Future of education is the history of education


I like to state, that the future of education is the history of education. Bruce Sterling writes in his visionary book entitled Shaping Things, that “the future composts today“. When looking at the models of the current, you will see them in a mutated form in the future. Therefore, much of change is incremental in the core. What is hard, is to articulate what course would future take. Studying the future is to study multiple futures. What we can do for a certain, is to shape the future through our actions today.

Researching the history of the future is the same as researching the history of the past: you can only interpret it by looking and recognizing the signs you find in the current. Explorers of the future extrapolate weak or strong signals today. Explorers of the past go through archives and ruins today. In other words, both are studied by researching the now.

When formulating any meaningful paths to the future of education, we have to research the now, understand the past and see what patterns might recur in the future. George Siemens does a very good job with this in his talk about a World Without Courses. Got the link from Eric Davidove, check it out.

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  • http://www.thecleversheep.blogspot.com Rodd Lucier

    Beginning in the palm of the hand, one can travel down any one of 5 paths. Once you reach the end of a finger, you find might find yourself in another palm, with more choices. Your next choice is always predicated on how you got to your present location, and once you start down a path it is very challenging to change to a different one without first going back to a previously comfortable and stable place/practice/palm.

    Trying to research the history of the future is similarly challenging, especially when on a given day, a new evolution in technology, or a new scientific finding, or a new idea can redirect our next steps, sending us down paths with many unforseen tangents.

    Now I’m wondering if we can ‘predict the past’ that will have been that most stable and effective point from which to proceed…

  • http://www.downes.ca Stephen Downes

    Right. This is exactly what I said in the first few moments of my talk in Saskatchewan a couple of weeks ago.
    http://www.downes.ca/presentation/189

  • http://tarina.blogging.fi/ Teemu Arina

    Stephen, wow, what a coincidence. I got this idea while reading about the future of music a few weeks ago (a finnish book) when the author was talking about how the past is present in the future. Btw., I recommend Stephen’s talk, it’s truly visionary.