Getting Smart Predictions Revisited

Hard to believe its been three years since writing Getting Smart.  The book included a list of 1, 5, and 10 year predictions.  We thought it was time to revisit the predictions and provide an update.

In one year…(2012)



Common Core State Standards will spark a new wave of venture and philanthropic investment in digital content, resulting in engaging and innovative adaptive content libraries and mobile apps. Big time.

In five years . . .(2015)



The Common Core State Standards and Race to the Top assessments will frame this decade of U.S education the way NCLB did the 2000s. Yes, but Common Core support is fraying around the edges faster than I anticipated and there will probably be more than 12 different tests in 2015.
Low-cost blended private schools will serve close to two hundred million students in India, China, and Africa. More than half will use low-cost mobile learning technology. Wow, that was optimistic.  It’s conceivable in 2020.
Science will confirm the obvious about how most boys learn and active learning models will be developed in response using expeditions, playlists, and projects. Maybe by 2020. Maybe active options will be best for many learners.
Most learning platforms will feature a smart recommendation engine, similar to iTunes Genius, that will build recommended learning experiences for students. There will be a few in 2015 but platforms have not progresses as fast as I expected.
Information from keystroke data will unlock the new field of motivation research, yielding insights about what causes students to persist through difficult work. Individual app developers are getting smart about motivation, but we’re still five years out from multi-app data collection and inference.
Instant feedback from learning games, simulations, and virtual environments will be widely used, resulting in more persistence and time on task. Yes, most K-8 students in the U.S. will spend part of every week learning in games, simulations, and adaptive instruction systems by 2015.
All U.S. students will have access to online courses for Advanced Placement, high-level STEM (science and technology) courses, and any foreign language. Well, it won’t be all but it will be more than 80%.
Half of states and districts will stop buying print textbooks and will shift to customizable digital texts and open education resources. Maybe; more than half of U.S. districts will have shifted to predominantly digital instructional materials by the  2016-17 year.
Innovative mobile learning models used in India will be adopted by several U.S. districts. Does WiziQ count?  This will take five more years but it will happen.
Blended high-tech, hands-on school models in urban areas will leverage community resources, including employers, public transit, museums, theaters, and parks. Yes, but a fraction of what there should be—time to step up urban flex school development.
Several states will use performance contracting, charter schools being an example today, to authorize and manage the relationship with all schools and education providers. Still hoping.
Fifty of the largest one hundred districts will, on a regular basis, close struggling schools and replace them with blended charter or contract schools, expand access to online courses, and embrace school networks. If we’re generous in our ratings, it’s possible—it’s clear that this portfolio approach is the only path forward.
Budget woes will cause hundreds of districts and most charter networks to move to blended models, shifting to online instruction for a portion of the day to boost learning and operating productivity. Yes, it’s happening fast.
Those learning at home through homeschooling and virtual charter schools will double to six million students, or about 10 percent of all students. With states hitting the brakes on virtual charters this won’t happen by 2020.

In ten years….(2020)



Most U.S. students will attend a blended school where students report to a physical space and most learning happens online. Probably, at least we can say that the majority of U.S. students will learn in high access environments before 2020.
With a decade of data, second generation recommendation engines will drive tutoring applications that are more effective than one-on-one sessions with a live tutor. Still think it will happen, at least in math.
Despite generally flat funding for education, the U.S. K–12 instructional materials and related technologies market will grow by more than 50 percent—an explosion of digital services will offset the decline of print. Still think it will happen.
More than $10 billion in school facilities will be sold for redevelopment because major remodels of antiquated buildings will become cost prohibitive. Still think it will happen.
There will be several do-it-yourself (DIY) high school options with an engaging merit badge sequence that will allow students to take ownership of and direct their own learning—with lots of teacher support, but when, where, and how students need it. Still think it will happen.

Tom - Speaking Engagements

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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Jim Cantoni

Tom, good stuff...does persistence pay off? I think so.
I can make a few or your predictions come true in 2014 faster with your collaboration. "Most learning platforms will feature a smart recommendation engine, similar to iTunes Genius, that will build recommended learning experiences for students."
How? By creating and applying recent discoveries in neuroscience, I discovered a way to intrinsically motivating youth in minutes, not months. I need help with scaling our national award winning active learning 21st century skill game and personal LifeBook™ that discovers what inspires a child into an online learning platform. You are the go to guy in this space. Together we can change the world. Email or call me at 860.657.0770 to see a private video of our third pilot and first with inner city school children. Combined with my "Getting SMART Goal Setting" - inspired by you - the results are "Purple Cow" remarkable as they use our 5 P's of Transformational Experiential Engagement™.

Ray Blanchard

We need apps that can read and grade essays and written (typed) test responses ASAP! Not enough people to grade Common Core ELA exams


Tom Vander Ark

watch Lightside webinar 1/29 12ET on auto essay scoring

Tom Vander Ark

also read story of Jeff Pense & WriteToLearn

Tom Vander Ark

check out Lightside webinar on auto essay scoring 1/29 12 ET

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