interesting perspective here by going backward and forward in time. The last 10 years have brought about incredible changes most of these due to advances in digital technology. Recently there was an article in the newspaper about old textbooks being recycled into furniture and wall decor. Rather than throwing these out, a creative individual has developed a unique artsy recycling business.
    By the same token, teacher today are educating students for jobs that still haven't been created yet. The unknown factor is huge; you will see exponential changes during your teaching career. Ths pace will be incredible.
    The key will be adaptability and creative/critical thinking to deal with steady change.

  2. This is a great post and very thought-provoking. Will teachers be obsolete in 2099 if students plug-in and download knowledge? Or will we be the ones designing the simulations?

  3. Also: because you have SO much time to do readings: ;)