April 30, 2013
Past/Present/Future: Education Innovation

A strong educational system is required to foster future innovators.

Learning to read, write, and do arithmetic was not always mandated by the government. Innovative individuals saw the benefits of public education and fought hard to make it a reality. Indiana was a leader in this effort when, in 1816, the original Indiana Constitution took responsibility for the education of Hoosiers in Article 8:
“Knowledge and learning, general diffused throughout a community, being essential to the preservation of a free government; it should be the duty of the General Assembly to encourage, by all suitable means, moral, intellectual, scientific, and agricultural improvement; and provide, by law, for a general and uniform system of Common Schools, wherein tuition shall without charge, and equally open to all.”

However, equal access to education was largely restricted based upon race  and sex.

How has Indiana’s early emphasis on education impacted this state?

While students today still learn the basic reading, writing, and arithmetic curriculum, the education system in the United States has become much more sophisticated.  Since the dawn of the digital age, classrooms have increasingly become more technologically savvy. Innovative teachers are using gaming and online environments to teach students complex ideas, like anatomy.  Some schools are increasingly turning completely digital and replacing old textbooks with tablets. The state of Indiana is even awarding millions of dollars in grants to schools to go digital.

How will digitization change how we learn?

While grade school and high school are here to stay, the rise of charter schools, magnet schools and new approaches of teaching/learning continue to evolve. The future of universities as we know them also seems uncertain. The growing debt of students, the rise of open access online courses, and the decline of the tenure system all spell change for the future of higher education.

What do you want education to look like in the future? 


In April and May, Indiana Humanities is exploring the topic of “innovation,” as part of its Spirit of Competition theme. This post was written by Jenny Kalvaitis, an intern for Indiana Humanities and a Master’s candidate in Public History at IUPUI.

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