November 7, 2012

Who Needs School Anyway?

Hundreds of people gathered for MITX’s annual FutureM event in Cambridge from October 23-26. Corey McPherson Nash (COREY) was honored to speak at the 2012 FutureM conference where many of Boston’s innovators in mobile, media, marketing, product development and business advancement come together to discuss the future of many diverse fields.

COREY organized the panel discussion that addressed “Who Needs School Anyway?” Dr. James Tracy, Michael McPherson, and Kul Wadhwa spoke on the new models of education and how students entering college in the coming years will experience drastic changes. Moira Kelly, President and Executive Director of Explo moderated the discussion.

FutureM audience

Dr. James Tracy, Cushing Academy Headmaster led the discussion in addressing how new models of education were changing and how “high schools would have to instill learning discipline and broad education to support new models.” He also stated, “the value proposition of colleges is going to dissolve over the next 25 years and there will be a void that will need to be filled by online institutions, a new hierarchy.”

Michael McPherson, Partner and Creative Director at Corey McPherson Nash spoke of the role colleges would play including being an “anywhere”, “anytime”, “you at the center” institution. Traditional colleges must reduce costs and improve outcomes without damaging their brands and this is where online and hybrid learning come into play. He explained five different models of online learning, some that included completely online while others involved combining both online with traditional.

Check out Michael’s presentation:

Kul Wadhwa, Head of Mobile at Wikimedia Foundation, brought a diverse perspective in his position at Wikimedia. Wikipedia’s largest demographic is in education and is constantly expanding. He stated that, “Access is a key theme in the future of education, and mobile is the fastest growing channel.”

Kul Wadhwa @ FutureM

The discussion also went on to address what role corporations would take and how they will be the credentialing authorities. Michael McPherson spoke on professors of the future and how they would have to promote themselves as a brand, almost as if they were a pop star trying to gain more fans. There will also be a new role for educational counselors, outside of institutions, to guide an individual’s education. Dr. Tracy also spoke about how online learning forces more participation from students. There will no longer be a wallflower child, sitting in the back of the room unengaged, instead, intense participation and multiple channels will thoroughly engage and heighten a student’s learning and abilities.

FutureM panel

The entire panel agreed that there are many nuances to be worked out and tweaked for this new model in education. An audience member also brought up an excellent point of how it may be possible for the power structure in education to shift away from the US and from English, as the primary language of learning. Wadhwa agreed with this student and thought there would be a shift in what would happen to learning online and that “the real unknown” includes “lots of global forces that will disrupt the market.”

There are still many unanswered questions on the entire model, however developments in education are our source of greatest hope for bringing every mind online to address our world’s problems. There is an untapped power and latent genius lurking beyond the bounds of traditional education and those that see and understand this will be more successful in the future.


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