The digital technological revolution offers new ways for classrooms to operate and challenges the concept of whether brick and mortar schools should exist at all. At the same time, the changes to society as we move from a knowledge-based economy to an intelligent and innovation-based economy challenges us to reassess the purpose of education. This chapter investigates an overarching counterfactual question, “What if compulsory schooling was invented in the twenty-first century”? We used a foresight methodology, based on “anticipation,” to conceptualize possible models for a future system of compulsory schooling arising from an analysis of contemporary catalysts for remodeling. While anticipation does not predict the future, the concept is that when a current system and a model of a system interplay, they impact each other to change both the present as well as possible futures. The design principles of cities, such as Freiburg (Germany), Poundbury (England), and Christie Walk (Australia), which have been developed around the idea of ecologically sustainable and decentralized cities, are focused on approaches to living that can provide a springboard for exploring the impact of changing employment, economic, technological, and social change on future schooling models. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) has opened up a new field of study to investigate neuroscience, which can inform teaching practice. Postmodern and indigenous ways of thinking provide different insights about how schooling might be reconceptualized. Alternative models of future schooling are conceptualized about (i) the role of the learner and teacher, (ii) design of a school, and (iii) the purpose of compulsory schooling. For each area of remodeling, deviations to current practices as well as paradigm shifts are framed as part of scenario building. Related questions include: how schooling might be different if it had been created today for the first time? How might it better meet the needs of contemporary society? What aspects of schooling now might be lost if it was only invented in the twenty-first century? What are possible side effects from any change ideas as part of research practice? A vital aspect of this chapter is to explore the concept of learning as a general concept versus the more specific concept of schooling. We are at the precipice of a new vision of schooling based on a counterfactual way of thinking about the future of schooling as we have known it in the West.
McGrath, J. and Fischetti, J. (2019), "What if Compulsory Schooling was a 21st Century Invention?", Jules, T. and Salajan, F. (Ed.) The Educational Intelligent Economy: Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and the Internet of Things in Education (International Perspectives on Education and Society, Vol. 38), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 87-105. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-367920190000038006Download as .RIS
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