21 Things That Will Become Obsolete in Education by 2020

 A friend of mine (Chris Copeland) sent me the link to the following content at Teach Paperless (find the link at the bottom of this post).

I think it is well worth your time.

1. Desks
The 21st century does not fit neatly into rows. Neither should your students. Allow the network-based concepts of flow, collaboration, and dynamism help you rearrange your room for authentic 21st century learning.

2. Language Labs
Foreign language acquisition is only a smartphone away. Get rid of those clunky desktops and monitors and do something fun with that room.

3. Computers
Ok, so this is a trick answer. More precisely this one should read: ‘Our concept of what a computer is’. Because computing is going mobile and over the next decade we’re going to see the full fury of individualized computing via handhelds come to the fore. Can’t wait.

4. Homework
The 21st century is a 24/7 environment. And the next decade is going to see the traditional temporal boundaries between home and school disappear. And despite whatever Secretary Duncan might say, we don’t need kids to ‘go to school’ more; we need them to ‘learn’ more. And this will be done 24/7 and on the move (see #3).

5. The Role of Standardized Tests in College Admissions
The AP Exam is on its last legs. The SAT isn’t far behind. Over the next ten years, we will see Digital Portfolios replace test scores as the #1 factor in college admissions.

6. Differentiated Instruction as the Sign of a Distinguished Teacher
The 21st century is customizable. In ten years, the teacher who hasn’t yet figured out how to use tech to personalize learning will be the teacher out of a job. Differentiation won’t make you ‘distinguished’; it’ll just be a natural part of your work.

7. Fear of Wikipedia
Wikipedia is the greatest democratizing force in the world right now. If you are afraid of letting your students peruse it, it’s time you get over yourself.

8. Paperbacks
Books were nice. In ten years’ time, all reading will be via digital means. And yes, I know, you like the ‘feel’ of paper. Well, in ten years’ time you’ll hardly tell the difference as ‘paper’ itself becomes digitized.

9. Attendance Offices
Bio scans. ‘Nuff said.

10. Lockers.
A coat-check, maybe.

11. IT Departments
Ok, so this is another trick answer. More subtly put: IT Departments as we currently know them. Cloud computing and a decade’s worth of increased wifi and satellite access will make some of the traditional roles of IT — software, security, and connectivity — a thing of the past. What will IT professionals do with all their free time? Innovate. Look to tech departments to instigate real change in the function of schools over the next twenty years.

12. Centralized Institutions
School buildings are going to become ‘homebases’ of learning, not the institutions where all learning happens. Buildings will get smaller and greener, student and teacher schedules will change to allow less people on campus at any one time, and more teachers and students will be going out into their communities to engage in experiential learning.

13. Organization of Educational Services by Grade
Education over the next ten years will become more individualized, leaving the bulk of grade-based learning in the past. Students will form peer groups by interest and these interest groups will petition for specialized learning. The structure of K-12 will be fundamentally altered.

14. Education School Classes that Fail to Integrate Social Technology
This is actually one that could occur over the next five years. Education Schools have to realize that if they are to remain relevant, they are going to have to demand that 21st century tech integration be modelled by the very professors who are supposed to be preparing our teachers.

15. Paid/Outsourced Professional Development
No one knows your school as well as you. With the power of a PLN in their backpockets, teachers will rise up to replace peripatetic professional development gurus as the source of schoolwide prof dev programs. This is already happening.

16. Current Curricular Norms
There is no reason why every student needs to take however many credits in the same course of study as every other student. The root of curricular change will be the shift in middle schools to a role as foundational content providers and high schools as places for specialized learning.

17. Parent-Teacher Conference Night
Ongoing parent-teacher relations in virtual reality will make parent-teacher conference nights seem quaint. Over the next ten years, parents and teachers will become closer than ever as a result of virtual communication opportunities. And parents will drive schools to become ever more tech integrated.

18. Typical Cafeteria Food
Nutrition information + handhelds + cost comparison = the end of $3.00 bowls of microwaved mac and cheese. At least, I so hope so.

19. Outsourced Graphic Design and Webmastering
You need a website/brochure/promo/etc.? Well, for goodness sake just let your kids do it. By the end of the decade — in the best of schools — they will be.

20. High School Algebra I
Within the decade, it will either become the norm to teach this course in middle school or we’ll have finally woken up to the fact that there’s no reason to give algebra weight over statistics and IT in high school for non-math majors (and they will have all taken it in middle school anyway).

21. Paper
In ten years’ time, schools will decrease their paper consumption by no less than 90%. And the printing industry and the copier industry and the paper industry itself will either adjust or perish.

This info is from TeachPaperless.

2 responses on “21 Things That Will Become Obsolete in Education by 2020

  1. Cathy

    I hope this comes true. But many of the items on the list were mentioned way back in the 1970′s when I began teaching, and they still haven’t come true. Items 1, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 12, 13, 16, 18, and 21 were all mentioned (with variations allowing for that time period) at least since 1974. The pace of change has accelerated that there is at least the possibility that change will come. Imagine what we could do if we managed high schools like colleges! There would be no shortage of space, teachers, time, or resources. It would be heaven.

  2. Contributor

    1. Desks—it does not appear that an alternative to desks is apparent, per this prediction. Rearrangement of desks does not eliminate the use of desks. Even from a virtual environment, a student is likely sitting at desk or table.
    2.The alternative appears conditional. Generally, phones even the smart phones have not been adopted for use within schools usually have restricted or prohibited use.
    3.Yes, agree!
    4.The notion of “homework” generally means work completed apart from instruction, teacher-student interaction, or lecture. While communication channels may be accessible 24/7, instruction and school hours will not necessarily be extended and assignments adjunct to ‘classroom’ work or instruction will likely continue.
    5.At present, there are no signs or indicators for use of a digital portfolio or what content would be included in such portfolios for ‘standardized’ evaluation The demise of the AP or other standardized test is unfounded, at this time, especially when most top tier colleges still actively use them.
    6.Seems somewhat of an odd assertion, given distinction eludes to some factor of differentiation. A teacher certainly can’t be the ‘same’ and distinguished at the same time.
    7.Agree
    8.This is an interesting prediction, and we will have to see if it emerges. It is possible that digital formats will be become predominant in use but paper books may still exist for the simple fact that was mentioned regarding “feel” or even “sentiment,” relevant to human “need.”
    9.Agree, “bio scans” could become highly prevalent. However, the role of the attendance office often regards administration of attendance related issues such as expected absences, excused absences, or reporting absences to parents. The attendance office would not be replaced but rather means of taking attendance within the classroom.

    Interesting predictions ….we’ll see. Have to go…. thanks

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