The limits are no longer the technology; the limits are between our ears (ok, and our pocketbooks).
My old surfing buddy Carl Kuck used to say that the only limits are between our ears, and I’ve purloined his phrase for my nefarious purposes. This comes from the observation that Arthur C. Clarke made that “any truly advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic“. I want to suggest that we now have magic: we can summon up demons (ok, agents) to do our bidding, and peer across distances with crystal balls (or web cams). We really can bring anything, anywhere, anytime. If we can imagine it, we can make it happen if we can marshal the vision and the resources. The question is, what do we want to do with it?
Really, what we do in most schooling is contrary to what leads to real learning. I believe that technology has given us a chance to go back to real learning and ask “what should we be doing?”. We look at apprenticeship, and meaningful activity, and scaffolding, and realize that we need to find ways to achieve this. (Then we look at most schooling and recoil in horror.)
So, let’s stop letting the ways in which our cognitive architecture limits us (set effects, functional fixedness, premature evaluation) and think broadly about what we could be doing, and then figure out how to make it so. I’ll suggest that some components are slow learning, distributed cognition, social interaction, and meta-learning (aka 21st Century skills). What do you think might be in the picture?