Connectivity is the Future of Learning

What will learning look like in the future?  Let’s start with a short visual history lesson (thanks John Gulla for pulling some of these images together to prompt our thinking):

This was learning 100,000 years ago:images

This was learning 1,000 years ago:unnamed

This was learning 100 years ago:unnamed-1

This is a lot of learning today:unnamed-2

This is great learning in some schools today: (Does it trouble anyone else that the closest analogue in the preceding images to kids working together on an idea wall is the one of the cave people?)

Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 9.49.40 AM This is what I believe learning will look like in the not-very distant future:

Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 10.02.39 AMWhere are the people and schools? They are there, in every node and connection; people “are” the connections. Schools will become where we meet, not where we learn. We will learn in this distributed web of knowledge creation and flow, what I have branded the cognitosphere, that includes people, schools, laboratories, companies, news and social media, and data repositories around the world.  This is the image of the future because it represents a structural system for actually accomplishing what we want out of learning.  In virtually every recitation of “what are the skills our students will need to be happy and successful in the future”, in virtually every listing of “what do we really want out of our schools”, we hear words like creativity, design, collaboration, and innovation.  The goal of learning has shifted from the acquisition of knowledge to the flow of ideas. 

In order to accomplish that goal, as I posted a couple of days ago, we need to re-design the operating system; we cannot derive the desired results from the learning operating system of past millennia.  So, what is the key requirement for which we must design?  It is connectivity.  As Steve Jobs put it so simply, “Creativity is just connecting things”.  That is where we must start. Over the coming weeks and months I will write more about the nature of connectivity and how and why we know that it needs to be at the core of our system re-design.

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