What Does the Future of Education Hold?

Jun 21, 2018 by

Education is a constantly evolving field, although its evolution crawls along at a pace much slower than many would consider ideal. This amorphous, constantly shifting nature is partly a reflection of the purpose of education. Our knowledge is constantly expanding, growing, and changing. Therefore, we are constantly being forced to reevaluate the way in which we disseminate knowledge.

Like all other fields and industries, technology has played a significant role in shaping the current state of technology. The effects of these technological innovations have been far-reaching, completely changing the landscape for both pupils and teachers.

There are a variety of forces that look certain to play an important role in the future of education; technology is just one of them. Looking at the current trends in education, whether it’s pre-school or university level, can help us to build a picture of what the future of education might look like.

Independent Learning

Everyone has their own preferred learning style. Some people learn best under the instruction of others, while some people do their best learning when they are acting independently. Until now, education has followed well-established and predictable patterns in this regard. For example, we expect younger children (primary and junior school) to do all of their learning within the classroom environment. By contrast, when teenagers head off to college, we expect them to be more capable of independent learning.

At the highest echelons of education, such as at university, it is expected that students will be proficient in teaching themselves. As the technology available to help students achieve this continues to become more sophisticated and widely available, education at all levels in the UK is placing an ever greater emphasis on independent learning.

There is an argument, one with growing credence it would seem, that modern schools should place a greater emphasis on teaching children how to teach themselves. Taking this approach would mean a greater focus on ensuring that children are equipped to answer any questions they might have about the world around them and, more importantly, time is spent teaching them how to evaluate different sources of information.

As well as a growing number of universities who are offering students the option to study remotely, there is also a booming market for private institutions, like Superprof who are willing to offer tutoring services to whoever needs them.

Classroom Resources

The resources available to teachers and students in the classroom have changed considerably over the years. When most of us were at school, we could only have dreamed of access to the kind of technology that has now become commonplace within the classroom. Those of us who are old enough to remember when it was considered impressive for pupils within a school to all be able to access a computer, can’t help but stand in awe of the tablets and other devices that are now used in the classroom.

The widespread availability of such sophisticated resources means that teachers are empowered to deliver the kind of lessons, and learning experience, that they want to. Teaching is one of those professions which is heavily reliant upon the passion of its workers. When you consider the amount of work that teachers do, with unpaid overtime being the standard for most of the sector, their pay is alarmingly low. Teachers do what they do because they care deeply about the work. The ability to use the best available resources to teach their classes is a powerful motivator for teachers.

Better classroom resources benefit both educators and learners. That is to say, the teachers and children in a classroom will reap the benefits of being able to access better resources. The viability of making some decent money from educational apps and digital resources has now been proven by the sales figures. As a result, there is a growing list of app developers who are looking to get in on the action.

Integrating Personal Devices into the Classroom

It is easy to forget just how powerful modern smartphones are, especially when we compare them to the portable phones that many of us grew up with. Smartphones today are capable of an enormous amount. They effortlessly replicate the functions of highly specialized calculators, as well as a number of other common classroom resources.

Most of us will remember being at school and being told repeatedly that our mobile phones must remain out of sight and out of mind throughout the day. This is still the default position of many schools and other educational institutions. However, it is an attitude which is starting to change. As time goes on, and a personal smartphone becomes an essential item rather than an optional luxury, it seems increasingly absurd to overlook the potential value of the devices that most students are carrying around with them at all times.

It is, therefore, perhaps unsurprising that a growing number of schools and other educational institutions are now allowing their students to utilize their own personal devices within the classroom. Taking this approach is a fantastic money saver for schools, but the biggest concern will always be those pupils who don’t have access to these devices themselves. No one wants to create a classroom where those with less money in their family are disadvantaged. It is, therefore, important that a balance is struck and those children who have access to smartphones are able to use them without disadvantaging the children who don’t.

Remote Learning

The vast majority of us either work with cloud technology professionally, or we know someone who does. In fact, the vast majority of smartphone users are also utilizing at least one cloud-based service. Many of these services provide remote storage. Even though mobile data storage has improved considerably in the last few years, the convenience of having potentially hundreds of gigabytes of clouds storage available is still a major selling point for people.

The ubiquity of cloud technology has perhaps obscured its potential in some areas. Education can benefit from cloud technology at all levels. You will be hard-pressed to find a university today who is not utilizing cloud technology in some way. Again, given how common cloud services are, especially for those who are just now turning university age, it is perhaps easy to overlook that cloud technology still has much more to offer the field of education in the future.

Greater Accessibility

Educating people is something that benefits us all. We all benefit from living in a more educated society and a more educated world. Therefore, perhaps the most significant change to the way we think about education in recent years lies in the increased accessibility to education that much of the world now enjoys. Universities offering distance learning courses, often at a much more affordable price than their campus counterparts, which helps to increase access to education. However, perhaps the most important development in this regard has been the emergence of private institutions who are able to offer the expertise of university professors without the need for the university’s entry requirements.

Education is a fascinating field to examine. Across the world, different cultures take radically different approaches to the issue of how to best educate their population. An ever-growing number of technological solutions are making education accessible to many people who previously could only have dreamed of it.

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1 Comment

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    Karl Smithe

    We could have had a National Recommended Reading List for kids decades ago. Now we have Project Gutenberg and I have talked to high school teachers that do not even know about it. We can’t have students concluding that teachers are the Guardians of Ignorance.

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