Final Paper and Presentation
I cannot believe how quickly this class came to an end. I learned so much over the last eight weeks and now have a much clearer vision of what I think the future of education should be. This class was the perfect beginning to my M.Ed program, as it caused me to start thinking about what education is, what it should be, and how it is effectively delivered. It sharpened my focus on what my educational goals are and helped me to understand what I want from this degree.
My Future Vision of Education (FVE) project was a very enjoyable experience. Researching Post University and thinking about what it is, what it could be, and what it should be allowed me the space to be creative and to think more dynamically about the school at which I both attend and work. Below, you will find my final paper and the presentation summarizing it. If you would like to, please feel free to leave your comments and feedback.
Mindmap on Learning, and a Reflection
Mindmaps allow a person to create a visual representation of their ideas, which closely mirrors the way the mind organizes information. For my mindmap, I reflected on what education is, what it should be, and what it does. I thought about how education benefits both the individual and society, and some of the attributes of education that make learning most effective, such as it being fun and in a relaxed environment. Learning is more meaningful and longer lasting when a person is relaxed and having fun.
I felt it important to connect my ideas, which is why I began making connections between the ideas I felt were related. I quickly found that all of them can be related in some fashion. Learning is so pervasive, and is vital to a peaceful existence. The benefits are too numerous to make an inclusive list, but I included ideas I felt were important.
Here is mine:
Education Costs Too Much!
The rising cost of education has kept many from obtaining, or even seriously considering, a post-secondary degree. The National Center for Education Statistics (2015) reports that the average cost of a 4 year degree has risen from $4,406 a year in 1982 to $23,872 in 2012. The average household income in the United States in 1982 was $20,171 (Welniak & Henson, 1984), and the average in 2012 was $51,371 (Noss, 2013). The cost of one year of college increased by $19,466 from 1982 to 2012, whereas in the same time frame, the average yearly household income increased by $31,200. Not counting for inflation, those numbers seem to indicate that the cost of an education is in line with the increase in incomes. But, when the ratio of yearly tuition costs to yearly wages in 1982 and 2012 is compared, it is clear that education costs are far out pacing the rise in income. Yearly tuition was 21.8% of annual household income in 1982 and a staggering 46.5% in 2013. What this means is that it is far more expensive to get an education in a time when having an education means the difference between surviving and thriving.
People earn more money when they invest in an education. Those with an Associate degree earn more than those with only a high school diploma, and those with a Bachelor degree earn more than those with an Associate. More job opportunities with higher salaries and better benefits are available to those that have an education. Adults that want to attend college for the first time or to finish a degree might have careers, families, and/or mortgages, which makes it extremely difficult to attend the classes necessary to obtain a degree. This is the dilemma working adults face, but with the increase in the availability and credibility of online education, adults have the ability to maintain careers and households while attending college.
Online education is a convenient format and offers both older and younger adults the opportunity to get a degree by attending classes on their computers, tablets, and smart phones. No longer must they work around the schedule of a college or university; instead, they can pursue a degree on their own time. This flexibility has allowed for an increase in the number of adult students in higher education. In fact, in 2007, 38% of the post-secondary student population was over the age of 25 (Ross-Gordon, 2011), and online education is partly to thank.
Fast Facts. (2015). Retrieved from National Center for Education Statistics: https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=76
Noss, A. (2013). Retrieved from U.S. Census: https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2014/acs/acsbr13-02.pdf
Ross-Gordon, J. (2011). Research on Adult Learners: Supporting the Needs of a Student Population that is No Longer Nontraditional. Peer Review, 13(1), 26-29.
Welniak, E., & Henson, M. (1984). Money Income of Households, Families, and Persons in the United States: 1982. Bureau of the Census.
The Future, Now
Beginnings are always hard. My beginning was no exception. Before starting the Master of Education program at Post University, I had never given much thought to the state of education or how education, and its delivery, could be changed. I focused on my job, which was, and is, to help students along the path of their educational journey. I had never considered how technology could reshape the classroom and how the classroom could be so dramatically altered as to look alien compared to the classroom of today, which has been the classroom of the past century or two. Then came the first week of class.
I felt excitement and apprehension all at once. I knew that this was my beginning. I knew this was a decision that was going to change my life. The class was asked to watch The Future of Learning by 2Revolutions, an education design lab (2Revolutions, 2012). It was short, lasting less than eight minutes, but that eight minutes opened up a world of ideas about how the whole worn-out system of educating future generations could be revolutionized. The suggestion was that the individual would own their own learning and use technology to support it. It suggested that learning be personalized and not confined to the classroom. It suggested an integrated model that includes schools, libraries, museums, community centers, and, of course, students’ own homes. It looked something like this:
Of course, technology plays a large role in how we can implement an integrative design. It is a powerful tool that can link a student to all of the information and ideas they need to educate themselves. As Marc Prensky said in Our Brains Extended, “technology isn’t about new “stuff”…technology, rather, is an extension of our brains” (Prensky, 2013), and by that he means that technology has gone far past the latest gadget and has become a tool we use, like a calculator or dictionary, to learn, to solve problems, and to collaborate with other learners from all over the globe.
Beginnings are hard, but the beginning of a new approach to how education is delivered and where education happens is an imperative that cannot be ignored. It is not only what most educators want, but it is also what students want. Take, for example, a quote from an 8th grade girl in Texas, “I would suggest that education needs to catch up with our technology. Our teachers are so caught up in the 1987s that they don’t understand how important this is to us. They need to give our ideas a chance” (Project Tomorrow, 2013). Technology cannot be ignored and neither can the problems facing our antiquated educational system. It must change and it must change now.
Thank you for reading my blog.
2Revolutions LLC. (2012). The Future of Learning. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoSJ3_dZcm8
Prensky, M. (2013). Our Brains Extended. Educational Leadership, 70(6), 22-27.
Project Tomorrow. (2013). Speak UP 2012 National Findings: From Chalkboard to Tablets: The Emergence of the K-12 Digital Learner.