Several factors are acting on traditional education programs. Stringent budgets are limiting school options. Content is increasingly available in digital formats such as accessible video, computer lessons and even educational games. Core academic standards are available in content areas. Most important is that better digital management and assessment systems are becoming available. Home schooling has provided a model that can be expanded into a blended education environment.
When Don Bitzer developed the PLATO system, he dreamed that the learner could be assessed and then assigned appropriate learning materials to move his or her learning forward. Assessment materials would be available to measure the learner’s progress towards a desired level of achievement. This process could be repeated until the learner reached even a 100 percent proficiency. Today this dream is possible with core state standards and digital technologies that allow learning in the home, classroom or even workplace. Handheld media allows learning of content 24/7 year round.
In such a system the role of the teacher becomes more a tutor, a counselor, a mentor and a coach that guides the learner through the desired resources and provides the assessment needed to determine accomplishments by the learners.
Each learner will have an educational plan that they are working towards. Assessment systems will include tests, projects and products that are a part of the learner’s portfolio.
We are a mobile society, therefore each learner will have an education card that holds his or her records, accomplishments and portfolio of work. Much learning will take place in classrooms, but a large amount of content will be learned at home through libraries of lessons available anytime-anywhere in video formats, computer lessons and educational games. Team learning will be emphasized both in classrooms and through social media.
The school and community will become integrated. Education will become learner centric. School facilities will be laboratories where teams of learners work together to reach high levels of scientific achievements.
Children and families will be encouraged to contribute digital resources of their learning experiences on such things as family vacations or other significant family events.
Education in the 21st Century will be learner centric and more digital in nature with students bringing their own digital devices to the learning environment. The world is at our fingertips. We must be wise enough to use it.
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