I was recently asked to consider what learning spaces of the future might entail. Rather than giving a vague, general answer, I thought it would be fun to put a date on it!
Consequently, here’s what I think the six learning spaces will look like by the Year 2030:
The Personal Learning Space:
Students will no longer be “batched” by standardizations where the same thing is taught to all students on the same day (Horn & Evans, 2016). Leveraged by technology, students will learn tailored, personalized content at individual rates, allowing mastery of content to occur at a personal pace. No longer will the progress of brighter, faster students be hindered by average or slower students, nor will those struggling with concepts be forced to progress before mastery is attained – asynchronous learning will be a hallmark of 2030. Distinct academic needs and even personal interests will be accommodated. One size will no longer fit all!
Pilot programs based on personalized learning models have already been heralded as a great success (Horn and Evans, 2016) using online learning environments such as the Khan Academy as explained in this video. (It is well worth the 11 minutes taken to view it!)
The Classroom Space:
By 2030, virtual classrooms will be commonplace. Unbounded by physical walls, students will gather in cyberspace instead of physical classrooms and brick-and-mortar institutions. Already initiatives such as Google Classroom are paving the way for such innovative change; the new Google Cloud Platform with its powerful infrastructure, data analytics, and machine learning is ready to support innovative virtual classrooms and virtual schools. The emergence of Internet2 will further help develop revolutionary solutions to facilitate advancements in delivering education. Physical classrooms may eventually be a thing of the past!
Beyond the Classroom Space:
Virtual reality experiences (both as something to be experienced as well as something that can be student-generated) will also be commonplace. Projects such as the joint undertaking by the USA National Parks and Google are already giving school children virtual access to sights and experiences that are simply not accessible by a school bus (and just think of all the paperwork, risk assessment, permission forms etc it will avoid!). Further ventures in virtual reality learning environments like zSpace are currently in place to enhance STEM learning. The potential applications for virtual labs in science, technology, engineering, and math are nothing short of phenomenal! Samsung (2016) also reports: “Students can gain a better understanding of how the heart works by simply picking up a virtual one with a stylus and peeling back the layers to see how it looks inside.” Already students around the world are enjoying exploring virtual realities with Google Cardboard – this is engaging and immersive learning at its best!
The Group Space:
By 2030, the world will indeed be a smaller place. International certification will allow global citizens to attend classrooms in any part of the world; free, world-class education will be available to anyone anywhere via virtual platforms such as the Khan Academy. Hand-in-hand with this innovative trend will come increased collaboration and co-operative learning that will transcend physical borders, nations, and countries. No doubt, in the next couple of years, communication technology will be further honed and advanced, making the world a very connective and networked environment in which to learn.
The Liminal Space:
In the future, artificial intelligence (AI) will drive much of our collective futures and steer the direction of education. “Science fiction is slowly becoming science fact, and robotics and artificial intelligence look destined to play an increasing role in our lives in the coming decades” (BBC, 2016). While this generates exciting possibilities in realm of education, groups such as the Science and Technology Committee have called for “careful scrutiny of the probable ethical, legal, and societal impact”(BBC, 2016). It is imperative that wisdom is exercised with such liminal developments. “The impact of AI will reflect the values of those who build it. AI is a tool that we humans will design, control and direct and it is up to us all to direct that tool towards the common good” (BBC, 2016).
Are my predictions accurate? I guess only time will tell! The biggest takeaway for me is that I need to be constantly updating and incorporating new advancements in education and technology in my pedagogy and use of learning spaces. I will also need not only a growth mindset (as mentioned in this post), but also an innovator’s mindset as illustrated below:
How will I keep abreast with the latest advancements and innovations in education? One of my biggest EDFD459 “aha” moments has been the use of Twitter.
With just minimal time spent daily trawling through Twitter, I have the latest breaking educational news, resources, pedagogies and innovations at my fingertips! For me, Twitter will be an integral part of my future personal learning space and my professional development.
In just 12 short weeks, I have undertaken the #EDFD459 journey with its incredibly steep learning curve. Studying this unit has not only opened my eyes to new learning spaces, technologies, understandings and global educational issues, but has also given birth to a totally transformed mindset and outlook. My next challenge? To replicate this with my future students!