Any ideas, hopes or fears about learning in the future? Are we still having schoolls as today? Where and how people are learning, teaching or guiding? What will change, what should change – and what will or should not?

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In the European union the EU Commission is a very good example of learning in our "enlarged home country": one person from each country - and a life-wide subject area.
In my mind future Europeans each have their own personal "EU Commissions", Personal EU Teams, consisting of one individual with equal challenges from up to each EU country.
This system would teach us in practice much more for continuous daily life than any school I know.
What we need to make it come true is a Personal EU TeamFinder as a first step.
See http://groups.to/personaleu and http://www.personaleu.eu
Life long learning becomes ever more important in a globalized world and continuous change. I also think that the physical space of learning is going to change. The traditional classroom will remain or have a function for example as a video learning / conferencing environment with our friends in other EU-countries (ref. to Kurres PersonalEU) or other continents.

But, the virtual learning space (virtual class room) will have extended functions. Maybe, we don't have one teacher in front of the black-board anymore but a number of specialists participating in a learning process within the virtual and global classroom. How to adapt these new models to language teaching, physics, mathematics etc. remains a short range challenge, but when the technology becomes more embedded and natural, we'll be able to communicate in the virtual learning environment just like face-to-face.

How fast will this interactive and multi talent learning become a reality? What will happen within the next 5 to 10 years? Does Finland as a small country have an advantage? Are we going to have a leading role in the management of the change process? What are your opinions?
"a number of specialists participating in a learning process within the virtual and global classroom"...

I'd go for this one as well - education in virtual facilities breaks the limits of time and students need assistance and guidance in various situations outside teachers’ official working hours. Further more students shall always have a right to gain proper education on synchronous eLearning environments, if there is a constant agreement to use one/some in teaching. A single person is not to be duplicated in the next years; there fore the role of educational personnel has to change too. The professional attachment is an issue due to this. Unfortunately, it seems that the flexibility of educational staff is often of their own interest and ignored by the employer.

In my opinion, the idea, that Helge presented, about multiple specialists participating in a learning process will be concretized rather soon. E.g. our organization uses three teachers at the same Second Life course already simultaneously on contacts, with the benefit that there is always the best person available to answer questions, one actively following the stream e.g. on the discussions forum and one to solve technical problems, which has to be counted in when teaching in virtual facilities. And they are certainly not working 24/7, but students will get the help at their convenience.

Yesterday, I had a very good conversation over teaching – how to recognise a good teacher? In brief the ideas grow up to the thought that a well experienced teacher has ability to listen, on contrary to a beginner who keeps lecturing all day long. A good teacher has a sense of a matter – she/he gives the instructions and additional information that students need to go on their journey of learning. I think this will match a virtual learning process very well indeed. Educators are available, listening and giving silent directions to go on studying.
Important question will be who is in charge about education. Is the responsible actor public or private sector? If both, how the management is divided. Already now we consider that universities could be managed mainly by private actors. What about secondary level schools? Or primary? How do we see the benefits of education and academic studies tomorrow? What kind of investment this sector will be? Who'll get the profits and who'll take the risks?
I think that the old Public Private division will disappear during the long recession we are going to face globally. We can see that the Public Broadcasting in form of YLE is moving into private space. The government is the largest owner of the bankrupt General Motors. Public and Private will merge in education and life long learning.

Nokia is not a technological wonder but a result of a good educational system and general well-being of a small population. The short term economical risks and benefits market will still continue in the stock exchange but societies have to focus on long term prosperity and sustainability.

It takes time to change away from the quartal-economy, but I see a new economic system emerging. Takes some time before we can give it a proper name, but business and government have to merge into something that brings more stability and re-engineering educational structures might have a role in this as well.
I certainly hope that learning will become increasingly location-independent, so that the quality of one's education becomes less dependent of where one lives :-)

When I got in touch with my university in Amsterdam to inquire about distant studies after I had moved to Finland, their answer was: "Fortunately we are not a distant learning university yet". I was quite shocked. - but then, the Dutch have a habit of being blunt :-)

(perhaps the point here is that there is resistance to change)
Jos, you've a good point. Maybe we could take advantage of "less resistance for change" and if we are able to define what the future educational system should look like and how it should perform in real life then we are able to accomplish it. How long will it take to "get there" and what should be done "to get started?"
Dear all,

we have started it already - here! Sometu is all about "less resistance" and a manifestation for change. Over 1400 members - joined for that; to explore and to develope new ways of education and learning! What an excellent opportunitu to draw map to the future - do you agree?
Sanna, You're so right. I like the quality and volume of discussion in SoMe. Members are visioning future of learning without any management or control. I think, a big junk of the ideas that are covered here will move from idea > concept > reality as you described in one example above.
It was very interesting to see this question on the Sometu Network and even more interesting to see the wide array of future looking answers from Finns, who are without doubt among the best educated people in the world - especially in Maths Science and Technology (Science, Engineering and Technology, if you prefer) subjects. The view of independent learning, based on free information flows is something that is so alien to the situation we are faced with at the Eastern Cape schools we work with (Nkwalini, Dwesa, etc.). Just picturing the poor learners at Mndwaka JSS or Zwelenqaba SSS - left alone with technology tools to make their own way through is quite sadenning - because the Finnish trust in their familial and social contexts to such an extent that they can challenge their children to be more independent in learning, developing and playing. Our learners are still struggling to learn to read and write.

Nevertheless, I do believe that we have to start thinking this way and that the the first place to bring these thoughts in are the teachers. Many are open to new ideas (as long as they don't mean more work). They need to be comfortable with the concepts and to facilitate. E.g. at our project, the teachers use computer club learners to help give technology based classes on subjects like Geography. This leaves the Teacher to talk about the subject and learners who have difficulties with mice etc. are shown by other learners. This passing on of responsibility is the first step toward self-motivated and driven learning with the assistance of technology.

We are very hopeful.
Quick answer from my parental leave.

Open learning centers for citizens of all ages, working in mixed age groups on real cross-disciplinary (ilmiöpohjainen) projects, each working on tasks suitable for his/her own ZPL (zone of proximal development), with support from other more advanced learners, with teachers acting as learning coaches, making sure that individual learning objectives are reached. Artifical lecture and assignment based education is still done to develop routine skills and to impart information, but attendance to these is voluntary and usually happens as a learner first realizes while working on his projects that he/she needs some new skill that requires repetitive training. Progressive inquiry, PBL, portfolios, learning by doing, peer learning, problem solving, focus on meta-cognition and learning skills...

Something like this is being built in the UK, their strategy calls for all their schools to become community learning centers by 2020. And the municipality of Knowles is aiming for 2012.
Tarmo, that's brilliant!

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