What Does The Future Look Like?

Marc Tucker is the latest educator to ask the question of educators everywhere, are we unable to provide a relevant education to students today? In his latest paper he looks at adaptation of ideas for improving education and radical rethinking of a whole new education system:

The Latest Paper from Marc Tucker, Founder and President Emeritus of NCEE is: The World’s Best Performing Education Systems: What Would It Take for Them to Adapt to What Might be a Very Different Future? 


Radical Reform?

We often look to education to reflect our current thinking. In previous centuries, it was a focus on the bible, or on learning about agriculture, understanding the industrial revolution or even getting a grip on the digital economy. My theory of how this works is that schools need to improve until they need to radically reform. It seems like this era is asking schools to go towards a more radical reform as the the fight about curriculum heats up at school boards. Most importantly is to consider that students do not seem well-prepared for the new digital economy.

What is Driving this Reform?

Perhaps the real driver of reform this time is our ability to find more people who agree with us through social media, and that drives us to disagree with everything and everybody else? The vaccine as a solution to the pandemic serves as an example of this theory because it has been rejected by so many people who find agreement with each other, at the risk of the rest of us, and their hospitalizations threaten our country’s health. If our democracy was stronger, we would agree to vaccinate together to wipe out this pandemic.

Media Access

Even prominent newspapers argue against education and promote charter schools, private schools, and religious intolerance. All of these arguments lead to their followers adopting narrow thinking that their opinion is right and our democracy is wrong. It seems odd that their personal rights, speech, and opinions driven and confirmed through social media should rule the public debate in our democracy in an undemocratic way of publicly hating the democracy.

We may need a new system of educating our young but can we build one that is more harmonious with all of these opinions? Democracy is by definition a representation of everyone so all of our thinking should be honored, but, the more we divide our ideas, the less likely we are to build a unifying system of education, or even a unified democracy.

New System of Education

The real problem today may not be the problem we are always trying to solve, which is how do we improve education? The real problem may be that we need a new education system that is truly revolutionary, truly helps all students, truly allows them free speech, free thinking, but also real skills that address the larger problems in our society. The narrow approach to educating children today may be the real problem we have to solve:

The real potential for the use of technology in education lies not in providing support for the present system but in revolutionising it, by creating totally engaging dynamic environments for learning, built on advanced platforms that enable students, as they enter and manipulate those environments, to


What Does The Future Look Like?

Marc Tucker likens this work to understanding the difference between supporting what education already does through technology, or using technology to drive the future, what it might look like, and engaging students to participate in such a way that they actually end up driving change. Marc Tucker provides us with a list to think about what that might look like:

  • Understand very complex systems and the science on which they are based; explore the ethical consequences of decisions that they make in those environments;
  • Understand the positions and motivations of people like them and very unlike them;
  • Understand how the whole world works and to analyse the worlds inside the machine using different theories and constructs;
  • Exist in environments in which they have to work closely with their classmates to accomplish common goals;
  • Gain access instantly to detailed information and analysis that bears on their goals and to contrast and compare it with other information and analysis;
  • Learn how to use very powerful tools to engage with these environments;
  • Grasp in a visceral way how events in centuries past explain how liberal democracy emerged from much more primitive forms of social organisation and what it takes to keep it together;
Dr. Robert A. Southworth, Jr.

Dr. Robert A. Southworth, Jr.

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