Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Learning Pods, Not Schools

Schools of the future may not recognize their ancestor as the twentieth-century public school. The elementary and high school of the future will be more like an excellent private college with a the heart of a library and the soul of a friendly coffee shop.

"For five centuries or more--and at a much quicker pace during the last five decades--Western societies have demoted human gregariousness from a necessity to incidental."

John Cacioppo, Psychology Professor (2008)

As the twenty-first century progresses the greatest need of humans will be to connect and form meaningful relationships with one another. Africa's extreme poverty may end. Radical religious zealots may all die off, natural disasters may be handled with ease and biological technology may extend human lifespans dramatically, but we will grow increasingly lonely without concrete places to meet, chat and laugh. Children will not need teachers to transmit information or acquire learning tools. But they will want inspiration and guidance from self-chosen mentorships. They will thrive making friends with people of all ages and across interests. The schools of the future will be open-sourced, well-stocked and thoughtfully designed to foster human connection. In fact, they may no longer even be called schools, but something entirely different that would better represent the places children spend their days.

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