April 27, 2017
Ryan Johnson is in high school at DePaul Cristo Rey High School and working at StrivePartnership as part of her school's Corporate Work Study Program.

An Interview with a Cincinnati Student About the Future of Learning

As part of my ongoing series of interviews with students about the future of learning, I talked with Ryan Johnson. Ryan is in high school at DePaul Cristo Rey High School and working at StrivePartnership as part of her school’s Corporate Work Study Program.

Thinking back on your own journey in education, how has school changed over time?

Overtime, school has changed in a variety of different ways, socially and educationally. From kindergarten all the way to sixth grade, I went to a strict catholic private school that mainly focused on literacy. The curriculum was tough, using words that were too advanced for my age along with the pressure of being perfect in every class. But it really shaped me as the student that I am today. To some, that would be just what they need, teachers who make sure you’re focusing on nothing but education, but for me, I needed a change in scenery and the way I learned. Instead of being spoken to and not grasping the concept, I needed more hands-on engagement.

When I began high school that changed for me. I went from feeling pressured to feeling challenged in a good way. Something I realized when I entered high school was the social aspect that came with my education. In middle school, we had cliques and popular groups but the second I stepped into high school, it was the exact opposite from the movies. Being that my school is pretty small, our classes of about 26 are mixed with all different types of people from different backgrounds and there is no such thing as the outcast or the preps, we’re all just people trying to get through high school together.

Why do you think these changes occurred?

I think these changes occurred with age and maturity. Maybe at the time I needed to be sat down and taught, just listening to what my teachers were saying but it wasn’t fun for me like it is in high school. At the time, I didn’t need all that pressure to be perfect. What I needed was hands-on learning, being taught in a way where I wasn’t just spoken to, I could see how things work or figure it out for myself.

Socially, I think everyone has matured a little bit since junior high. Nobody likes feeling left out and that’s kind of why I love my school because everyone has a place and we’re all just trying to learn before we get sent off to college. I know some people aren’t as fortunate to experience high school this way but I am glad to be a part of my school’s community.

In Forecast 4.0, we talk about trends and drivers of change shaping the future of education. Those drivers are:

  • Optimized Selves: This driver is about discovering new human horizons and looks at trends and developments in neuro and motion science, wearable technologies and sensors, to help us have a deeper understanding of who we are.
  • Labor Relations 2.0: Focuses on humans and the workplace as artificial intelligence and automation reshape work.
  • Alternate Economies: Explores where we might fit in as we have more and more choice, and looks at trends in people’s value sets and the different types of economies that have emerged (maker, creative, sharing, etc).
  • Shifting Landscapes: Considers how we will have to innovate in volatile conditions as the world contends with climate change, the changing nature of work, and increased volatility.
  • Smart Transactional Models: Explores how new models for governance and authority might emerge through a desire for more transparency and technologies such as the blockchain.

What driver do you feel will have the most impact on learning in the next 10 years?

I think that the Shifting Landscapes driver will have the most impact in the next ten years because the world is always changing and education should revolve around the constant changes in our society. For example, if new technologies arise and open up a new field of work, the only way anyone to actually be able to be qualified for that line of work would be if they had a degree in that area.

What will education look like / how will education be different in 10 years because of that driver?

In ten years, hopefully education will look more structured and one’s learning is more personalized and caters to that person’s specific needs. At the moment, we are sticking to old ways. At my school we are constantly thriving technology wise and learning how to use programs such as Word, PowerPoint and Excel formally, so in the future we already have those skills down.

What is your own vision for the future of education?

My vision for the future of education is to have everyone be able to access what sources they need in order to succeed career wise. A lot of people struggle economically and miss out on amazing educational opportunities that could be given to them if they had the money. Hopefully, as time goes on and learning becomes more and more valuable, educators will open their eyes and see that it is the prime time to teach and even more of a prime time to learn. We are constantly revolutionizing and it’s very important to always be keeping up with the times.

Are you interested in discussing your thoughts about the future of education? Let us know! Jason is always looking for students to talk to about #FutureEd.

Jason Swanson

Written by: Jason Swanson

Jason Swanson is the Director of Strategic Foresight at KnowledgeWorks. He has a strong passion for studying the future and believes that studying the future is empowering.

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