Computerised home school & mechanical teachers – Future of education


In 1951, Isaac Asimov wrote a science fiction story, set in 2157, in which the teaching-learning process happened oneon-one between a student and a mechanical teacher at home. Computerised homeschooling seemed a far-fetched fantasy half a century ago but during the pandemic, it became a reality and the new norm.

In the story, Asimov incorporated the modern concepts of the flipped classroom and personalised learning. However, the story itself was titled ‘The Fun They Had’ because the author seemed to feel that although the traditional education system had its drawbacks, the brick-and-mortar school, and the real student teacher interaction were so much more interesting and enjoyable.

The future of any discipline including education cannot be predicted but can only be speculated. In the past, many specialists have philosophised the importance of individuality and originality and how the system of education can impair both. Currently, research in the field of psychology and neuroscience has thrown insights into the process of learning and how it differs from person to person. Moreover, the values of modern society have moved individuality to the forefront.

Taking into consideration the philosophical, scientific, and social aspects of education in vogue today one can surmise that the following five concepts and ideas may dominate the education system in the future:

1. Personalised learning: Individual differences in learning will soon become a matter of high priority. An Individual Learning Plan (ILP) will have to be created for each student; so that education matches the needs, interests, and skills of the student.

2. Technological integration: With the advent of portable computers and the internet, technology has become an ineliminable part of life. Technology will no longer be an aid to education but will become an integral part of education.

3. Changing roles: The role of the teacher as a facilitator and mentor rather than an instructor will be put into practice. The students will be given an active role in choosing and forming not only their curricula but also assessment.

4. Hands-on approach: Hands-on learning is currently practiced only in higher education, especially with regard to professional courses. However, in the future hands-on learning will start right from the initial years of schooling. Field experience and project-based learning will replace rote-learning methods.

5. Flexible time and place: Currently, education is limited to the four walls of the institution. Modern concepts such as flipped learning have challenged this idea. In the future, the time and place where the teaching and learning happens will be flexible, especially with the help of eLearning tools which will take pedagogy beyond the classroom.

The overall growth of the student has been the goal of education for a long time. Unfortunately, this has always remained a theoretical ideology rather than a practical reality. Schools have always prioritised academics and undervalued arts and sports. In future, a holistic model of education will replace the academic one.

Views expressed by Sanjeev Sinha, Principal, Jain International Residential School, Bangalore, Karnataka.