Education: Learning to Embrace the Future

Is education going to lead or follow us in “the race to the future?” We — of all ages– need to learn and adapt to the onrushing future.  How will institution-based education play a key role in leading society in this massive change exercise? Or will it come to the party years too late? How will the last generation of teachers keep up with the current or future generation of learners?

Will teaching or learning be more important?  Will individuals take the lead on their own learning journeys, empowered by freely available information and massively open online courses? Is it really the year of the MOOC (massive online open courses), as the New York Times claims?

What’s the role of technology in education, anyway? From little kids playing ipads to grannies keeping up with the computer revolution and monitoring their medical health needs, what does all this mean for how people learn?  And from the developing to the developed world who stands to make the greatest gains due to the mix of technology and education?

Will the digital divide become one further chasm between those with financial resources and those without? Or is technology a great equaliser, giving the young girl in India with a passion for learning the chance to learn from the world’s best and brightest in every single field?

And what about the role of ethics and culture in our society?  Schools have had a strong role in socialisation and norm-formation over the centuries. As technology and information flow take on a global cast and often a lurid, entertainment-focused approach, what happens to ethical and cultural development? Are economics and ethics in conflict in our education policies? How can we better balance them?

This Deep Conversation asks the really tough questions of how we can make the most out of our technological progress, while enhancing our humanity and our society’s strengths.