This page features excerpts from "CPI NAN," a scenario and artifact created by Kentucky high school student Savannah VanGotum, and her own reflections on her work.
My daughter Maria's education experience is so different than mine. When I graduated from high school, I had been going to school five days a week with kids my same age for 14 years.
Maria started "pre-learning" when she was three and a brain scan revealed her pathway. She loves art, specifically theatre and performing arts. How they could tell when she still had so much to learn at the small age of three, I’m not sure. When Maria turned four, she started skills-building school and that was the only time in her life she attended school five days a week like I did. On her fifth birthday, she started 1st year school. I assumed it would be much harder since she would start school at home and my husband and I would be gone working throughout the day. However, it wasn’t hard at all. The first day we went to the office to enroll her and we were given a CPI NAN.
Describe how you came up with your ideas for what the future of learning might be like.
I knew the world was obviously advancing, but I didn’t realize just how quickly it has already advanced. I don't know if the future my story explores could happen in fifteen years, but I wanted it to be based on things I believe the future will be like: no school buildings, technology at younger ages, and robotic tutors.
Everyone gets a CPI NAN at the start of 1st year school. CPI stands for Creative Psychological Instructor. NAN stands for nanny, but shortened because we still have nannies and nanas in this advancing world. NAN is a robot. Her head and hands look like a human, but the rest of her is all robot: her brain, legs, and arms. He or she is assigned to a child for the school year. This is their career, so to speak. They work five hours a day at your house to watch, listen, and instruct your child during learning hours.
What’s your preferred future of learning? What would you like to see the next generation of students experience?
I don't think schools will actually be gone any time soon, but in the future I do see fewer teachers and more technology. I hope the next generation of students can experience the wonders of having hands-on learning experiences and all the amazing things you get to try and learn like I have had at the Makerspace at my school. I'd like to see schools do more competitions that involve future thinking and have teachers help us explore the advancing world.
It's hard to believe that Maria doesn't "go to school" the way that I did. She works from home with her NAN four out of five days of the week. Every Friday, she meets with her teacher and a small group of students to communicate and make sure everyone is progressing. Maria is advancing quite quickly and she loves learning. I wonder, though, how is this going to change Maria? This has never been done before. How will this affect her life in fifteen years?
The last line of your scenario was “How will this affect her life in fifteen years?” How would you answer that question? What do you think the effects, both positive and negative, of something like NAN might be for young people?
One positive affect of NAN might be to reduce bullying. I believe she would stop some children's fear of going to school and being bullied. With NAN, kids wouldn't have to try and be cool or popular all the time. Also NAN is your own personal tutor. Kids won't have the chance to fail or get left behind because they would be working at there pace with someone to help them every step of the way. The negative part of NAN is that kids won't get the social interaction they need every day. However, having a NAN wouldn't stop kids from playing sports and having hobbies It would allow kids more time to try new things where they can get the social interaction.
Do you think young people would benefit from being taught to think about the future in general? Why or why not?
I do believe more youth and young adults should think about the future. There are so many young adults in this world who are graduating from high school and are becoming adults and have not for one second thought about their own futures and education past K-12.
I hope you continue to push students to think about the future. Being in the Makerspace has taught me so many things about the world and about myself. I didn't even know how to use any kind of tool when I started the class but by the end of it I could build anything you could ask for. I also wasn't thinking too much about my future until we stared these activities. They were actually exciting and new and let us be creative. Makerspace allowed me to make friends from every pathway in school with kids I had never talked to before, kids I didn't think I would have anything in common with but in the end we all had a greater understanding of our futures.