What Will Be Obsolete in 2020?

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Expounding on the ideas of the wildly popular article 21 Things That Will Be Obsolete in 2020, we asked a few of those who attended Big Ideas Fest, a recent gathering of teachers, administrators, entrepreneurs and policymakers, to predict what they think will be obsolete in 2020.

Walls around the classroom, said Bernadette Adams Yates, senior research analyst, who works at the Office of Education Technology at the Department of Education. "We're moving towards students being able to create their own learning environments. It would be great for them to be able to put together their own learning path," she said.

New Orleans teacher Kaycee Eckhart would love to see an end to remediation, which currently absorbs a lot of her teaching time. "My own teaching methods will be obsolete," she said. Educators can't tend to teaching higher order critical thinking skills if "we're constantly remediating a population that's been under-served."

Not surprisingly, print books will be obsolete, predicts Neeru Khosla, founder of CK12, a nonprofit open education source for free Web-based content in the form of digital “Flexbooks." Instead of print books, Khosla predicts students will use devices for learning.

Metaphorically speaking, the front of the classroom will disappear, says Christian Long, vice president of education at Cannon Design, a firm that works with school districts to redesign learning environments. "The classroom becomes more malleable," he says. "Learning is more messy and dynamic. There's no archetype of what belongs where in the room. That entire model is up for grabs depending on what the challenge is."


Professional guilds will replace teachers' unions, educators will become facilitators, and, if Oakland teacher Constance Moore had her way, large classes would be obsolete.

Watch the full interviews here.

[Co=produced with Matthew Williams.]