NAPT News & Views — Adapting and Surviving or Thriving?

Mike Martin
Posted on March 23, 2016
Mike Martin is executive director of NAPT.
Mike Martin is executive director of NAPT.

Remember “The Flintstones”?

The circa-1960 cartoon was set in the Stone Age town of Bedrock, where dinosaurs co-existed with cavemen. Fred, Barney and their families and friends used rock “technology” and dinosaur power to support their comfortable lifestyle.

Another fictional family created at the same time lived in a futuristic utopia filled with elaborate robotic contraptions, aliens, holograms and whimsical inventions. The Jetsons lived in Orbit City in the year 2062. George Jetson commuted to his job at Spacely’s Space Sprockets in an aerocar that looked like a flying saucer.

These cartoon shows are metaphors for our current societal transition from analog to digital realities.

Analog is Bedrock. Digital is Orbit City. Digital presents new opportunities that analog can’t offer. Anyone who has been able to immediately share pictures and videos of their kids in real-time with family elsewhere in the country or world can attest to this.

In the realm of public education, we sometimes act as though the reality of today’s digital world is still a ways off. It’s not. The digital revolution is causing big changes in fundamental aspects of our education system. Here are a few examples of changes that reputable experts are predicting for public education by the year 2020, a mere four years from now:

•    Network-based concepts like workflow, collaboration and dynamism (management of simultaneous operations) will reshape the classroom. The result? Fewer desks.
•    The prevalence of smartphones and hand-held computers will reduce, if not eliminate, the need for “single-function” space (think language labs), paper (expect a decrease of at least 90%) and textbooks (even e-books will be an endangered species).
•    Traditional boundaries between home and school will disappear. Kids may go to school less but actually study and learn more.
•    Traditional college entrance testing will be replaced with individualized digital portfolios to document a student’s preparedness for the next level of education. The result? No more standardized testing.
•    The structure of K-12 will be fundamentally altered by peer group learning. Local teachers will use (and are already using) social media and public learning cooperatives to interact with teachers elsewhere to brainstorm and exchange ideas.
•    At the same time, student education will also become more individualized. Students will form peer groups by interest and petition for specialized learning, tailored to their specific needs and interests. Middle schools will be foundational content providers, and high schools will be places for specialized learning.
•    As a result, school buildings will become smaller. They will be a place where learning is facilitated, not facilities where all learning happens. Teachers and students will go out into their communities for experiential learning in non-traditional settings at non-traditional times. The result? Customized and specialized transportation will be essential.

We are in the midst of a paradigm shift in how we connect as human beings, and it includes transportation.
We are in the midst of a paradigm shift in how we connect as human beings, and it includes transportation.

Related Topics: NAPT

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