Thursday, January 28, 2010

Education futures timeline of education: 1657 - 2045 (WN0027)

The BBC's making very effective use of its licence fee funding and about to put out one of those mega-docs that it tends to do so well, this time on the Web and the revolutionary changes it has brought society over the past 20 years. I'm looking forward to sitting down in front of the iPlayer on Saturday night (or whenever ends up being most convenient) and getting through the first episode of 'The Virtual Revolution'. Can't wait to get my hands on some of the video rushes they're giving away too and mash them up a little for an upcoming small video project.

Of course, the Beeb's got the easy job here - that of picking over the past and offering it up for understanding and contemplation to help us better comprehend our present. A fascinating yet foolish game is the prediction of the future. It's such an easy thing to get howlingly wrong, but every now and then the forecasters end up being spookily right.

A few years ago, I started subscribing to emails from the World Futurist Society, to keep an eye on some of the ways ahead that the thinkers, theorists and doers are expecting might come to pass. Naturally, some of the predications are quite wacky or even slightly terrifying, but the majority of them tend to be both pretty positive and deeply captivating for the average futurism geek. By their very nature, it seems that futurists tend to be a pretty optimistic bunch.

As I'm now beginning to blog a little more about my line of work and include education in my subject palette, I thought I'd put the above timeline up for sharing. I could well imagine, for example, the idea Education Futures has that in 2033 a 'neo-Luddite' movement of educationalists aiming to 'preserve traditional teaching' and restrict the use of technology in learning environments. An intriguing discussion for another post, perhaps. They also propose 2025 (just 15 years away) as the time that human intelligence is surpassed by machine intelligence, and the Turing Test is passed routinely. The Semantic Web/Web 3.0 is down as coming to pass in 2012, the end of Obama's first term.

Humanity is undeniably moving through revolutionary times and I have a feeling that we're not even at the threshold of how different our world is going to end up in just a generation's time or less. No-one can really know the true shape of things to come, but I made it my intention several years ago to come along for the ride and try to follow the changes as best I could so as not to get left behind. Can't wait to see what's around the corner, that's for sure!

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