Technology is a curveball that educators have yet to square up. Promises of “interactive learning” often give way to reality: a pupil is more likely to use an iPad for Minecraft than the latest educational app, just as they learned to spell “BOOBS” on their calculator back in the day.
But with proper deployment, technology could be a boon for learning. Tech isn't going anywhere, after all, and its impact on the classroom has been largely detrimental to this point.
Here, industry experts share their optimistic visions for the future of education, technology and all:
1. Seth Kravitz, CEO of PHLEARN
“Online learning will switch from being a punchline to a respected option: While online learning has been around since the late 90s, it's still not widely viewed as being both valuable and legitimate compared to in-person learning. Online degree programs are still joked about in the traditional media and many graduates of online for-profit schools find their diplomas to not be worth the digital paper their printed on. However, Gen Z and younger are growing up in a world with the concept of online vs offline doesn't even exist, since their world is constant digital interaction back to their earliest memories, including their activities at school. They view online education as far more reputable than older generations. Add in the 2019 college admission scandals and you have a recipe for non-traditional online education becoming a much more legitimate option.”
2. David S. Wills, Owner of TED-IELTS
“The future of education is, unsurprisingly, digital. As the internet has facilitated seamless communication of people around the planet, the physical divides between us will soon disappear. We can already see that millions of young Chinese are being taught by tutors in Western countries through webcams, and this trend will only continue. Apps are also streamlining learning processes to make the acquisition of information far faster and more enjoyable (thanks to gamification).”
3. Aakansha Lam, Founder of Energy Scalable
“The future of education will be shaped by assistive technologies but driven by social change and improved energy infrastructure. 188 million children still go to schools with no electricity as per a UNDESA study. That means, no lights or fans, no heat or comfort, no internet, no computers or digital learning tools, low staff and student retention, less skilled workforce, and thus a weaker economy, especially given accessibility challenges and expected shortage of special education teachers. The future of education lies in combination of reliable energy access and adaptive educational technologies to reach vulnerable social groups, including those with disabilities.”
4. Chris Gaughan, Senior Project Manager for Early-Adopter
“I believe the future of education is immersive learning: a unique philosophy around how education can intersect with the emerging technologies of augmented and virtual reality. I believe that high quality experiences, developed in collaboration with disciplinary specialists, that balance the education goals of educators with the natural inclinations of the learners desire to explore, build, and discover, allows ed-tech developers, like us at Early Adopter, to craft unique experiences that teach in a whole new way.”
5. Jim Czulewicz, CEO of JumpStart Academy
“The classroom is becoming very integrated offering educators to combine gamification of education with game-based learning curriculum delivery to elevate engagement inside and outside the classroom. Because many schools today don’t have access to STEM content and curriculum framework, students are often not engaged which creates huge gaps in the current education system. High-quality games provide a learning edge for immersive gameplay before, during, and after school in subjects like science, math, coding, geography, early learning, and beyond can bridge those gaps. Gamification and online learning will continue to enhance the learning experience for all global students and offer access to enriching content that will close learning gaps for motivated students.”
6. Sarah Boisvert, Founder of FabLabHub
“In our research with 200 manufacturers, it is clear employers are looking for specific skills, not degrees. Blue collar jobs have become digital new collar jobs in 3D Printing, robotics, lasers, AI and more across industries. Today Harvard’s continuing education department is issuing more certificates than all other departments combined are granting degrees. Students are pursuing new learning models online that are less time-intensive and more affordable.
Our conclusion: college degrees will be required for specific careers like brain surgeon, laser physicist, therapist, teacher. But New Collar jobs will be filled with candidates holding micro-certifications like Digital Badges. “
7. Dr. Jim Frankel
“The future of education is highly individualized learning. With the technology available to schools and students, there is no reason for a student to wait for the rest of their peers to master a given topic. Teachers will become more like learning coaches than their current roles. Classroom interactions in the future will be purely project based – focusing on problem-solving. Students will learn the required knowledge individually, and apply it in groups. Creativity opportunities, especially in the arts, are already at the students' fingertips and will continue to improve in both functionality and application to other subject areas – making STEAM learning the norm rather than the exception.”
8. Amir Nathoo, Co-Founder and CEO of Outschool
“The future of education is informal and diverse. Informal and diverse learning is increasingly important in a globalized economy where people must cultivate differentiated skills to be successful. The internet has enabled new sources of learning outside of formal institutions and core curriculum subjects such as Outschool, Khan Academy, Wikipedia and Youtube. Parents who have grown up with the internet have new expectations about what their kids need to learn and how. They are increasingly turning to new sources of learning for their kids.”
9. Betty Vandenbosch, Chancellor of Purdue University Global
“The future of education is directly tied to technology so everyone can have access to precisely the type of degree that they need- regardless of their geographic location. An online higher education program can provide motivated working adults with the skills that they need to advance a career and lifetime earnings. An on-demand model allows students to learn when they are ready and able without wasting time commuting back and forth.
Higher education is undergoing a massive transformation and disruption because the age of traditional students (18 to 24 years old) is dropping, generations of students are burdened by debt so future students are more discerning about costs and employment outcomes.”
10. Vielka Hoy, Founder and CEO of Bridge to College
“There are a few things happening at the same time that will hopefully converge in good ways. California has adopted the first-ever computer science standards, including standardizing the learning of computational thinking and the use of maker-spaces, and universities are leaning into Science and Technology Studies and data science programs. This means that students across the state are learning more about computer science and its application, while we are studying its impacts, especially in social institutions. As industry moves more into the use of various tech tools, schooling is doing the same.”
11. Daniel Franklin, Ph.D., Board Certified Educational Therapist
“It is obvious to anyone who works in education, that out of necessity we are moving toward higher levels of individualized instruction. This revolution is necessary to accommodate the vast neurodiversity we now see in our classrooms. All students regardless of their profound differences must acquire the skills and capacities they need to navigate the rapidly changing and highly complex society they are entering. Higher levels of individual instruction are required to equip all students with the skills and capacities they need.”
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