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. Richard Wells, Founder of EduWells
“School becomes an exploratory place where the structures are designed for each individual to learn and develop their strengths. My school has allocated 4 hours a week to ‘following your passions’ and another 4 hours a week to reflection and peer review of current authentic learning. The New Zealand government is already trialing a micro credential system built on the blockchain to accredit individual skills and competencies as they are mastered.”
3. Tom Vander Ark, CEO of Getting Smart
“The future of learning will combine short skill sprints (with new capabilities often recognized by badges) and extended challenges that result in valuable public products. Relationships with teachers will remain critical, but they’ll serve as advisors not content providers. Advisors and algorithms will inform next steps with personalized and localized guidance.”
4. George Koulouris, co-founder of bitlearn
“Jobs are not forever, automation is replacing entire professions and employees are realising the need to constantly up-skill. As a result, continuous professional development is becoming a necessity. Here's the catch though: our current education systems are not adapted to support this change. An employee cannot take 4-years off for university, every time they need to up-skill. Nor can they attend classes, especially when they have a job, a family, a mortgage… The future of education involves new education formats which effectively up-skill workers but also fit into the requirements of the busy, modern life.”
5. Vikas Gupta, co-founder and CEO of Wonder Workshop
“The future of education is hands-on. Learning has always benefited from hands-on play. Every day, technologies come forth that make hands-on learning not only more fun, but a lot more educational.”
6. Naomi Harm, Women Leadership and K12 EdTech Specialist, Innovative Educator Consulting
“The future of education will become fully automated by the progressive transformation of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and real-world teaching and learning experiences. Its dynamic code creators, programmers and designers will be coming from our creative Generation Z and Alpha student workforce, and this group will be tasked with incredible global challenges to solve. Student learning experiences will take place in virtual and face-to-face exploritorum think tank hubs.These active design thinking experiences will allow for all students to be contributors and active participants as collaborators with global field experts, to solve and transform our world's greatest educational and global challenges. The learning structure and importance of educators will now shift, as they become active facilitators in the learning process, while now being support structures to students. Educators will model and guide the importance of relevant research, intellectual integrity of cyber technology ethics, and how to model and maintain a high priority of human relationships to empathize the learning understanding of the prior, current and future possibilities of contributing to a world purpose of good.”
7. Tom Dolfi, Head of Marketing at Pathfinder
“The “digital revolution” we have witnessed in most sectors hasn't been fully embraced in education yet – but it inevitably will. The tools and technologies available today will empower education, allowing for on-demand learning. The most significant benefits of this revolution will come in the form of a personalised education that is delivered in a bespoke manner.
Learners will be able to receive education in a way that suits them best despite cultural and communication barriers, adjusted to the specific needs of each individual. As a by-product, learning will become a life-long experience accessible to more and more adults.”
8. Peter Arvai, CEO and Co-Founder of Prezi
“There’s a notable uptick in the demand for remote learning options, and subsequently, the need for the Remote Classroom. Distance student enrollments have been steadily increasing year-over-year, and now represent over 30% of all higher education enrollment.
The Remote Classroom will continue to dominate and grow in popularity, due to the accessibility, cost-effectiveness, and convenience of virtual learning tools and platforms, making engagement, interactivity, and collaboration a major focus for educators going forward. In the remote classroom, students and educators have the opportunity to create a dynamic, visual learning environment that isn’t restricted by space or even time, and that supports a learning approach that is more collaborative, engaging, and effective.”
9. 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).”
10. 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.”
11. Chris Gaughan, Senior Project Manager for Early-Adopter, a Glimpse Group Company
“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.”
12. 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.”
13. 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. “
14. Dr. Jim Frankel, Director of MusicFirst
“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.”
15. 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.”
16. 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.”
17. 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.”
18. 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.”
19. Thomas Ketchell, CEO and Co-Founder of Sutori
“There's a lot of talk and chit-chat around automation, AI and teachers being replaced by robots. That's entirely misplaced in my opinion and teachers play such an integral part in the development of a child and whatever the future of the classroom of tomorrow, the human teacher will always be there to guide and educate. I see the school, as a building and as an institution, having a complete overhaul. Traditional subjects will become more flexible and practical; English and social studies, for example, will be more about filtering, understanding and expressing information, while science and math are more akin to engineering. The theoretical will become more practical. Analysis of data, being able to prove what we put forward, will become a key skill.”
20. Allison Bruning, Principal at Academic Warriors
“The invention of the internet has greatly changed the educational system, especially within the homeschooling community. The future of education is leading away from a systematic classroom approach to a more personalized approach commonly found in homeschooling. Educational services that were previously unavailable to the homeschool population are now just a click away on the internet. Homeschooling parents are able to connect with educational experts and other homeschooling families via social media. Parents are also seeking out educational courses and programs via online educational services. Should this trend continue will see a greater need for online learning for all grade levels.”
21. Moe Abbas, founder and CEO of GenM
“With people across the globe becoming more and more connected the potential for remote, self-paced learning grows as well. Additionally, students are recognizing that the workforce places a greater value on experience rather than education. These two factors will drive education to be more experience-based, allowing students to learn by doing, and then demonstrate their skill set in a way that is backed by real-world results. Further, education will become more personalized, allowing students to learn the subjects they want at their own pace and from anywhere in the world.”
22. David D. Timony, Ph.D., Chair, Department of Education at Delaware Valley University
“Education is trending towards increasingly meaningful work. While we aren't quite out of the woods with the test-happy 90s and 2000s, students and families are leading trends by becoming more and more interested with one of two paths: college or career. Some students are trying to manage both. Secondary and post-secondary education must bring more value to the students they serve so they are responding with Associate degree programs as part of the high school experience and career path training earlier in the university experience.”
23. Joseph A. Connor, founder and CEO of Learning Ovations
“Dating back to the turn of the century, individualized children’s education has been seen as a significant performance predicate. What we have found conducting multiple randomized control trials, coupled with partnering with districts throughout the country, is that in order to transform outcomes by individualizing for students, you must also individualize for teachers’ skills and learning styles. This requires an educational tech relationship that is less a download, and more a systemic approach. Understanding this reality can drive a more fruitful partnership between the school and educational tech companies and forming the basis of a positive educational future.”
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