Ryan Seacrest and the future of education

I owe Ryan Seacrest an apology.

Until a few days ago, I thought he was the host of an award-winning reality show featuring florists. You know, the one where roses are handed out to the winning florists at the end of every episode. (Update: I was wrong about the premise of the rose show and its host.) I think I have been researching for too long. Maybe that is why I was surprised to discover Ryan Seacrest’s name among a lengthy list of articles about children and TV. I was even more surprised when I clicked on the related link and saw a classroom of the future already standing.

This new “classroom” turned out to be a multimedia broadcast center named Seacrest Studios, a place where technology and hands-on learning could meet in harmony. A space that could provide the technology that offers new opportunities for communication among a community, which fosters learning, and hopefully, healing for the people it serves. And this room looks like it holds a whole lot of fun, built in a place where the word “fun” would not typically come to mind, which is part of the reason the center was created. Did I mention the microphones, interviews, and musical performances?

For a few moments, I stopped thinking about accreditation, assessment, learning outcomes, MOOC’s, the Common Core State Standards, and other topics that are at the forefront of many people’s minds in education (and rightfully so). I was staring at the joyful, useful technology in that multimedia broadcast center on my computer screen. So this is what a classroom of the future might look like—a place that offers technology to be introduced and used to communicate, a place that provides an opportunity to learn and practice communication skills, and a place that gives creative outlets to the people it serves.

An education is only as meaningful as our ability to communicate with one another—no matter where we find one another or ourselves.

The Ryan Seacrest Foundation has built multimedia broadcast centers for kids who are patients in six hospitals to date.

I think the Ryan Seacrest Foundation deserves a rose.

For parents who would like an introduction to the topics and discussions that are shaping the future of education, I recommend checking out NCTE’s (National Council of Teachers of English) and NCTM’s (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics)  web sites.

Shannon Mullally is an editor for School Zone Publishing, 
in Grand Haven, Mich. She has a doctorate in English and Creative Writing. Her Twitter handle is @SMMullally. The views expressed here are her own and do not necessarily represent those of her employer.