When I first started this blog, I had a simple idea. I wanted to know what effect technology will likely have on the school system in the future.
While I don’t yet have a full answer, I have made some progress in many areas. One realization I came to was you can’t consider the education system on it’s own. Instead you have to look at it in the context of society itself. As much as schools have been insulated from societal changes so far, I don’t think that immunity will survive the massive disruptive changes heading our way. I call these changes the Stormfront.
On the the technologies I have been following is self driving cars. (see Implications of Self Driving Cars.) I came across this interview with Sergei Brin, one of the founders of Google (who are pioneering self driving cars). In the interview Mr. Brin talks about how he thinks self driving cars will be practical and available in about 5 years. This tracks with what I believe. In fact, when I purchased my current car, I told everyone that my next one would drive itself. :)
A technology like this doesn’t seem like it would affect education but it certainly will. First, self driving cars will have much better and faster reflexes than humans so they should be much safer. This will cut down on the amount of wasted resources in terms of medical and direct financial costs of traffic accidents. Also, since the cars will be able to drive much closer together safely, you don’t need as many highways. More resources will then be freed up. Obviously some of these resources can be directed towards education.
In a more direct sense, school kids can take a self driving car to school, not a school bus. This means they don’t have to get up as early. They will then get more sleep which studies have shown has a big impact on learning. Then you have all the money spent on the 144,000 school busses the school system has to maintain. All that money can be redirected into the classroom.
Adult education will greatly increase too. Many people currently spend over an hour each day in the car just driving to and from work. Imagine if they could use that time more productively like taking an online class. There are something like 130 million people in the US workforce. Let’s assume half of them commute each day. Let’s also assume they spend 30 minutes a day average. That’s 32.5 million hours a day of learning that could be happening. That much demand would change the whole industry.
So you see, education doesn’t exist in a vacuum. I will keep bringing these outlying technologies to you and try to broaden your horizons in education possibilities.
There is a video on the page linked below.
- Self-driving cars a reality for ‘ordinary people’ within 5 years, says Google’s Sergey Brin – Computerworld
Google is known for setting ambitious targets for itself, and it’s apparently making no exception for self-driving cars. Such “autonomous vehicles” will be a reality for “ordinary people” in less than five years, Google CEO Sergey Brin said on Tuesday.
He also said he thinks autonomous cars will be “far safer” than those driven by humans, and he envisioned a world in which office parking lots become a thing of the past, with cars instead dropping off their owners and driving off to park themselves somewhere else.
“We’re stepping on the accelerator when it comes to the Google car,” Padilla said at the event.
Brin thinks the benefits will outweigh other concerns. Self-driving cars will be more fuel-efficient, lead to less accidents, and open doors to blind people and others who are “under-served by the current transportation system,” he said.