Envisioning the future of education is fraught with lots of excitement. Just thinking about how much technology has developed and changed our lives in the past 10 years alone makes it fascinating to ponder about how that will continue to influence how, what, and where we learn. Education 20 years (or even 10 years) from now will be somewhat different from what it is now, and nearly completely different from what it was 30 years ago.
In general, education up until a decade (or a little more) ago was confined to brick-and-mortar schools, with face-to-face interaction dictating the teacher-student relationship. For primary and secondary schools, core subjects, such as a primary and secondary language, mathematics, science, and biology, have not changed much. Even tertiary education subjects were somewhat limited, with most students majoring in medicine, law, engineering, education, etc.
The advancement of technology has played an important role in how education has progressed in the last decade or so.
… Online Learning
Today, learning online – whether you are doing a short course or a post-graduate degree – is becoming more mainstream and the norm. Every few months or so, more of a variety of courses are being added to the online learning pool. If you know what you want to learn, you only have to research with which institution you want to study, weigh up the costs involved, and also decide for how long you want to study.
On the other hand, if you aren’t completely sure about course you specifically want to take, the sheer assortment of courses and post-graduate degrees on offer can be a little overwhelming. You not only have to look at which institution you want to study at, the price, and length of the course, but also examine the pros and cons of the courses on offer.
… Going Mobile
Mobile education is also growing. Both the App Store and Android Store are abound with lots of education apps. The majority of these seem to be aimed at teaching basic skills to children, from the age of 3 +. Your children can learn to read and do (simple) math. They get shown how to write A-B-C and can then practice on the screen. Some education apps also teach them simple language, like colors, animals, and everyday objects. These education games are interactive, and make learning fun with sounds, music, and using color.
For adults, it seems most common to learn another language or two with the use of mobile applications. Looking at Duolingo, learning another language is easy. You can easily complete a lesson or two a day, review what you have learned and also “write” a test at some stage to practice what you have learned.
Some other apps are more like tutorials. For example, there is an app that teaches you about plumbing – “A Guide to Plumbing” – with over 500 videos that show you how to do just about everything that is plumbing related. Another tutorial app teaches you how to play a musical instrument – it seems as if the days of going to a class with a music teacher are not needed anymore. And then there are other apps ranging from teaching you how to play chess and football to ballroom dancing for beginners and how to build a boat.
The topics for educational apps are endless. It is advisable to download a few in a category (if free, of course) and see which one you prefer. For the paid apps, you need to do a little more research to discover the quality of the app and if it is really offers what you are looking to learn.
Going to the Future
The use of technology and changes in student ownership paint a very different picture of education, not just in schools, but in universities, too.
- Student Ownership
Students – young and old alike – want more ownership in their studies. They do not just want to listen to a teacher or lecturer throughout class, but want a greater voice. This will be achieved with more project-based work, allowing students to choose an area of focus and decide how they want to learn.
The teacher-student relationship will become more of a mentorship. With students relying more on technology to dictate how, where, and what they learn, teachers will need to find new and other ways to stay in touch with students where learning does not take place in traditional classrooms. With online learning platforms today, discussion forums, email, and social media (like Skype and Twitter) have become normal ways to get in touch and stay in touch with your teacher, lecturer, and/or tutor.
- Technology in classrooms
Where students still attend classes, technology will play an even more important role in complementing the lesson. The teacher may act even more as a facilitator in the learning process than they currently do. Using smartphones, tablets, and smart boards will aid the learning process in that students can use technology to discover answers to questions, gain additional facts and information on the topic.
These are just some examples of how education has changed and a look at how it will continue to transform in the year to come. Regardless of what the changes might be, it sure has exciting ways to learn and study in store.