Welcome to my adventure. This blog started out focused on parenting and school but now that Katie's nearly baked, it's way more about me these days. My experiences, more likely my point of view and good times to share.
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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Discuss: Where Will Education be in Five Years?

I was at an all-day offsite today and that was one of the questions we tried to answer.

I have my own company that works to understand how young people use technology and then we share that information with Silicon Valley companies. Today, we were trying to map the future of a new product and in an effort to inform our visioning, the VP asked us where we though education would be in five years. Sometimes I answer from the perspective of my teens and sometimes I use my own experiences.

Had you asked me this even six months ago, I think I would have had a different answer. But now that I have become a "home schooler," I have to say my opinion was influenced by a new point of view.

How do we get what we need?
I believe the Internet is a great equalizer. Provided people have access, it does democratize information - allowing anyone to gather whatever information they need and then use their brain power to determine the value of that information. It goes hand in glove with the migration to "self-service" that has permeated the last decade. And I think that's what's happening with education as well.

Remember when we used to have someone pump our gas? Swipe our credit cards? Help us find what we need in a store or library? Now we are on our own. We have to do it ourselves. And as a result, I think we make different choices about where and how we spend our time (e.g. I spend way more time shopping on the Internet because I want information I can't get at the store anymore).

Just think, if you get it yourself, you can have free refills!
Now that I have tasted home school, I think this is also how education is evolving. A broader group of parents are starting to embrace the "self-serve model" on an individual level. Sure, schools will continue but more and more they are about meeting basic requirements. Socializing the masses. But big picture, if you really want to teach your child something more, you have to take the initiative and do it. And you can customize the experience to meet you child's individual needs - or strengths - or preferences.

I am just beginning to think about this but I am surprised by how much making the shift to home school has already influenced my thinking. I am wondering, has it influenced you? What do you think the future of education is - in just the next five years? Leave me a comment, I would love to know!

What are others thinking? Here are a few links to get you started...
The Future of Education
The Future of Education: Technology and How People Learn
2020 Forecast: Creating the Future of Learning


  1. I think you are absolutely right about this. My son, who is now 20, embraced homeschooling. As an alternative learner, he was saddled with all sorts of labels in school, and although he knew how he learned best, he was not given the right to change the delivery model of his education. As an educator myself, I took the plunge with him twice. We homeschooled in elementary while actively dealing with some medical problems and discovered what a superior experience it was. Then, after a miserable attempt on my son's part to return to the local school district, we both came to the conclusion that he would only get a great education if we once again homeschooled. He studied Japanese, Theoretical Physics, Forensics -- lots of complicated study -- while having a much greater level of freedom and flexibility.

    He's taking college courses now, still chafing under the restrictions of a curriculum that is cookie-cutter and one-size-fits-all. But the skills and knowledge he gained from the years of homeschooling are still with him, and will serve him well.

    Debra Leigh Scott

  2. Debra - I so appreciate you reading this and then sharing your story.

    I am truly motivated by the success stories that people share - to hear how your son is doing is completely amazing. I hope he knows he's a "poster child, er um, man!"