Peter Wailes and the Future of Education

Professional Development

Peter Wailes and the Future of Education

Jul 12, 2012

FACT OR FICTION: “The writer may very well serve a movement of history as its mouthpiece, but he cannot of course create it.” Somewhat ominous words from Mr. Karl Marx (the original) that Mr. Peter Wailes puts to the test in The Life and Times of James Roebuck, Part 1, a fictional account of young James’s education in the not-too-distant future. All of your standard trekkie dreams come true here, fleshed out with acumen by Mr. Wailes, a self-described British “...marketer ....cook” and so on. We’re intrigued by his notion of future teachers.

He baldly declares, “human teachers were inconsistent, and not always great... So when the new educational bodies started recording the best lectures for every subject from around in the world, annotating them in 3D, and enhancing them with CG, what could the schools do to fight back?” Mr. Wailes brandishes his artistic license (and perhaps a little singularity theory) to avoid explaining how world-class holographic lecturers replace observing, empathetic humans but his idea that knowledge will one day become completely democratized is worth digging a little deeper.

For what it’s worth, Mr. Wailes imagines teachers will survive as a “minority profession” with a single expert teacher overseeing thousands of students, but we expect that the profession will certainly pivot before then. What do you think the future of teaching entails in the short and long-term? Shoot us a note and we’ll share it with the edSurge community!

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