School Education 2030: the Open Mind

In response to the European Commission call for visionary papers on the future of open education in Europe,  I co-authored a paper on ‘the Open Mind’ for the ‘School Education 2030’ category. The abstract for the paper (which was a winner) follows below.

Cranial Topography - Landmarks and surface markings of the human body (1913)

Cranial Topography – Landmarks and surface markings of the human body (1913)

Students and teachers will continue to go to the school down the road; and they’ll begin to go to the school in the cloud.

Modern networked technologies and open information sources mirror the workings of the human mind. As we individually remake our memories and ourselves, so does society continually remake our collective mind. Human knowledge is no longer encyclopedic, but wikipedic – flowing and networked, not fixed and static. It begins to resemble Hegel’s Absolute Mind: collective, self-knowing, free from the limitations of human institutions. Despite this, modern education paradigms belong to the era of the empire and the encyclopedia. Schools are organized bureaucratically in the image of artisanal workshops or factories; teachers are agents of a central knowledge and authority. These outmoded forms are implemented ineffectively.

By 2030 new paradigms of education will reflect our understanding of knowledge as in flux throughout a collective mind. Familiar technologies that facilitate social-networking and user-generation of content will support the education of all. Learners will engage independently with a single self-organizing learning environment – the Open Mind – through web-enabled devices. They will still attend schools, but radically altered and inside out. Here they will engage in collaborative learning projects, receive guidance and socialize. Crucially, we will not lose the essential teacher-student or student-student learning relationship.

Teachers will be problem-setters, bricoleurs, consultant physicians, and analysts. They’ll work with the Mind to sculpt assessments and diagnose student learning needs, mediating learner experiences through the creation, discover or adaptation of content. The cloud will grow, facilitating the access of any learner, anywhere to all of the highest rated content. Access to the best learning will no longer depend on socioeconomic factors. In creative symbiosis with the Open Mind will be an eco-system of pedagogical research. The cloud interactions of both students and teachers will generate a growing data set, allowing analyses of approaches at previously unimagined scales. This evidence-base will drive constant evolutions in the role and effectiveness of the learner, teacher, school and Mind.

The full paper is published on the Open Education 2030 website along with the other winning scenarios. You can download a version of the paper here: Beard Kestner OE-SE-2030 (2)

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