Seven Futures of Cyberized Education: Revising the Six Scenarios...

Seven Futures of Cyberized Education: Revising the Six Scenarios...


The six scenarios which I've developed to describe the future of cyberized education needed a little tweaking, so here is a revised version...

This is part of a book manuscript in progress. The previous six scenarios were also the focus of a panel discussion at the NUTN Summit in Colorado Springs on September 29th. Since then, I've done a little tweaking.

The six scenarios:

  • Free Market Rules = formal education as we know it dissolves via market forces
  • Standards Rule = formal education becomes driven by imposed standards
  • Free Learning Rules = formal education as we know it dissolves via anarchic forces
  • Cyberdystopia = digital technologies diminish the humanity of education and the learning experience
  • Steady As She Goes = incremental improvement; little changes
  • Education Improves = traditional, cyberized education favorably interact, leading to substantive improvement

The reasons for these changes: the difference between "substantive improvement" (the old "New and Improved") and "vast improvement" (the old "Quantum Leap") is important, but they really are part of the same scenario. And in researching this, I've come to see the "Standards Rule" scenario as something separate from "Free Market Rules"; although there is overlap, they do seem to have somewhat different constituencies and purposes. Standards Rule is not so much about efficiency as it is about consistency.

These scenarios have the following characteristics:

  • All of these scenarios will happen to some extent.
  • Each scenario represents a viewpoint whose advocates tend to look at the cyberization of education through that particular lens.
  • Each of these viewpoints reflects powerful constituencies that will influence the future of cyberized education.
  • The full realization of any of these individual scenarios would be a disaster (except for the Education Improves scenario); however, each of these scenarios can improve education through their influences.
  • They are informed by the foundational shifts in knowledge, access, and authority.
  • Each scenario is also defined to some extent by specific tensions -- for example, the tension between ‘business as ally’ vs. ‘business as threat’ helps define the Free Market Rules scenario.
  • Collectively, the scenarios are intended to be used as a tool to help create a desired and desirable future..

This remains a work in progress...

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