Thanks to school closings, the cla$$room of the future is already here
Today we’re headed to a magical place where excellence is the order of the day, expectations are always set to 11 (one point higher than their highest setting) and the Harlem Shake is but a distant, embarrassing memory. Where is this dream destination, you ask? In the future. Make that the cla$$room of the future to be precise. But what will this super cool place look like and is there any limit to the number of students it can contain? Also, is it true that Teach for the Universe corps members will travel here from other planets to share their excellence?
Fortunately the answers to all of these questions and a great many more were on display recently at at SXSWedu, which is how people will talk in the future. In fact you can see not just the cla$$room of the future, but the $chool, the teachers, even the family of the future right here in this handy video.
By the way: that video (which I watched on my Google Glasses because I am that cool) was brought to us from the future by student data storage visionaries InBloom. That’s because student data will actually be the currency of the future, which makes a lot of cents when you think about it. So what does the future actually look like? Allow me to break it down for you, old school style:
The cla$$room of the future will be very large
In the future, students will have a cafeteria of blended learning options from which to choose. And they will apparently enjoy their customized blend of personalized learning in an enormous cafeteria-like setting packed with other students.
But large cla$$ sizes will be no match for excellence
No doubt you are wondering, what kind of teacher can possibly handle a cafeteria-sized cla$$room with that many students? (Especially since everyone who works at the Gates Foundation, the official funder of the future, sends their own children to schools with the small classes of the dated past.) The answer is “an excellent teacher.” And while the future has yet to arrive, the search for the excellent teacher of the future is well under way. Like in Chicago, for example, where the rush to close the failing, union-stifled public schools of the past and replace them with the excellent and innovative academies of the future is inadvertently causing class sizes to rise in the present, leading school district officials to make futuristic statements like this one from Chicago Public Schools spokesperson Becky Carroll.
“It’s the quality of teaching in that classroom,” Carroll said. “You could have a teacher that is high-quality that could take 40 kids in a class and help them succeed.”
Which is good news because true *excellence* costs ALOT
Remember the old days when school districts could afford to import hundreds of Teach for America corps members in order to expose poor minority students to good old-fashioned excellence, at least for a short time? Alas, as we learned recently, the cost of the TFA program has shot up in recent years like a rocket into space, rising from $18,000 per recruit in 2005 to more than $42,000 per recruit in 2011. Which means that in the future, TFA recruits could cost upwards of 1 million student data units each—possibly more when you consider that many will be traveling here from other, more excellent planets.
And so do all of those super cool edu gizmos of the future
In the future, students will be able to communicate with their teachers, their parents and each other using super cool futuristic hand-held devices. But what company and edu-visionary has the wherewithal and the space cojones to envision the future of these hand-held devices today? And what present-day communications provider will helpfully provide the data plan for students who still lack access to the Internet at home, despite the fact that it is the future? And will the school buses of the future continue to lack seat belts?
Which is why the cla$$room of the future may require closing most of our public schools today.
Of course not everyone in the future will have super cool huge cla$$rooms. Some will enjoy a class size of zero, particularly those students whose schools have been closed. What will the future hold for these hold outs? I couldn’t tell you. You see, I can’t predict the future.
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