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Future School

Education: Real Time, Real World and Real Fun. Its time for the education revolution

Photo of Max Noble

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When students are interested in a topic, they learn more and they retain it longer.

It’s accelerated learning. That’s what Future School is all about. 

We don't push education...we pull it. Instead of redesigning education from the past, Future School is designed from the future backwards. It’s like nothing you have seen before...but it's a synthesis of everything in the world today.

What does the curriculum look like at Future School?

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If you love learning...welcome to your new playground. It's student-centric and self building. It’s real time in both scope and schedule. The input for the system comes from many different sources (hundreds). Two of which are the  student's interest and the teacher’s insights. The system asks users questions it needs to know to develop itself. The more users on the system, the better the system and the more current is stays. The input data drives evolving algorithms and thus makes each student's curriculum fully tunable. The number of tunable variables also increases with the students growth.

The smartphone is the main tool. A smartphone can be used for 100+ different tools or machines, like a frequency generator for example. It’s primary use is communication and project documentation.

What does a student's work look like at Future school?

A student's job is to work on their curriculum. Follow their computer organized schedule. Which also forms their Digital Resume or “portfolio” as they complete the tasks and projects. They are also training the AI with every-key stroke.

Workshop-Level 2

Their app gives them a selection of tasks and projects to work on next. Some projects are individual and some are team.  

Collaboration is an important future skill. The people who become good at it will have more opportunities. Common interests can attract like minded people and produce both passionate and meaningful projects. Local people can meet, play, work and learn together based on a common interests.

The curriculum system is also plugged into all the project platforms around the world. They can also be created internally to ensure the right mix of students and teachers to produce optimized project development testing.

Individual projects can be as small as researching a word's meaning or as large as building a car. Project selection by the student also determines the curriculum they need to complete the project and the project's time-frame. Students can also generate and input their own projects. This generates curriculum content and sets them up to be future teachers or mentors. The app also takes project data input from students to further build and refine the curriculum system. 

What does a teacher's job look like at Future School?

Teachers have a more meaningful job than just teaching...their focus is on guiding students. They observe and recommend. For example, if a teacher sees a student working on something which will require a quadratic equation to solve...they simply drop a quadratic equation “tag” in the student's profile via their smartphone app and it gets added to students curriculum input. This learning data is open to all the teachers, mentors and other staff. Students can have many mentors both globally and locally.  Mentors can check in with their students when every they have time. Online globally or “Inclass” locally. There are several other key staff member types to facilitate a full learning experience.

Me scheming with other evil geniuses

Teachers only teach what they are passionate about. Learning responsibility is defaulted to the students, in some ways students behave more like employees. And teachers play a “Manager” or “Team Leader” role similar to the real economy.

Teachers socialize and discuss their students, projects and the curriculum. Teacher collaboration makes every student's education better. 

What does the Future School facility look like?

Base School - Open Workspace

Like any app or platform...the curriculum is just a tool. Real learning comes from doing and then reflecting on what you have done. But, if people want to work on something, they need a space, materials and tools.

Base School is the solution. Like a high tech makerspace with an experimental academic agenda. The space is designed as a green tech playground for adults and young people. CEO’s say one of the top skills missing in graduates is creativity. So Future Schools are designed with creativity maximization in mind. Projects don't need to be profit driven. There are many other project “drivers” available.

The most critical part, which is not visible, is the organizational culture. The culture is global thinking and focuses on developing “Growth Mindset” in students. Students become master problem solvers and productive team members. The Base Schools are the flagship centers where all the education Research and Development happens.

The secondary locations are FuSchool's , and they can be anywhere! Anywhere which meets a project’s needs. It might be at home for an individual, if more tools are required it might be at a local FabLab. If a team needs really advanced equipment, then it will be on a university campus.

Another huge aspect of the system is the “Knowledge Network”. The network is the plugin slot for the global and local world organizations. There is a huge list of organizations plugged into the school. Diversity is very important. However,preference is given to organizations who are forward thinking and working on Positive Disruption.

Future School doesn't feel like a feels like an adventure.

It’s hard work and thus just as rewarding.

Additional Details

Current education problems solved by this system.

TMaxRnD (Talent Maximization Research and Development). It's my 4th school and it focuses on ages 4-18. Future school is going to be for them.

FaceBook Page 

Who is your idea designed for and how does it reimagine higher education to support the needs of tomorrow?

It's designed for people aged 18-24. But age is not a restriction, if you can do the work, you're in!

This idea emerged from:

  • A group brainstorm
  • A student brainstorm
  • An individual
  • A Design Jam or Workshop event

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

I have the spent 5 years working on this idea. I have lots of detail, but I'm not good at organizing the details. I need help convening the concept to people. So please ask me as many questions as possible. This will help define the system.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

I've built a couple spaces and run dozens of projects. Most of which did not meet my expectations. But I learned a lot.

Tell us about your work experience:

Engineering and Business background. Leadership and Change.
I focus most of my time on creative development. Green and disruptive technology innovation.
I also make (and break) things daily.

Find this idea inspiring? Add your own!


Join the conversation:

Photo of Andres Felipe

This is awesome!!

The idea of seeing the curriculum as a 'constant-learning system' with apps, machine learning, and algorithms, but at the same time with teachers, mentors, projects, the 'student -centered (or learner-centered)' approach, the digital portfolio .... There are great elements for a meaningful change for Future School.

I could follow your idea, and I saw myself on it. Nevertheless, for developing seems complex at the beginning, so I recommend you to have the vision of how you you want it to be in the near future, but also think on the early steps at the beginning ... Think more on a new early, lightweight experiment, and add basic elements to what is already available, for instance students in a MOOC or if you have access to a class in school try with them.

Perhaps my idea of an OPEN Media Lab can give you some ideas as well. I'm thinking on something complex, but I see it as a never ending process on which I'm still refining the structure ( The graph helped me to look it from other angles, so I recommend you to think visually on your Future school too).

PS: I see a lot of System Thinking behind this idea (I'm not an expert, but I'm starting to learn a little about System Dynamics, which might interest you and give you extra insights for this interesting project: and here is one of the first introductory documents:

Photo of Max

Andres Felipe Vera Ramirez , thank and yes the AI is very complicated...haha. Luckily, its designed to allow its own growth based on our objectives. So we just create he starting point and it grows, exponentially. Like Wikipedia...but a lot more fun.

Yep mooc's are great and they will be an important input for the AI. They don't work well with large classes. They are better utilized for individual learning. But this also depends on the ages of the students. I really like using TED or TED-ed in class. they short and engaging and I get more student question. Lecture based is the most traditional teaching method, however I have developed 13 others so far...some of which are much more effective at passing on knowledge.
I have over 8000 hours of experimental education development. Learning is very complex...its beyond our understanding in many cases. Here is where an AI would be helpful for us.

Your OPEN media concept is so on track. The challenge we face is filtering, sorting, tagging, recoging, selecting. all the information out there.

Step one is ,How do we form the input architecture of an AI to intake all media?

Photo of Andres Felipe

Hi Max Noble 

I'm not an expert technically (my complexity gap is huge: I constantly learn about the potential of many different things - like AI, Blockchain...-, and I don't know how to take the most from this opportunities). Nevertheless, I like to challenge myself with your question.

Let me share with something I learned recently from the studies I'm starting about System Dynamics."One feature that is common to all systems is that a system’s structure determines the system’s behavior." ... Since I believe in AI as way to augment humans - and not replacing us-, I would like to think on a architecture that allow us to increase the understanding of the structure of systems, starting from the behavior of how we get new capacities, of how we learn, of how we have fun, of how we inform ourselves. I'm not sure if this helps.

From your experience, from the point of view of someone who has we more experience than me, How do we form the input architecture of an AI for this purpose?

Photo of Max

Great question!

  "One feature that is common to all systems is that a system’s structure determines the system’s behavior." In the world of current AI technology, this is no longer constant. Exciting stuff, or scary depending how you feel about AI. haha

I think a great AI comes from a strong sense of purpose and a lot of real world experience that the AI is going to be applied to.

For example I have 8000+ hours of observing and facilitating people (4-74) learning and creating things. Classes, projects, events, workshops, lectures, hacks..etc. So i know how an AI could accelerate this process of creating. And the AI is only 10% of the story. What people actually learn or create is the 90%. The 2 systems local/global need to be synced to function fully.

The User Input is one of the easiest inputs (think "like" button). The Global Feed Input is the most challenging input due to global complexity. The Peer Selection Input is another important input, mainly from Mentors and Teachers. Their input is guiding and the AI has very little influence over it. And that's because the Student teacher relationship is the highest priority relationship. The beeter the relationship, the better the learning.

The EDU-AI is a "dumb" AI. It basically just a scheduler/organizer with some fancy tunability options. The architecture or "culture" of the AI is the fun part.

What can your imagination create?

Photo of Andres Felipe

Thank you !! ... This awesome!

For me, AI is exciting - although I have some concerns, mainly with weapons. In other words, In the Education sector, AI it's 100% exciting.

In you, I see "a strong sense of purpose and a lot of real world experience", so sky is the limit. Do you imagine the content you're seeing in class smoothly blended with games, movies or news (starting in any part of the network)? ... Could you imagine AI allowing you to meet people on the other side on the world when you were learning about some historic moment in the past? ... I agree, this is fun!

PS: Regarding AI, I have my concerns, but initiatives and experts like these are better addressing concerns than me:

Kind regards !

Photo of Max

 Joi Ito makes a good point that AI spans so many disciplines and thus cant be left to one organization to manage. But rather we need all segments of humanity to collaborate and shape it. Like any technology it's neutral. However I see how its being used right now by some people and their profit driven organizations and I'ts not in everyone's best interest.

Curriculum content can be anything. I gamify boring content, like the big 3: reading, writing and math. Those are skills that need to be practiced and the foundation of future learning.
As for other media I have experimented with it all. Step 1 is showing the kids that the media is out there, Step 2 is training them to find the information that they need to solve their current task or problem. The biggest challenge is training kids to maintain task focus, this will be the AI's job, to train Focus.

"Could you imagine AI allowing you to meet people on the other side on the world when you were learning about some historic moment in the past?" that's a cool idea!

Andres Felipe Vera Ramirez , Here is where I need your help. The largest input for future school is the Global Feed Input. Can you imagine how Open Media Lab could be "pluged in" to an education facility like Future School.

(FYI. Future School is only 10% of the education we need for future generations. 90% needs to be done by other organizations. )

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