2020 Forecast: A Radically Different World This 2020 Forecast: Creating the Future of LearningCreating the Future reveals how many of our fundamental relationships— with ourselves; within our organizations; and withof Learning systems, societies, and economies—are being re- imagined and re-created in ways that will disrupt the status quo and challenge our usual assumptions. The following pages will help you explore how these different dimensions of our world are changing and how we all can shape the future of learning. To engage further in creating the future of learning, visit www.futureofed.org. A Dilemma for Education Over the next decade, the most rights as learners and re-create the to re-create themselves as resilient vibrant innovations in education are civic sphere. Networked artisans and systems that respond to challenges by likely to take place outside traditional ad hoc factories are democratizing replenishing their vital resources and institutions. These institutions face manufacturing and catalyzing new creating flexible, open, and adaptive a critical dilemma: how to reconcile local economies. These creators infrastructures. bottom-up developments in education are highlighting the significance with the traditional top-down hierarchy of cooperation and cross-cultural Together, these forces are pushing that is currently in place. intelligence for citizenship and us to create the future of learning as economic leadership. an ecosystem, in which we have yet This 2020 Forecast illuminates how to determine the role of educational we are shifting toward a culture of Furthermore, advances in neuroscience institutions as we know them today. creation in which each of us has the are creating new notions of opportunity—and the responsibility— performance and cognition and are to make our collective future. We are reshaping discussions of social justice seeing “educitizens” define their in learning. Communities are beginning 2
Opportunities for Creating the Future of LearningThis 2020 Forecast: Creating the Future of Learning is organized around six Amplified Educators and Learnersdrivers of change, which are major forces of transformation that will shape our By embracing technologies of cooperation, prototyping new models of learning,efforts to remake learning. These drivers of change, along with related trends and and cultivating open and collaborative approaches to leadership, “amplified”signals, appear on the inside of this forecast. You might find it helpful to take a educators and learners will become the organizational “superheroes” oflook inside before considering these overall implications for the future of learning. schools and districts. Their approaches will challenge institutional hierarchies and policies but will also provide the exemplars of, and provocations for,Looking across the drivers of change, the 2020 Forecast highlights the need for innovation. Watch for signs of amplification outside and at the edges of“schools” and centers of learning to be life-affirming organizations—for learners, the formal system—in such places as home school networks, independenttheir families, educators, and the broader community. It also emphasizes the schools, after-school programs, and community-based learning programs.need for learning to be an ongoing process whereby we all become engagedcitizens of a global society. Third, and perhaps most importantly, this forecast A Global Learning Economyilluminates the vital need for everyone concerned about learning—not only Geographic and digital migrations will facilitate the global movement of families,education “insiders,” but also the powerful innovators on the periphery—to identity, values, educational resources, social capital, and innovations, therebyget involved in actively creating the future of learning. Our ability to meet contributing to an increasingly global learning economy. As such migrationsthe social, economic, health, and climate challenges of the next several become routine features of moderndecades depends on our heeding these messages from the future. life, they will drive diverse new demands for rights to, and resources for, learning. The creation and exchange of learning resources, environments, andResilient School Communities experiences will form a global learning ecosystem, with families developingAs the future unfolds, schools will emerge as critical sites for promoting personal learning ecologies that span national boundaries. The globalizationhealth, environmental vitality, academic growth, student wellbeing, and of open learning systems characterized by cooperative resource creation,connections across their communities. In the best case, they will become evaluation, and sharing will change how educational institutions view their rolesfocal points for interventions focused not only on educating resilient and will offer new forms of value in the global learning ecosystem. Educationstudents, but also on promoting resilience in their communities. Schools institutions will no longer be exclusive agents of coordination, service provision,will become dynamic, community-wide systems and networks that quality assurance, performance assessment, or support. In fact, other playershave the capacity to replenish themselves in the context of change. might be more equipped to provide these functions in the distributed ecosystem.Creating resilient school communities will require educators, families, andother citizens to develop new capacities. We will need to deepen both ournetworking power and our ability to use interactive media to form groups andcatalyze action. In so doing, we will need to encourage “distributed innovation”that extends beyond the boundaries of any one organization or community,and will need to create platforms for collaborating and applying the “collectiveintelligence” of many individuals to form our resilience strategies. Finally,educators, families, and other citizens will need to be transparent about theimpacts of social, economic, and biological stresses on our communities. 3
Opportunities for Creating the Future of Learning [CONTINUED]Design as Philosophy Diversifying Learning Geographies: Deserts and OasesNew tools and approaches to designing learning experiences will deepen our As learning resources proliferate in neighborhoods and cities aroundcapacity to personalize learning. Data about preferences and interactions, as well the world, communities will become the world’s classrooms. Learningas collaboration trails (such as records of where learners travel on the Internet geographies will diversify as some communities become learning desertsand how they contribute to group activities and interact with others), will create barren of learning resources, while others become oases teeming withnew streams of information about learners’ experiences and performance. dynamic learning ecosystems. These learning ecosystems will make use ofVisualization tools will provide new ways of seeing data and of developing social and reputation capital, which will help communities build trust andinsight into learner support. In addition, neurological advances will help us locate resources; frameworks for cooperation, which will create incentives formake connections between specific physical and virtual environments and their participating in the collective generation of resources and for coordinatingimpacts on cognition and brain health. The result will be an emerging toolset learning exchanges; and mechanisms for making learning visible, suchfor designing personalized, learner-centered experiences and environments as e-mail lists, websites, and sophisticated visual maps of resources.that reflect the differentiation among learners instead of forcing compliance Learning geographies will be accessible to communities through a rangeto an average learning style and level of performance. At the community level, of key tools, such as data aggregated from disparate sources, geo-codedmaker economies will elevate design as a practical problem-solving capacity data linking learning resources and educational information to specificthat applies across community issues and helps empower local resilience. community locations, and visualization tools that help communicate suchContested Authorities information in easily understood visual and graphic forms. Such informationAs the hierarchical structure of education splinters, traditional top-down will often contain multiple layers of data (for example, school performancemovements of authority, knowledge, and power will unravel. Before new statistics, poverty rates, and the degree of access to fresh food).patterns get established, it will seem as if a host of new species has been These new dimensions of learning geographies will require new core skills.introduced into the learning ecosystem. Authority will be a hotly contested Among them will be navigating new visual cartographies, identifyingresource, and there will be the potential for conflict and distrust. learning resources in previously unexpected places, leveraging networks toWith measurement strategies and metrics producing mountains of take advantage of learning opportunities, and creating flexible educationalinformation, we will need to decide what data are important, what they infrastructures that can make use of dispersed community resources. Throughmean, and how we can act upon them. We will also need to explore how we enhanced visibility and accessibility, learning geographies will bringcan fairly evaluate performance when we are altering our minds and bodies new transparency to issues of equity in learning.through environmental hazards and physical experiments. Standardizedtesting is already surrounded by controversy, but new metrics andmeasurements will emerge from a variety of places outside education.It remains to be seen whether new learning agents and traditionallycertified teachers will cooperate or compete. While we can expectthird-party learning agent certification to emerge, in many cases, theabsence of regulation will mean that self-monitoring and reciprocalaccountability will be the best methods for ensuring quality. 4
Exploring FurtherThis 2020 Forecast outlines keyforces of change that will shapethe landscape of learning overthe next decade. Its goal is tohelp everyone with a stake inlearning identify shared interests,challenges, and strategies so thatwe can create transformativesolutions for the future.See www.futureofed.org for more informationabout these additional resources: What role• Group presentations will you play• Group workshops• Scenario planning in creating• Youth voices workshop the future• Policy briefs• Tips for taking personal action of learning?• Social network Explore the future of learning at www.futureofed.org 5
2020 Forecast: Creating the Future of Lea Pattern Recognition The Maker Economy Pe A New Civic Discourse te op Rearticulating identity de and community an Platforms for Resilience in a global society New eco sma Creating ﬂexibility The convergence of participatory media culture, diverse diasporic movements (the formation of des dec Ampliﬁed Organization and innovation dispersed populations that share common roots and identity), and frameworks for creating new cus incl amid system failures commons (bottom-up means of managing shared resources) set the stage for re-articulating identity out con and community in a global society. Education will Extended human System shocks and disruptions in the arenas of energy, ﬁnance, climate, and health care are key ﬁnd itself a contested resource in the crossroads and des of these forces of change. It will become part Altered Bodies capacity remakes forces of destabilization in this century. Institutional strategies that focus on resisting disruption and of the civic discourse in multiple new kinds of sha will the organization maintaining the status quo will not offer sufﬁcient responses. Platforms for resilience—enabling public forums and spaces as “educitizens” make visible the status of schools and of educational eco and responsive ﬂexibility, distributed collaboration, and decision-making, resources, and activities in their comExperimenting Digital natives and technologies of cooperation are combining to create a generation of ampliﬁed transparency—will allow institutions to meet such communities. School administrators, district- level staff, and teachers will need to learn how bec challenges through innovation, adaptation, andat the intersection individuals. These organizational “superheroes” will remake organizational models through their openness. As key points of convergence for health, to communicate and interact in a bottom-up world of engaged educitizens. pro incrof environment highly social, collective, improvisational practices and their augmented human capacities. These new learning, and environment, school communities will need to develop strategies for building resilience into • What kinds of roles can educators red •and performance models will thrive in a world of social networks; information proliferation, transparency, and their systems and for creating lightweight, modular infrastructures that can support the health and well- and schools play in an increasingly transparent world with more bottom-Advances in neuroscience are revealing new saturation; and rapid change. As digital natives enter being of learners, families, and learning agents. up monitoring of learning? •understanding of the brain, its plasticity, and its learning professions, and as existing educators • What kinds of partnerships, transparency, • What kinds of public, visible dialoguesresponsiveness to the environment. Emerging and students become ampliﬁed, their extended and networks will be critical for building should educators be catalyzing?notions of neuro-diversity and physical “disability” human capacities will challenge traditional ways resilient school communities?will challenge standards of what is “normal” of organizing learning and will amplify schools, • What kinds of shocks might the educationand will spark innovations that help mainstream districts, and other learning organizations. system face in the next decade?populations. At the same time, greater threats • How will ampliﬁed educators andto human and environmental health from climate organizations change the role of schoolchange, pollution, war, extreme urbanization, and in the broader community?other natural and human-made disasters will in • What will the relationships betweenthe next decade create new stresses on minds schools that are ampliﬁed and thoseand bodies. These stresses will converge in that are not be like?schools, some of which will seek to instill a senseof stewardship for self and environment in theirstudents. With their mission to educate all students,these schools will become key sites for interventionsto overcome the various challenges of disabilityand bio-distress and their impacts on learning.• How can experimenting and designing for “special” learners create innovations for all?
Learning 2020 Forecast Key Each area of this forecast contains three main components: Drivers of Change are major An extremely visible forces of transformation that will shape our efforts to remake learning. world demands They represent the convergence of several trends into emerging ideas new sensemaking and phenomena that will disrupt traditional narratives and assumptions Personal fabrication Information proliferation will continue, exacerbating the burden on families, learners, educators, and about learning. The questions under technologies and decision-makers to make sense of vast amounts of data. New tools for visualizing data will require each driver of change serve as useful starting points for discussion. open-source principles new skills in discerning meaningful patterns. Social media and collaborative tools will leave “data Trends are distinct directions ofy democratize production trails” of people’s online interactions—including contributions to group activities, inquiries and change that point to new concepts or new patterns of behavior that will and design searches, skills, digital resources, and preferences (such as playlists, buddy lists, and topics tracked)— shape the future of learning. New forms of bottom-up social networking and and social networks. At the same time, sensors Signals are examples, or early economic coordination, along with advances in and global positioning systems in devices such as indicators, of the changes described small-scale, community-based fabrication and cell phones and car navigation systems will be able design, transform local economies in the next by the trends and by the drivers of to capture location-based information along with change. By providing analogies, data, DRIVERS OF CHANGE decade, enabling productive ﬂexibility that will help health and environmental data. Together these tools cushion against economic instability. New tools, will provide a robust, visible “data picture” of our and explicit stories, signals help make including 3D printers (desktop printers that print lives as citizens, workers, and learners. Families, the future seem more concrete. out objects, parts, and components), computer- learners, educators, and decision-makers will needy controlled machine tools (such as laser cutters), to become sophisticated at pattern recognition in and online networking applications (that allow order to create effective and differentiated learning designers, consumers, tinkerers, and artisans to experiences and environments. Furthermore, Learning Agents share blueprints, solutions, and how-to knowledge) new skills in collective sensemaking will redeﬁne New agents of learning will help shape the future will enable local communities to “make” their own forms of knowledge, knowing, and assessment. of learning by contributing to the expansion economic futures—to innovate, customize, design, and redeﬁnition of the education profession and • How do ubiquitous, visible data impact and create solutions to meet local needs. Schools, its relationships to, and roles in, community life. teaching, learning, and the assessment community centers, and local businesses will of learning experiences? become important hubs of design knowledge, rapid • How can we use data to enhance human Learning Partner prototyping, and problem-solving skills that will Students who test for compatible personalitiesd decisions rather than automate them? increase local interdependencies and resilience, but who have different cognitive strengths will redeﬁning relationships with the broader economy. be matched to support each other throughout • What new skills are required for the maker the year, maintaining a constant thread economy, and what industrial and knowledge amid shifting peer relationships. economy skills remain important? • What new models of education suggested by Personal Education Advisor the maker economy transcend industrial-age, Assigned by certiﬁed local education assembly-line models? agencies (such as schools, resource centers, and libraries) or selected and contracted by families, personal education advisors will help families create, nurture, and maintain personal learning ecologies. Learning Fitness Instructor Learning ﬁtness instructors will help learners build and strengthen the basic cognitive, emotional, and social abilities essential to learning by using simulations, biofeedback, and hands-on activities to reduce stress, hone mental capabilities, and learn brain- friendly nutrition. TRENDS Edu-vator Edu-vators will build platform prototypes, experiment with new tools, evaluate new PERSONAL METRICS
students. With their mission to educate all students,these schools will become key sites for interventionsto overcome the various challenges of disabilityand bio-distress and their impacts on learning.• How can experimenting and designing for “special” learners create innovations for all?• How can school communities become centers for protection and rejuvenation in a bio-distressed world? PER TRENDS Bet mac NEW CIVIC LITERACIES TRENDS Participatory media and digital natives bring LIG transparency and collective action to the civic sphere MA SMART LOCALISM Ad h TRENDS Smart networking, data transparency, and bottom-up LEARNING COMMONS and monitoring enable responsive, open decision-making Educational stakeholders grow collective learning ass TRANSLITERACY resources, creating an alternative to public TRENDS Effective communication requires reading, LEARNING GRIDS and private NET writing, and interacting across multiple media Smart-networked resource providers and Solo BIO-DISTRESS and social platforms: learning agents create lightweight, modular DIASPORAS AS NEW MARKETS netw Threats to our biological, ecological, and built • Broadcast • Virtual worlds • Wikis learning infrastructures Diverse movements of people create new identities environments drain resources and demand • Digital video • Microblogs • Pandemics and ﬂows of learners CIT coordinated responses: • Social networking • Tagging AUTOIMMUNE RESPONSES Mak • Climate change • Chronic illness • Food insecurity Brittle hierarchies continue to act in ways that seem PERSONAL LEARNING ECOLOGIES to id • Toxic materials • Urbanization • Pandemics OPEN LEADERSHIP AND SOCIABILITY institutionally rational but which further destabilize Families look outside the traditional “system” • Pollution Open collaborative platforms enable networked weak, inﬂexible systems to create ecologies of learning experiences teams to self-organize and support ad hoc leaders COGNITIVE MODIFICATION SHADOW “SCHOOLS” The brain becomes a site for alteration EDUCITIZENS BETA BUILDING Super-empowered, networked learning agents Students and families afﬁliate around educational and maintenance Transparency, collaboration, and rapid iteration leverage the growing learning economy to enable needs and claim rights as learners create a beta culture displaying open critique provisional learning systems ENABLED INNOVATION and reﬂective practice Neurodiversity, physical enhancements, and disability communities converge, COLLECTIVE SENSEMAKING turning marginalized populations into SIGNALS Diverse and abundant data streams increase the mainstream innovators need for organizations to tap collective intelligence FUTUREMELBOURNE SIGNALS The city plan that anyone can edit, ECO-SCHOOLS www.futuremelbourne.com.au/wiki/view/ Eco-schools become a nexus for health, FMPlan/WebHome environment, community, and learning TRANSITION TOWNS SIGNALS Community wikis for adaptive strategies, DC VOICE Community school audits help manage the www.transitiontowns.org learning commons, www.dcvoice.org THE INSTITUTE OF CREATIVE SIGNALS TECHNOLOGIES THE OPEN UNIVERSITY HURRICANE KATRINA SURVIVORS The UK’s open-entry, distance learning Pioneering research on transliteracy, 3.2 million citizens’ homes destroyed university, www.open.ac.uk www.ioct.dmu.ac.uk SHARP BRAINS TEACHERTUBE Brain ﬁtness, training, and exercise, NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND Instructional videos online, MEETUP FOR YOUTH RIGHTS www.sharpbrains.com NCLB highly controversial among educators, www.teachertube.com Using Meetup to discuss youth rights, www.ed.gov/nclb/landing.jhtml www.nyra.meetup.com PROVIGIL PLAZES Medication to improve wakefulness has AFTER SCHOOL FUNDING Ad hoc collaboration through microblogs, powerful off-label uses, www.provigil.com Funding increases in California, www.plazes.com www.afterschoolnetwork.org OSCAR PISTORIUS MOODLE World-class sprinter Oscar Pistorius HOLE-IN-THE-WALL EDUCATION, LTD. An open-source course management system, redeﬁned athletic “disabilities,” Hole-in-the-Wall Learning Stations provide www.moodle.org http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Pistorius unrestricted computer access, CENTER FOR ECOLITERACY www.hole-in-the-wall.com FLAT CLASSROOMS Education for sustainable living, HERE COMES EVERYBODY Web 2.0 ampliﬁes the ﬂat classroom, www.ecoliteracy.org Professor Clay Shirky writes about how www.ﬂatclassroomproject.wikispaces.com Web 2.0 is revolutionizing the social order, GREEN SCHOOLS INITIATIVE www.herecomeseverybody.org DIGG Ecological sustainability and health Platform for collective input on what is hot in K-12 schools, www.greenschools.net on the Internet, www.digg.comSelf Organizations Systems Society Ec