School 2050

In preparation, by Roger Broadie and Mal Lee. Due for publication late 2022.

When Caxton started printing books in 1475 it would have been a far-sighted prophesy to realise what it would lead to 400 years later.

By 1875 the spread of printed information had led to the industrial revolution and the improvement of farming, science was making huge strides in understanding, the nature of work for the majority of people had radically changed creating towns and cities and the idea of the working day, children were no longer spending all their time working to support the family as mass schooling had been invented. It had become the expectation that everyone could participate in national culture and debate if they wished to.

The Apple II and Commodore PET computers appeared in 1977. By 1982 the BBC computer caught the imagination of thousands non-technically trained people who wanted to investigate what computers could do.

We are now 50 years on from this. There are several reasons why the digital revolution will cause even greater change to society than printing did. The spread of information is global and almost instantaneous. Digital connects people to this information and to other people, allowing them to interact over distances and across time zones. Digital provides cheap and easily accessible tools that even young people can learn to use. And these tools can create and analyse in ways previously only possible with the human brain.

The deep impacts of this technology are beginning to cause deep changes in society and life. And it will not take 400 years for these changes to become reality. By 2050 the changes will very likely have forced even the most resistant of societal institutions to change in response - schools.