Ceiling at the British AcademyToday I attended the Futurelab Research Discussion Day at the British Academy, an event that’s slightly off my usual radar.  Firstly it was a research day and secondly, although Futurelab’s work is very much relevant to the whole education sector, their focus is more schools than tertiary education.

Most of the day focussed on an ongoing research project: Beyond Current Horizons which is aiming to “build a set of challenging and long-term visions for the future of education in the context of social and technological change”.  This morning 5 research-based trends were highlighted:

  1. Development of a denser, deeper, more diverse information landscape
  2. Weakening of institutional boundaries as well as a blurring of: work/leisure,  public/private,  education/work/retirement
  3. A greater reliance on technology for learning and work and an increase in the support needed
  4. While the separation of information & location continues other factors, such as access and identity will still be dependent on geography
  5. Increase in ‘working with machines’: outsourcing human tasks, redefining intelligence, devolution of responsibility (leading to a dependence?)

And with these trends come challenges:

  • Designing educational practices for networked individuals
  • Helping learners navigate complex learning environments
  • New educational goals in context of economic uncertainty

In a later session emphasis was put on collaboration as a key emergent trend that future education spaces, environments, systems & tools will need to fit with. This all makes sense and most of the talks were very interesting but next I needed some discussion of what this all might actually mean practically.  I didn’t really get that but to be fair it hadn’t been promised either!

If you want to read more I bookmarked several resources during the talks.