I was at an all-day offsite today and that was one of the questions we tried to answer.

I have my own company that works to understand how young people use technology and then we share that information with Silicon Valley companies. Today, we were trying to map the future of a new product and in an effort to inform our visioning, the VP asked us where we though education would be in five years. Sometimes I answer from the perspective of my teens and sometimes I use my own experiences.

Had you asked me this even six months ago, I think I would have had a different answer. But now that I have become a “home schooler,” I have to say my opinion was influenced by a new point of view.

How do we get what we need?
I believe the Internet is a great equalizer. Provided people have access, it does democratize information – allowing anyone to gather whatever information they need and then use their brain power to determine the value of that information. It goes hand in glove with the migration to “self-service” that has permeated the last decade. And I think that’s what’s happening with education as well.

Remember when we used to have someone pump our gas? Swipe our credit cards? Help us find what we need in a store or library? Now we are on our own. We have to do it ourselves. And as a result, I think we make different choices about where and how we spend our time (e.g. I spend way more time shopping on the Internet because I want information I can’t get at the store anymore).

Just think, if you get it yourself, you can have free refills!
Now that I have tasted home school, I think this is also how education is evolving. A broader group of parents are starting to embrace the “self-serve model” on an individual level. Sure, schools will continue but more and more they are about meeting basic requirements. Socializing the masses. But big picture, if you really want to teach your child something more, you have to take the initiative and do it. And you can customize the experience to meet you child’s individual needs – or strengths – or preferences.

I am just beginning to think about this but I am surprised by how much making the shift to home school has already influenced my thinking. I am wondering, has it influenced you? What do you think the future of education is – in just the next five years? Leave me a comment, I would love to know!

What are others thinking? Here are a few links to get you started…
The Future of Education
The Future of Education: Technology and How People Learn
2020 Forecast: Creating the Future of Learning