Monday, December 31, 2012

Predictable failure

A few years ago, I came across a great blog featuring failed predictions about "the future" from the past century (though they occasionally blundered into accuracy), and then promptly forgot the name and url. But I thought of this blog every time I heard breathless predictions about, especially, "the future of education." In the future, education will be all online! It will be free! It will be universal! It will be catered to you! It will be ruled by Michael Sandel! It will be streamed directly into your nose! And out your ass! The more cautious prognosticators demonstrate their moderation by carving out an exception to the future's imperatives for "elite schools," because, while we can imagine a future in which our brains combine with computers, it's actually impossible to imagine one without an Ivy League. Then, today, I finally re-located this blog, Paleofuture,  though it has since moved and become more 'educational' and less entertaining. If you browse some of the past's predictions about the future of education, you will see that they've been pretty consistent for 100 years - education is always going to be online, free, universal, individual, as well as conducted in space, taught by robots, and facilitated by time travel - and it will be amazing, just you wait...and wait...and wait.

So, peeps, here's to 2013, when Miss Self-Important officially predicts that the outdated brick-and-mortar school with its teachers and students and libraries and papers will finally disappear, and we will learn by going back in time through virtual reality chaperoned by robots from Mars, on spaceships. But don't panic! The most selective spaceship will still be called Harvard. So everything will be ok.


Alpheus said...

In the future, education will require no effort or aptitude on the part of the student.

Withywindle said...

Suzette Haden Elgin's Star Anchored, Star Angered features Harvard in space (literally, I think) in a cameo appearance in one chapter.

Miss Self-Important said...

Alpheus: In the future, education will require no students.

Withywindle: Argh, it's so hard to have original ideas these days.