I’ve spent most of my adult life thinking about what the future of education in the United States can look like, especially for high-need communities. In that time, I’ve seen the rise of online education, updates in state standards, and a growing rift between so-called reformers and so-called anti-reformers. I want to look beyond the what we currently think is possible and imagine what education can look like in the next century.

The framework I’m using to explore this new reality is based off of Wired Magazine’s Kevin Kelly’s 1997 article “New Rules for the New Economy.” There are twelve techniques for prognosticating the future that he outlines. Prediction is an inherently messy business, but the exercise is worthwhile to think beyond the constraints of our current conversations. The point of my predictions isn’t to be “right,” per se, in the way a weather report strives to be accurate. Instead, I strive to be thought-provoking in the way a concept car at an auto show demonstrates what manufacturers imagine the future of automobiles might look like, even if they don’t plan on releasing that specific concept car.

I plan on using Kelly’s 12 frameworks to imagine these new realities. The first is extrapolation, where he suggests you take the current iteration of things and extrapolate outward.

The Integration of Personal and Professional Education Tools

Framework: Extrapolation

In the past, the tools used in the classroom have largely been unique to that space. We associate meter sticks, chalkboards, and apples (a throwback to American frontier days when families would often house and feed teachers). Today, we see much more of an integration of tools. Teachers use the same smartphones, tablets, and laptops at school as they do at home. In the next century, the core technology that teachers and students use in their personal lives will only further intertwine. The result will be an increased fluency (you won’t have to learn how to use a Smart Board, for example. You’ll just use the same kind of interactive wall technology you use at home) and increased risk of personal information being used maliciously.


Future Frameworks:

  • Follow the Free
  • New Slang
  • Look for White Spaces
  • Unthinkables
  • Scenarios 
  • The Reverse Time Machine
  • Listen to Technology 
  • Repeatable Patterns 
  • S-Curves, Commoditization, and Pivoting
  • Second-Order Effects
  • Generalization


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