Converging Technologies A K12 Education Vision

James G. Batterson and Alan T. Pope, NASA Langley Research Center

Over the next 15 years, converging technologies (CT), the synergistic interplay of nano-, bio-, information, and cognitive technologies (NBIC) will enable significant improvements in how, where, and what is taught in grades K-12 and will also support the lifelong learning required by a rapidly developing technological economy. Through national and state standards, half the schools in the United States will be teaching science based on the unifying principles of science and technology (NRC 1995) rather than the isolated subjects taught since before the industrial revolution. New tools for learning such as neuroscience sensors, increased quality of Internet service via guaranteed bandwidth, and a new understanding of biological feedback for self-improvement will provide new, highly efficient learning methods for all, in particular guaranteeing that all children can read by age five. Students will no longer be dependent on rigid regimentation of the classroom or schoolhouse and class schedule, as they will have courses and supplemental information available to them from numerous venues around the clock. Consider the following scenario.

The year is 2015. You enter a public school. From the outside, it appears to be much the same physical structure as schools were for 50 years. But inside is a totally different world. Teachers are busily meeting with one another and engaged in e-learning to stay current on the latest developments in education and their disciplines. They are contributing their experiences to a databank that parses the data into information and places it on an information website for other teachers and researchers to use. Science teachers are working in a cross-disciplinary program that has been particularly fruitful — NBIC — a wonderful stew of nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and cognitive technologies. NBIC has allowed these teachers to productively access and continually learn new information through advances in small biological and neurological sensors and the biofeedback they produce. A number of special needs students are working in rooms, receiving cues from a wireless network that are appropriate for their individual cognitive and physical needs as developed through NBIC. Advances in NBIC research allow for better meeting the requirements of more and more special needs students each year with fewer human resources. Each student in the community can interact with other students worldwide to share information, language, and culture. While the student population of more than 50 million students has been joined by millions of parents as lifelong learning requirements are realized, no new buildings have been required, as many students take advantage of 24/7 availability of coursework at their homes, work areas, and at the school. The capital investment savings have been redirected into increased pay to attract and retain the highest quality teachers and curriculum developers. The line between education and recreation has blurred as all citizens visit the school building throughout the day to better their lives.

0 0

Post a comment