Posted by: crudbasher | June 27, 2011

Predicting the Future of Education – ISTE Edition

I have been watching the Twitter feed coming from #ISTE11. It’s really amazing the quantity of tweets. At one point my feed was throttled because it was overloading. Nice job everyone!

The focus of that conference is about the future of education. Do we really know what the future of education is? It’s difficult to predict the future that is for sure. I think the reason for this is we tend to take what we currently see and just modernize it. A famous example of this are flying cars. It makes sense right?

There have been all sorts of wrong technology predictions. Here is a list I found.

  • “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” — Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.
  • “This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.” — Western Union internal memo, 1876.
  • “Radio has no future. Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible. X-rays will prove to be a hoax.” — William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, British scientist, 1899.

What this shows us is the future is predicted based on what we know, but is largely shaped by what is just around the corner.

My favorite example of this comes from a really cool site called Paleofuture. It’s all about predictions of the future from the past. I have spent hours reading about flying cars, machines that automatically do all sorts of things for us and this: the Jetpack Mailman.

JetPack Mailman (H/T

Might I suggest those of you at ISTE keep this in mind:

Question all your assumptions of what education is. Then, with a clear mind look towards the future. Because in the future, the ridiculous might be commonplace.

    • The October 4, 1958 edition of Radebaugh’s syndicated strip imagined jetpack mailmen of the future leaping from door to door in Suburbatopia, U.S.A. The strip explains that because of its super-secret government technology they can’t go into detail on how such a rocket pack might work, but rest assured, it’ll make every mail carrier in town a regular Buck Rogers.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.



  1. I’ve been following the terrific twitter stream from ISTE 2011 #iste11 too, and one link turned out to be a blogpost from a fellow teacher/student in the MAT@USC program. It is an interesting, heartfelt comment on teaching, and I would love to find out what you and the Education Stormfront readers think of it.

    • I read the article by Michael. It’s a good post. He certainly gets the fundamentals right I think about the nature of the change that is coming. I wonder if he understands though that you have to look at learning as a thing to itself, and not something that is constrained to a classroom and school.

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