A couple of days ago friends at Parish Episcopal School in Dallas reached out with an interesting request. For a publication this summer they were looking for short expressions of what their school, and somewhat by definition, schools in general, will look like in 40 years. This is what I jotted down for them.
In 40 years I picture (Your School Name Here) as a set of coordinates in space and time, a dynamic node acting within a four-dimensional neural network of knowledge flow; a physical place where adults and young people meet from time to time as they co-learn, co-create, and co-manage the global ecosystem of knowledge; a generator of confidence that every young person has the potential to lead a fulfilling life and to improve stewardship of our planet.
Does it apply to you as well? 40 years is a LONG time. Think about how K12 and colleges have changed in the last five years and then press on your mental accelerator. My crystal ball that far in the future is increasingly influenced by mega-thinkers like Adrian Bejan at Duke University, Shoshona Zuboff of Harvard, and Jim Maxmin of MIT, amongst others. What do they have in common? They are not constrained by the framework of school-think. They operate in the context of history and what is, or is not, inevitable. I toss in my own sense of hope.
What do you see in 40 years, in less than 100 words?
The exercise you propose is not an easy one; yet undisputedly necessary for every Educator to perform. It takes time, but more importantly; a reflection of what lies inside of oneself. We can get caught up in our critiques of the current system and rarely take the time to propose a solution. It is simpler, but not more effective. If we, as you propose, come up with a vision; we will have a goal. Having a goal shifts our view to creating; the next step after critiquing.
Here is my vision:
In forty years, schools will offer a more balanced approach to learning. Beginning in Pre-School, the focus will be on developing well-adjusted individuals within a variety of cultural frame works. Continuous parental involvement within the learning environment will be a requirement, no matter what the background.
Grouping will be done by interest and ability, students will learn to mentor and be mentored. Schools will be “service-oriented-solution-centers” for real community problems. Dynamic and sustainable relationships with local and global communities are at the heart of the curriculum. Children serve, solve and help others as they develop mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally.
As a grandma, I will have a developmentally appropriate spot from which to co-create alongside my grandchildren. 🙂
Thanks, Lisa…a wonderful vision!
Going to cheat on the 100 words, and I hope this happens prior to the window of time given but here it goes: http://steelemaley.net/2011/02/20/a-networked-learning-project-the-connected-day/