Tony Gurr

Looking (further) back to (really) see the FUTURE!

In News & Updates (from the CBO), Our Schools, Our Universities, Uncategorized on 29/12/2011 at 12:31 pm

This morning I took a look at the Educational Predictions for 2060 from Sal Khan (he of “Academy” fame) – like many of us at this time of the year he is looking “back” and peeking “ahead”…and a 50-year “window” gives him a lot of scope!

Now, I like Sal, I do…I agree that he has done a great deal to get people thinking about “flipping” lecture theatres and universities (still not sure I like that buzz word-type phrase but more people should listen)!

In his YouTube vid, he tells us that by this time (2060, that is):

…active, discovery-based exploration and student creation will have replaced the “passive classroom model” 

…”seat and time-based credentials” will be a thing of the past and we will have shifted to an “achievement-based model” 

…employers will not care about “GPA” and focus instead on what learners have “done” 

…all teachers will have become “mentors” or “coaches” (will the word “lecturer” have been removed from the dictionary, acaba) 

…teachers will no longer “work alone” but work as “collaborative teams” – and use practices that promote recognition and greater prestige across the profession 

…falling hardware and internet costs will mean we have literacy levels approaching 99%

All of these would indeed be “great” (especially that last one…and the one just before that, too). The problem is that, on the whole, haven’t we been saying these things for YEARS?


Over the year (in this blog), I have done a few of these “futurist” posts and I have been guilty of doing  the exact same thing that Sal is doing (though not on YouTube). For example, I did a post on “what’s IN – what’s OUT” in education (and ELT) – and said a few things:



On (real) LEADERSHIP in education:



The problem is, in chatting to a few co-bloggers (especially here in Turkey) these past few days, many of these things just ain’t “true” – they ain’t happened this year, again!

I think we all recognise that many of these things are happening – but far too slowly and often only in places far far away! We read about these great initiatives, those wonderful projects and the amazing successes that many schools, colleges and universities are creating…but that often just “depresses” (especially around this time of year) us and disheartens us about our own “lot”!


But, wait…we can’t finish the year on that notewe are teachers and teachers are not quitters!

What Sal Khan is doing is a bit of “dreaming” – like others before him. Nothing wrong with that – dreaming keeps us all going!

Yes, we can say that we have heard all this before – especially if we look further back than the “YouTube epoch”.

OK…maybe we drop into the “internet library” rather than the bricks-and-mortar variety – but what Henri Amca was telling us is that it is what we “do” with what we “know” (and LEARN) that is important.

He said this in 1852!


Gifford Pinchot (who the bloody hell is that, I hear you say) built on what Henri Amca told us:

Pinchot, when he wasn’t saving forests, knew the power of moral imperatives and responsibility – and that change takes time!


Yes, we have a great many “highly-educated idiots” in our governments and ministries, we have a lot of “my-way-or-the-highway” leaders in our schools and colleges – and we may even have a few colleagues and learners that just do not “get” it, yet.

But here’s the deal – getting the New Year “blues” or playing the “blame-game” are not going to get us any further than we got this year – LEARNing, doing something with what we LEARN and taking responsibility for LEARNing others will!

Sal was right with one thing; the future (and 2012) will be about “creation”the creation of a preferred future in education. We know what that future “looks” like – and we have another year to help make it happen!

Besides, if WE give up…who else will do it?


Happy NEW YEAR – and remember KEEP UP THE GOOD FIGHT!

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