Savannah VanGotum: CPI NAN

Topics: Education Policy, ESSA, Future of Learning

Savannah VanGotum was 1 of 3 student winners of the Imagine FutureEd student design competition, which had students envision the future of learning.

Reflections from Imagine FutureEd™

This blog series features highlights from interviews with the winners of Imagine FutureEd, an online student design competition that KnowledgeWorks hosted in partnership with Teach the Future. Excerpts from the winning scenarios, additional reflections from their creators, and educator resources ca be found at the Imagine FutureEd™ website.

Savannah VanGotum is a recent high school graduate from Trigg County, Kentucky. The scenario and artifact she submitted to Imagine FutureEd™ depicted the CPI NAN, and individual robot tutor every child is assigned at age five that enables students to learn on their own and find social opportunities separate from learning environments. The scenario is written from the perspective of a parent who reflects on how differently children learn in 2027 and questions how those differences will affect young people long term. Below is an excerpt of an interview with Savannah, edited for length and clarity.

Describe how you came up with your ideas.

My school has a Makerspace class, and that’s where we worked on the competition. We did activities in class to get us to think about how fast technology, social media, human interactions, and schooling has already changed. We then did activities that helped us think about what the future of education might be like. I do believe the world will one day have robots that will help us do more than they currently do today. I believe people will still have jobs and that the world won’t become an awful place to live; everyone will just be more intelligent. I wanted to end the story in a way that help those who read it to think about how different the world might be and how much it might be changing within the next fifteen years.

The narrator of your scenario is a parent, who reflects on how Maria’s education is quite different than the parent’s. How can we make sure that people understand changes that are occurring and don’t feel overwhelmed or left out of making decisions about them?

I don’t necessarily know how we could control the speed at which things are changing. And although I do think it is essential for everyone to keep up with those changes, we can’t spoon feed adults. To keep them from getting overwhelmed, schools should start a group for parents to discuss things outside of a school setting to give them a place to ask questions and be honest about how they feel about the changes that are happening.

Do you think that thinking about the future of learning is important? Why or why not?

Thinking about the future of learning is most definitely very important. Most of us will grow up and have our own children and we need to think about what we want it to be like and what might happen. Also, education is the foundation and the passageway to who we will be and what our future will be like.

What are your major takeaways after completing the Imagine FutureEd™ competition?

I started to realize how important thinking about the future of education actually is and how it will affect the rest of my life. The world is evolving and changing constantly. When it comes to education, it’s good to know what those changes are and what you can do to help improve them.

KnowledgeWorks is hosting a student design competition, Imagine FutureEd. Visit the Imagine FutureEd™ website to read excerpts from Savannah’s scenario and more reflections from her on the process of thinking about the future of learning.