Now, for the Future

For long, the question: “What’s the future of…” has been on our minds. It doesn’t matter whose future you are interested in – the stock markets, commodities, your own, or your business. In some form or the other, this question has been our constant companion.

Somewhere earlier this month an interesting feed showed up in my reader titled: Open course: Future of education and learning. Since it was from George Siemens, it was instantly clicked upon. For a while now George has been posting very interesting links and his take on them, consistently. This was my introduction to the edfutures concept (and site) as well as the first (?) open course in Educational Futures. At first it didnt quite make sense to me, however, yesterday, an update showed up in my feed again, and this time there was much more there that gave context to what was going on on that site.

I signed up.

When asked about why I am joining the course, I wrote:

My interest in this course is at two levels. First, I am excited about participating in an open course, in a format that I have imagined. I am joining for the sheer experience of it. Secondly, as a person involved in developing services and products for the education sector (not an educator as such), I believe it will be valuable for me to understand education in a totally different perspective.

We seem to be solving yesterday’s problems today, which will be obsolete tomorrow. Perhaps, understanding futures is to be able to address problems and issues at the right time, in the right manner.

The second thought has been highlighted in different ways at various intervals. Here are two such instances:

For a very long time Michael Wesch‘s video, “A Vision of Students Today” has intrigued me and pushed me to asking myself, how long will we only play catchup? More than that, what are we catching up on. Here’s the video, if you haven’t seen it as yet:

Secondly, as I struggled with this question, I happened to read Experience and Education, by John Dewey. This, is how the first chapter, Traditional vs. Progressive Education ends:

We may reject knowledge of the past as the end of education and thereby only emphasize its importance as a means. When we do that we have a problem that is new in the story of education: How shall the young become acquainted with the past in such a way that the acquaintance is a potent agent in appreciation of the living present?

If you think of these two instance (the video and this quote) they may seem far away from each other in terms of the message they are trying to convey.

To me, the future of education has its roots in the present and the past. It is forward looking – but forward looking standing way behind with a much richer context of what learning should be. Neither can you completely deny the past nor can you completely embrace the future.

I am in the first week of my learning, so hopefully, as we progress, I will have more to add here, perhaps even change my perspective completely. And I am excitedly looking forward for what future this course has in store.

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