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Everyone knows what happened to Blockbuster. After missing the boat on streaming videos online to companies like Netflix, their outdated revenue model led them to bankruptcy. Technology reduced the friction between customers and the product and Blockbuster couldn’t adapt in time. So, what happens when technology removes the friction from education? What is the Netflix of education? What will education look like in 2050, towards the end of my career?

While schools as we know them may have more in common with the industrial age than the current era, they have grown to serve a major societal function and are not going to disappear. But it seems clear to me that the classroom / school system of the future is going to be VERY different from what’s out there right now. Just take a look at all of the crazy stuff documented by Third Teacher (scroll all the way down to the bottom to see articles and examples).

What can I do to prepare myself for this? I can see how radically different some classroom spaces and communities are from mine, but how do I get there from here? Insert proverb here about the relationship between a journey of a thousand miles and a single step.

I started with the following questions:

What is my expertise? What are my current obligations and responsibilities? Where do my expertise / current obligations overlap with what is coming? Where are my expertise / obligations going to be redundant? What skills / experiences do I lack? Therefore where do I need to grow?

I’ve got buckets of pedagogical expertise in history and geography. I play with all kinds of new technology tools to see which ones best fit the learning experiences I’ve designed. I can build strong emotional connections with students and classroom communities. I lead diverse teams of teachers. In all of these arenas I don’t have to be the center of attention and am willing to try new approaches to problems. (Although my first response to every idea that I don’t come up with is “no”…I’m working on that.)

What do I lack? I don’t have experience teaching flipped / blended / online courses, and I am only just starting to jump into teaching truly open ended inquiry. I’ve never had success getting students to blog. I’ve seen all sorts of global connections with other classes but have never tried that, nor have I ever truly involved outside experts.

Time to get cracking!