"Education in the future will be much less class-based and much more topic-based," states Stephen Downes in his essay on the Future of Education (http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/fall13/downes13.html). What I like most about this statement is the emphasis on “less class-based”. I see the future of Education breaking out of our four walls of a set time and place of study to flowing forward to a more fluid and flexible timetable and study that travels within our communities and beyond. Much of that flowing study will be topic-based, with learning communities gathered together by their common interest and goals of study.
As technology becomes more and more advanced and educators begin to use these technological advances as tools for study and collaboration, it only makes sense that large buildings to house our students won’t be necessary or economical. Students will not need to be grouped together in a classroom for every subject throughout the day. I envision smaller community halls that provide a gathering place to fulfill face-to-face choice of study. Virtual communities that are topic-based will provide learners a facilitated course of study with the freedom to connect and collaborate with like-minded students.
Today we see the trend toward personalized education for each student. Change seems to happen at a snail’s pace within our current educational system, but the thoughts are present now. Individualized learning will become topic-based and will happen either virtually or with flexible face-to face learning halls. Our educators in BC are hard at work today to meet the changing learning styles of our youth. Online courses, open courses, blended classrooms and online learning conferences will eventually become the norm in the years to come. I do predict change is inevitable, maybe not in ten years and maybe when we least expect it. My learning now as an educator is to prepare by learning new technologies, build on my experience with inquiry and online facilitation and be ready to embrace how exciting the upcoming future of education will be.