The future of education eliminates the classroom, because the world is your class

March 25, 2013

Hypercities (credit: UCLA et at.)

Technology can turn our entire lives into learning experiences via “socialstructed learning,” an aggregation of microlearning experiences drawn from a rich ecology of content and driven not by grades but by social and intrinsic rewards, suggests Marina Gorbis, Executive Director at the Institute for the Future, in Fast Company.

“Today’s obsession with MOOCs is a reminder of the old forecasting paradigm: In the early stages of technology introduction we try to fit new technologies into existing social structures in ways that have become familiar to us,” she says.

What if we could access historical, artistic, demographic, environmental, architectural, and other kinds of information embedded in the real world via augmented reality devices?

“This is exactly what a project from USC and UCLA called HyperCities is doing: layering historical information on the actual city terrain. As you walk around with your cell phone, you can point to a site and see what it looked like a century ago, who lived there, what the environment was like.

“The Smithsonian’s free iPhone and iPad app, Leafsnap, responds when you take a photo of a tree leaf by instantly searching a growing library of leaf images amassed by the Smithsonian Institution.

“We are moving away from the model in which learning is organized around stable, usually hierarchical institutions (schools, colleges, universities) . … Replacing that model is a new system in which learning is best conceived of as a flow, where learning resources are not scarce but widely available, opportunities for learning are abundant, and learners increasingly have the ability to autonomously dip into and out of continuous learning flows.”