Let us for a moment imagine a specific future. Let us also imagine that future is upon us now.
In this future, pedagogy and technology have advanced so much that students are being taught by intelligent virtual learning environments. Students learn is small cohorts entirely through these machine authored and directed experiences.
This future has been long accepted by all, even the greatest cynics of the system and the greatest proponents of the personal touch.
The dwindling supplies of funding and qualified teachers among other factors such as technological advances and exploding young populations has also played its role in this transformation. What was routine for humans in the teaching learning process is now a monolith buried in time.
How do teachers or schools as we know them face this future where their tradition is expunged from practice, when the routine becomes an exception, when human touch is no longer needed, schools disappear and teaching is replaced by humane, intelligent systems and networks?
It helps to step outside the frame to consider such a possibility. It suddenly gives agency to each and every player to consider a future and determine their response.
The black swan flies, and brings great possibilities for change in its wake.
Are we, though, prepared for such a swan, knowing that this future is greatly possible, perhaps that we are inexorably moving towards it?
We are caught in other tensions.
Atleast in India I can see the tensions between public and private, entrepreneurs and incumbents, administrators and policy makers, teachers and technology. It seems everyone is trying to make impacts but, like a rubber band, each end is ending up pulling the other, keeping the constellation in place to perpetuate the system, to keep order.
When something like this slices through, the order will collapse, hurting everyone in the process. I believe it is incumbent upon us to see and seek such futures, if only to question how resilient or adaptive we are to a specific future.
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