This isn’t his mother’s first grade class.
My son is seven years-old attends a public school in Oak Park, IL just outside Chicago. He reads ahead of most of his classmates, so he accesses a specialized online curriculum instead of the standard printed book. He uses a mobile device to compete in math games with kids all over the world. Much of his homework involves picking a subject he’s interested in, investigating it on his own, and then reporting back in a classroom discussion.
Although my son’s college education will likely be unrecognizable, we can speculate about changes that will take place over the next 10-15 years. The two main trends rapidly picking up steam are online learning and vocational training.
In recent years, we’ve witnessed the rise of massive open online courses (MOOCs), which are online classes aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web. MOOCs consist of a variety of materials from video lectures and assigned readings to quizzes and interactive user forums for instructors, students, and teaching assistants. The current technology, however, requires some tweaks.
“MOOCs are not working that well because people only take one class at a time and then don’t finish it because it isn’t compelling,” says Erica Orange, Executive Vice President of New York-based business consultancy The Future Hunters and member of DeVry University’s Career Advisory Board. “The next generation of MOOCs will be sensorily immersive, leveraging virtual reality to put students in the world they’re studying. Instead of having to memorize facts about the Civil War, for example, a student in a future MOOC will be on the battlefield.”
New modes of online learning will cater more effectively to Generation Z – or those students born roughly 1997-2012. “The oldest Gen Z-ers have been forced into an industrial model of school and we are seeing all these attention problems,” says Ms. Orange. “Their brains are wired differently and actually function better with input from a variety of sources.”
For the rest of the article, please visit the original piece at Time.com.