How do we afford the classroom of the future? No problem.

Sooner or later when we talk about edcuational technology we run into questions about affordability–like in this piece, Affording the Classoom of the Future, in the Journal. Yes, it’s true, the tech is expensive, even if the cost continues to fall yearly–only Gordon Geckos could afford cell phones in the 80’s.

But the problem is stuck in an old way of thinking, one that sees education can only occur inside a classroom (There’s one section on virtual classrooms, but the whole piece is framed by a belief in a structure that may well be hopelessly inadequate.) What if, instead, we said it doesn’t have to be in a classroom. At all. As I said earlier, we haven’t yet come close to imagining what the new edcuation will look like. But I know from my experience as head of Think Global School, however, that you don’t need a physical classroom for substantial learning (and arguable better) to take place. By the end of the second term of our first year, we had clearly establsihed that learning is a habit of mind, not a place. The learning space might be virtual, as the Journal article points out. But it can equally be found spaces where face-to-face meetings are still possible, as was my experience in taking students around the world.

The cost of mobile phones and tablets–for everyone–pales in comparison to the capital cost of building schools. We could easily afford the classrooms of the future if we instead talk about affording the learning of the future.


One Comment

  1. Reply
    Susan August 12, 2012

    I think it is important to point out that you were the only one at TGS who did embrace the idea of learning outside the classroom. I sent my son there during its second year of existence, and was shocked to learn that not only were the kids being “educated” almost exclusively INSIDE classroom walls, the kids had to attend at completely arbitrary times. For example, classes ran for 63 minutes, in some cases. I saw schedules that said 8:25 a.m.-9:47 a.m. I think we should be careful about holding up TGS as a model of what the classroom of the future could look like, unless the classroom of the future is supposed to be inhabited by borgs.

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