by Roger Bourke White Jr., copyright February 2016
Education in the 2050's is going to come in two broad categories: that which is taught by humans and that which is taught by cyber. What is taught and how it is taught by these two categories is going to be very different: humans are going to be teaching opinions and cyber are going to be teaching facts and reasoning skills.
In the 2010's much of what is taught in a classroom is teacher opinion. Both children and adults are taught what to think, not how to think. Because humans are getting more disconnected from making prosperity happen in the 2050's this is going to become even more true.
Much educating that is done by humans in the 2050's will be urban legend based. In the TES lifestyles, successful living is not going to depend on understanding reality well, so delusional, opinion-based education is not going to cause much problem in day-to-day living.
But some people, ambitious people, people who want to improve the way things happen in the real world, will still want their children to learn about how the real world works.
This essay is about how these different aspirations will mix in the world of education in the 2050's.
How will cyber educating and urban legend generating mix?
In theory the cyber educators should not have to be influenced by human instinctive thinking. This means they should be capable of presenting highly rational, fact-based viewpoints on all the various topics humans get educated on. They should also be capable of training humans on how to think in rational, rigorously analytic, ways, rather than training humans in the editorial opinions of the teacher or the propaganda of the community.
But will this really be the case? How much will cyber educating be influenced by human frailties, such as being enthusiastic about urban legends? Who will be controlling the educational agenda? A school committee? A parent committee? The student's choice of which educational videos to watch? The student's cyber muse? Some other agenda-controller?
In the TES environment, urban legends can thrive mightily because there is no "harsh reality anchor" for them to push against. Delusion is easy and just as effective in helping the student manage day-to-day living issues. The 2010's example being how much Creationism is taught -- lots of Creationism can get taught because few students are going to be harmed by getting this issue wrong -- it is mostly irrelevant to everyday life decision-making.
The converse in the 2010's environment is shopping for a car and car financing. Success at these can make a big difference in how a person lives. (However, when driverless cars transform most car transporting into taxi-like service, this too will become an irrelevant piece of education.)
So, how will education, and urban legend, be handled in 2050? What will be important, and relevant, for a human to learn? Here are some thoughts on the 2050's learning environment:
o There will be lots of places on-line to learn from.
o How, and who, will be rating these? How much teeth will be put into these ratings? Will some education sites be forbidden? (Most likely, given the strength of social media shaming, and Protect The Children instincts.) A surprise of the 2050's could be "education porn" sites.
o How much will a human teacher be valued? We currently have "rock star" educators in on-line media, and that won't change. What will change is who becomes the rock star? The more important rock starism stays, the more important human educators will remain.
The most likely counter-weight to urban legend and rock star educators is the student's cyber muse. If the cyber muse is picking courses, and commenting on their validity, and the muse's opinions are coming from cyber space (analytic-oriented rationality) then other criteria besides rock starism can become important.
What will drive "cyber-rationality" to become important? Who will desire that their kids get educated in how to think, not what to think? (learning analytical thinking techniques versus learning an editorial opinion) For whom will this educating style become popular? Who will search it out for themselves? Who will search it out for their kids?
There are going to be two broad categories of learning styles in the 2050's. One style will be based on cyber teaching and will be rational-based and be teaching how to think. The other style will be human based and be more concerned with opinions and promoting urban legends.
Both will be common in the 2050's, and what they teach and what they teach about will be very different.
This 1 Jan 16 WSJ editorial is about "getting out in the real world" teaching happening today. Teach Your Children Well: Unhook Them From Technolog Teachers at Mountain Oak say they can immediately detect who has been using devices at home. by Naomi Schaefer Riley.