The future of education is digital. We live in an increasingly digital world, where technology is a part of our lives in so many ways. Now more than ever, it is crucial that we incorporate digital technology into education. To prepare students for higher education and future jobs, we must ensure that they are familiar with technology.
A wave of new technology has been introduced into schools up and down the country changing the way teachers deliver lessons and how students learn. Research by Randstad Education found schools and colleges have adopted the latest tech to improve teaching and make lessons more interactive and engaging. Some of the innovations already in use include ‘gamifying‘ lessons by incorporating game-like rules and tasks to increase motivation. For example, Shireland Academy in the West Midlands included Minecraft on its curriculum.
Education, the research found, will become more project-based and include more interactive content to keep up with students’ changing attitudes towards traditional media. Classrooms, it is predicted, will join the Internet of Things – a network of devices like smartwatches that connect and share data with other items and systems – and create ‘smart schools’ where the teachers, students and devices become more connected.
In this fast-paced information-driven society education institutions, in general, play a vital role in helping students unlock their true potential by equipping them with the right tools and knowledge to face the challenges of the future. Critical to the future success of institutions relies on creating the right environment to learn, collaborate, share and developing new teaching strategies to deliver dynamic content that makes learning more engaging and relevant.
Learning is a lifelong experience and, as the saying goes, life experiences are often the best teachers. As someone who has been to five schools and three universities in four countries, I always wondered about the different teaching methodologies and learning environments created by various institutions, and how they benefit students and retain talented teachers.
It was Albert Einstein who once said, “I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.” So the conditions in which learning occurs definitely matters. As the world transitions from traditional printing and distribution of class notes and books, physical archiving of documents to digitised content and centralised databases for speed and convenience, it is important to understand the role of teachers and technology in this learning environment.
Ivy League for the Masses
By 2020, 65% of all jobs will require post-secondary education. Sadly, more than a third of students need remedial classes in college. On top of all this, student debt is higher than ever; the average graduate carries a $26,600 debt. 80% of Americans say the education isn’t worth the debt. How will we fix this? Watch for a growing Internet presence of Ivy League classes offered in an amazingly engaging manner. Educators from Stanford, Yale, Princeton and Duke are linked to these massive, open on-line courses and millions are signing up. They’re accessible and affordable or free.
Specialized Higher Education
When surveyed, Americans’ number one reason to attend college is to gain skills and knowledge for a career. It came in far above gaining a well-rounded education or to become a more informed citizen. We’re becoming more pragmatic with time. We want to do what works. We want to pay for what works. And right now, the job market is in need of customized skills. We will weed out unnecessary courses and rethink what’s mandatory, based on practical needs. We’ll see a diversity of colleges that offer special prep courses that translate into jobs and careers.
Innovations in IT
Modern innovations in IT architecture, both wired and wireless, plus the growth of smart mobile devices, and online cloud applications viewed on large format touchscreens are disrupting the traditional pedagogical and andragogical practices. This theguardian.com article notes that the role of technology is shifting from simple tools used in days of data projectors, to one that integrates with everything, and it is transforming teachers into active participants rather than just facilitators. Even universities are exploring distance learning further by not only utilising centralised online portals, online content and recorded lectures but live web-based video conferencing for deeper engagement with students.
These, in turn, facilitate students to assimilate their frame of mind and actions to be more efficient, producing a sense of belonging and achieve desired outcomes. The intuitive nature of modern solutions and interoperability with Bring-Your-Own-Devices mean it is also making it easier for teachers and students to use technology without them putting it in the “too hard basket“. It is enabling educators to increase the interaction between students both during class time and outside school hours by providing an online social forum to discuss ideas. In reality, as I see it, the teachers’ role is more inspirational rather than traditional, one-directional talking, directing and questioning.
The future of learning is moving towards activity based learning, just like modern workplaces in moving to activity based working. For me, the future of technology in education is about removing learning barriers delivered through online, social learning and interactive content. Smarter technologies will continue to support effective and efficient collaboration within an institution that integrates technology, processes and people. In other words, an environment should foster the right conditions to nurture robust learning experiences, and the use of technology should function to enhance effortless learning.
It is all about creating an environment for students to inspire imagination and creative thinking where they can learn productively and collaboratively, notes blog.ed.ted.com. Classrooms need the right tools to enhance team work, group sharing, and collaborative problem solving. In this new metacognitive, activity-based learning concept technology plays a crucial role in integrating the learning environment, whether wireless tablets combined with collaborative large format touchscreens and interactive content or online portals for distance learning.
Deployment of these new technologies, from my discussion with many educators, has increased student participation, enthusiasm, and knowledge retention along with promoting teacher productivity and satisfaction. I fondly remember the focus and attention required to complete my university course work and fantastic teachers I had along this delightful journey. It has opened up many doors for me and will continue to do so for many others.
Most valuable commodities: Critical thinking and leadership
Critical thinking is almost a lost art and eventually, education will realize it must recapture teaching this essential element in our society. Already it’s the number one reason university instructors give for the importance college. The same is true for leadership. As poor examples continue to seize news headlines, schools will make leader development central. The Higher Education Research Institute reports: In today’s world, every graduate will need to possess leadership skills.
Student-Driven and Problem-Based Classes
Our current pedagogy just can’t keep up. About a third of teens drop out of school—which translate to 7,000 kids a day, and about 1.2 million students every year. It’s often not their fault. We fail to offer relevant subjects in an engaging manner for the 21st century student. In the future, we’ll see students using portable devices to learn their subject with a teacher on a monitor, observing their progress. It will be driven by the student, at her pace. Classes will be problem-based not merely subject based. Kids will be solving real-world problems which will engage their passions.