education of the future?


I'm reading a novel right now (as a potential comp for my work-in-progress). I'll be honest, it's not my favorite. It's called The Last Christian. It's a futuristic story of a woman who grew up sheltered as a missionary kid in the jungle of Papua New Guinea and then comes "home" to an America that's entirely nutty with technology (people are having transplants to silicon brains to extend their lives perpetually) and religion is literally extinct.

I think I actually made that sound better than the book does. (Mean, Kelley.)

The only thing that I've really enjoyed in the book is a brief conversation where the author imagines what education looks like a hundred or so years in the future. A college professor is describing how his tests work. Essentially, he covers material and then his students write a series of insightful questions. That's it. He grades their questions. Why? Because the idea is that facts are dying, even dead. Everyone has instant access to essentially every piece of data mankind has recorded from their computer or smartphone NOW. So in a hundred years, the author imagines, everyone has the access via a neural/visual implant. So what's the point of really "knowing" anything? Why know the names of the states or the order of the presidents or the year of a historical event or how to multiply two-digit numbers if you can find the answer immediately? Essentially you already "know" anything and everything that's available on the internet.  The idea is that the most important skill for students is to learn HOW to find information effectively and HOW to phrase questions in a way that leads them to draw conclusions and extrapolate FROM facts.

Maybe this isn't new to people in the education field, but I loved it. Kids (and everyone for that matter) must learn that facts are not 100% truth. "The truth" is too easy to manipulate -- take the wrong single sentence from my writing and I'm a very different person than the sum of all my writings would honestly indicate. (Poor George Washington. Poor Thomas Jefferson. Poor Ben Franklin.)

Teaching children HOW to determine what they believe and HOW to find the answers to their questions seems much more important as information/facts/data become more and more available with less and less effort. 

And trivia games will be way less fun once Jarvis is in my competitors' heads.