Owning the Future of Education

Heading to FETC in Miami for a look at what’s next—and who will make it happen.

EDTECH TEASER | by Mark Gura

January 2020: time for the start of a new year, a new decade, and the annual FETC event (Future of Education Technology Conference). And, just as wildebeest begin their annual migration across the Serengeti, educators pondering the future of their field is something of a force of nature that kicks in at this time of year.

But what sort of future? What sort of vision shall we conjure up? And how can we use it?

Welcome to the Probing Edge

In appreciation of the importance of these questions and the value promised by struggling with them, EdTech Digest has put together a panel session at the upcoming FETC Conference titled Welcome to the Probing Edge: Looking at Education’s Future, Today! (Thursday, January 16, 2020: 1:00 PM – 1:40 PM.)

Panelists will celebrate this inquiry into the future of education by offering some solid predictions and prescriptions for ways colleagues can take advantage of them.

The panel, moderated by Victor Rivero, Editor-in-Chief of EdTech Digest, will consist of:

Rachelle Dean Poth: Author – Educator – President, ISTE Teacher Education Network

Don Wettrick: Former Teacher – President at The STARTedUP Foundation – Author, and

Mark Gura: Author/Journalist – Professor of EdTech Leadership (Touro College and NYIT) – Co Chair, ISTE Literacy Network. 

The session will take on the near term to mid-term future… say, a year to 5-8 years out, avoiding clichéd fantastic, ‘Jetsons’, sci-fi visions of the future… and focusing on:

– those changes we see as possible because the technology and basics of practice are in place,
– changes that address real needs, and
– changes that may actually be brought about when a critical mass of the stakeholders of the institution of School (teachers, students, parents, policy makers, etc.) become aware of the possibility and promise.

Owning the Future

Based on the above, it becomes clear that it behooves those who understand important trends that define the trajectory of the field of Education to spread the word, thus precipitating the change. In other words, owning the future of education. How? By considering and making happen a future of our choice. We’ve come to a point in our development, of a shifting in perception—and relationship—to the future.

Don Wettrick will speak on the future of curriculum and how technology provides a platform for it, Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Open Resource Learning, and more.

Rachelle Dene Poth will speak on the future of teacher preparation in support of the way Teaching, itself, is evolving.

Mark Gura will speak about how the platform for Education is changing and how instruction must accommodate the rapid emergence of Robotics in the world our students are learning in and preparing to live the bulk of their lives in.

For Your Consideration

Additional themes for the panel and the audience to consider:

– Graduates: In what ways will they leave school prepared for their next step? What varieties of next step are they likely to encounter

– Curriculum: How will it change to serve students better? How will it conform to changes in our world?

– What changes to expect in School to Work (Preparation for the Gig Economy, etc.)

– Teachers: how will teachers be prepared to teach the evolving curriculum? To provide more relevant learning experiences? How will the job change with technology relieving them of chores and increasing availed time beyond them? What methods and practices promise to transform the nature and quality of learning?

-Teaching/Instruction – How will instructional practice change, what practices will emerge or become more common?

Our Collective Wisdom

Education has arrived at a time in which powerful tools and the instructional activities in which they may be used, along with access to the collective wisdom of the extended community of colleagues allow educators to more easily recognize areas of possible positive change on the horizon.

Further, the connectedness of our world will allow educators to influence the shape of the field’s future by such actions as mass communication of vision and understanding, crowd-sourcing constituent input and feedback to influence the development of resources, practices, and professional learning and collaboration.

What’s planned is our first foray into an overdue frame of inquiry. We expect a spirited exchange of insights and predictions.

Mark Gura is Editor-at-Large for EdTech Digest and co-author of State of EdTech: The Minds Behind What’s Now and What’s Next. He taught at New York City public schools in East Harlem for two decades. He spent five years as a curriculum developer for the central office and was eventually tapped to be the New York City Department of Education’s director of the Office of Instructional Technology, assisting over 1,700 schools serving 1.1 million students in America’s largest school system. 

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