The Future of Education is Beginning

Education hasn't changed much lately. The "knowledge factory" model seen in most schools is outdated. Times have changed, but our model of education hasn't.

In a future post I'd like to articulate more precisely what's wrong with school, but everyone who has completed a traditional K-12 education has a sense that school isn't what it could be. Boredom. Endless homework. Big tests. We can do better.

It's important to note that most issues are not the fault of individual people, but the system itself. The structure of education needs to change.

Unfortunately, change is difficult. Technology improves fastest in areas where experimentation is easy. Changing education is hard, because getting it right is too important. Nobody wants their kid to be the one who makes the sacrifice to try a new experimental approach. This dilemma leads to a perverse set of incentives that keep our most important institutions stagnant.

To improve education, experiments need to take place on a small scale at the fringes. Home-school parents, experimental schools, and extracurricular activities are willing to take risks, so change must begin there. Ideas that succeed can then be brought — slowly and painfully — into the mainstream.

This won't be an easy process, but it needs to happen. We are at the very beginning of a new wave. It will be many years until big change reaches the masses, but now is the time for ambitious, experimental educators to step up to the plate.