This page contains the opening portion of Chapter 5 of RAFT 2035.
Copyright © 2020 David W. Wood. All rights reserved.
5. Elevating education
Goal 5 of RAFT 2035 is that world-class life-preparation education to postgraduate level will be freely available to everyone.
Goal 5, like Goal 4, can be seen as a special case of Goal 3. No one will need to obtain paid work in order to enjoy a life of abundant flourishing. Therefore, world-class life-preparation education should be available as widely and freely as possible.
Done well, education opens many new vistas, by providing information, skills, and connections. It reduces the chances of people being misled or manipulated, or falling victim to deception or distortion. It prepares people better for activities that are more challenging but also more fulfilling. This kind of education badly needs to become available more widely and more fully.
Just as for good accommodation and good food, what will make good education widely available will be to embrace the full potential of automation, including AI.
The associated technologies are sometimes called “edtech”. This includes:
- An expansion of online materials and online courses
- Tech-supported collaborative learning
- AI systems, including automated essay marking, which can improve the evaluation of the areas in which each student would benefit from further study and/or alternative approaches
- “Precision personalised education” – akin to “precision personalised medicine”
- Use of biofeedback to monitor and manage mental states while learning
- Opportunities with gamification and “serious games”
- Immersive virtual reality learning environments
- Time-shifted education, to counteract the “social jet lag” experienced by teenagers
- Empirical measurements of the effectiveness of different approaches to education.
Thanks to this kind of forthcoming improvements in edtech, there is no reason for education to be anything like as expensive as at present.
Edtech can transform, not only how educational materials are delivered and received, but also the content and structure of those educational materials, and, therefore, the ease of updating that material. The greater agility enabled by edutech will allow older educational material to be replaced more quickly by newer material that is more relevant for the fast-changing challenges ahead.
In parallel with increased use of edutech, the main role of human teachers will change from knowledge conduit to mentor.
A syllabus fit for the future
Education has traditionally focused heavily on preparing students for the workforce. Other goals, such as helping to develop human character, and preparing students for adulthood in general, have tended in practice to play a secondary role.
Indeed, present-day education tends to prepare students for the challenges of the past, when the needs and expectations of society were relatively stable. However, as the 2020s unfold, society is experiencing a confluence of five accelerating transformations.