The year is 2041. Education has transformed from the ancient, labor-intensive process to a clinical procedure. This short film was created as a digital artifact for the Elearning and Digital Cultures MOOC (#edcmooc) which looked at some of the philosophical issues facing society and, more specifically, education. While I personally do not believe that education will ever be as easy as it is depicted in this film, nor would it happen quite this way, the acceleration of technology in a variety of fields will certainly change the face of education and how we learn.
Education is a messy process. Every teacher is different and no two students are the same. Education born of the industrial era was (and still is) based upon several broad assumptions: that the average person can do an average amount of work over an average time frame. This process certainly works for a few, but poses significant challenges for most. Increases in computer processing power will significantly change education, but not necessarily in the way that we often think. We are often told that computers or tablets in the classroom will transform education-but such devices without curriculum support does little. Rather than teaching to the average student, computer processing power will have its most significant effect in being able to assess individual students and provide tailor-made curriculum to each person. We see some systems moving toward this paradigm already, but it is still early.
In ten to fifteen years, when computers become powerful enough to simulate a human brain, then the real transformation will occur. Imagine running a classroom simulation and doing A/B tests on teaching and learning using simulations of actual students. Tests and methods that would be unheard of today could be explored and examined. Delivery optimized and tailored to the individual. And, of course, once the brain can be simulated, the next question is, can it be imprinted? It is much too early to tell, but this film takes a brief glimpse into one of our possible futures.
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