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Education in the New Internet

What do you think is the future of the Internet?  What do you think it is not doing well that it should be?

I think one of the biggest things that I am excited about in terms of internet development is the development of full scale education online.

I know – it sounds like a bit of a cop out – considering that the last year has been such a dunk in the deep end of online education.  Because of this, I’d argue that many would think that we’re about done with having people at home learning.

I think – this is a virtue of having to do -everything- online and not that online as a whole was a bad thing.  In fact – i’d argue that while we are mourning the incalculable loss that this pandemic brought us – if you are in Instructional Design – you have just seen the acceleration you’ve been waiting for by orders of magnitude.

3 is the New 5

I remember when my daughter was 2 I started to let her use the iPad. If you went online there were tons of apps that really had educational content for her focusing on her individual needs. As she progressed , we noticed that she could learn deeper concepts and do different things than we did when we were kids. We were then surprised that at around 3 she started to grasp the concept of words. She started – ina very basic fashion learning to read.

While the proud parent in me would like to think that this was just who she was – I couldn’t help but think of what my childhood was like. Back when I was growing up there were only a few programs that helped with education. Everything else was left to the traditional school setting. We didn’t have the hundreds of apps ready to help in the earliest of stages. We didn’t have focused attention to learning in a new way.

What if – through the limits of technology at the time – we weren’t really fully tapping into the potential of. Learning. While many would believe that 5 is the age of learning to read – what if we could really start at 3 ? That thought is always front and center in what I look at online.

The Incredible Technical Future

Right now, education and its models are based on limits that we have had due to technology. As internet speeds get faster and the ability to produce content is brought to phones and smart speakers – we find ourselves with new highways to explore how we interact with education. COVID has taught us that we can have large discussions with people regardless of time and distance and devices. As we learn about this new normal this will force educators to embrace technology to provide education in newer ways. The UI UX experiences of browsers can shift to better developed apps for education. Those changes in experience will help us focus on new ways to have users interact with the content.

What if we could wake up one morning and ask our smart speaker to bring us the most recent lecture we need to listen to for our class.  What if that same speaker could record our results and transcribe them to a posted app for review?  What if we could meet with people online, and take quizzes with our watches while watching a lecture in real time?

These changes in education could not only make the interaction with our education vastly different than what we expect, but could even alter the timeline of our education.  What if we really didn’t need four years of education? What if we didn’t need graduating classes at all?  What if – in this super customized – extremely personal model – we were all allowed to graduate when we were finished with our studies, independent of one another instead of as one giant cohort?  The model could have a perpetual roll of people amassing skills, becoming qualified to work on a rolling basis – each getting the personalized education that they need – exactly when they want it – in the method they choose to have it.

I’m hoping this could be the direction we go – with technology leading and reshaping our way.

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