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What Does the Future of Technology in Education Look Like?

In recent years, technology has enabled new teaching practices, and challenged old ones at an incredible rate. But technological advances are now all predictable – and it’s unclear whether trends such as mobile learning, blended learning and MOOCs will live up to the hype.

To learn more, we sourced quotes from 24 high profile educators – teachers, educational technologists and entrepreneurs – what they thought the ‘Future of Technology in Education’ will look like – here are their comments!

The 24 responses came from: (click a name to be taken directly to their quote)

  1. Stuart Maitland, Mediwikis
  2. Andrew Mitson, Advantage Economics
  3. Ryan, EduSync
  4. Dr. Lewis Potter, GeekyMedics
  5. Grant Williams, PathPlanr
  6. Stephen Collins, Tip Tap Tap
  7. Associate Professor Kathryn Holmes, University of Newcastle, Australia
  8. Mark Wilson, School Business Services
  9. Gareth Bryan, MyFlo
  10. James Wilding, Claires Court
  11. Professor Mitch Champagne, Trent University
  12. Jana Hanson, RefMe
  13. Jenny Strahan, Yandery
  14. Jenny Brandham
  15. Camilo, Plobot
  16. Michael Alcock, Gomo Learning
  17. Viktoria Joynes, University of Leeds
  18. Holly Hunt, HBfourforty
  19. Eleanor Weston, Energi Yearbooks
  20. Andrew Cunningham, More Curricular
  21. Manisha Prabhakar, Leeds Trinity University
  22. Nick Bearman, Spatial Spider
  23. William Harrison, EduCraft Ideas
  24. James Gupta, Synap

Q) What does the future of technology in education look like?

“Collaboration between students and educators from all backgrounds and experience levels!”

Stuart Maitland, Founder of Mediwikis (@mediwikis)

 

“Teachers will do less teaching and more inspiring, motivating and stretching. The web will take over straightforward content delivery. The time of tutors and teachers will be put to its most effective use and traditionally academic subjects will be sidelined for more practical and applicable skills.”


Andrew Mitson, from Advantage Economics (@AdvantageEcon)

“Teachers need to be the decision makers on ed tech. They know what they need. Data and tools need to create actionable data, and measurable outcomes.”

Ryan, ‘Maker of Cool Tools’ at EduSync (@BuiltByTeachers)

“I believe that the rapid advancement of technologies is and will continue to have a profound, disruptive impact on the education system as a whole. I think the way educational materials are produced and the methods via which they are delivered will undergo the most radical of changes. The antiquated model of gathering bodies into a room to pass on information from one to many via a powerpoint presentation will be largely surpassed by the internet’s inherent ability to disseminate information rapidly, regardless of time, location and the user’s device preferences. The increasing sophistication of educational technologies built upon this network threatens to disintermediate the more traditional brick and mortar educational institutions, with individuals increasingly being able to access high quality, specific resources, directly at their convenience via an à la carte pricing system. Whatever the eventual outcome may be, a high degree of disruption is guaranteed.”

Dr. Lewis Potter, of GeekyMedics (@GeekyMedics)

“McKinsey predict that by 2020 there will be a potential shortage of 40 million high-skill workers in advanced economies. They also forecast a shortage of 45 million medium-skilled workers in developing economies….those are some pretty alarming numbers! What’s more alarming is that there are an estimated 2 billion potential learners around the world, yet 70% are reportedly, either unable to afford a college degree or are unclear on what they should be learning…..technology will play a huge role in fixing these two problems, through the introduction of talent & skills development platforms that offer data driven guidance of the right skills and knowledge to develop, for the right people, at the right time. With online education platforms continuing to grow in both the quality of the content and their reach, technology will allow billions of people around the world to finally understand what skills they actually need to develop to add real value to the 21st century, digital led economy. Learning won’t be restricted to formal classroom teaching, nor will professional development plans be designed through a one-size-fits-all approach. Machine learning will be used to design data driven algorithms, which will allow a user to understand how, through the use of both online and offline education platforms, they can develop a new set of skills, knowledge and experience that cater for career paths, that no long follow a linear progression, but are more suited to the recent description of resembling a jungle gym.”

Grant Williams, Co-Founder of PathPlanr

“Teaching and learning should not have to adapt to include technology in the classroom. In fact, technology should adapt to work with existing and new teaching practices. As soon as technology guides the classroom, then we have failed. At Tip Tap Tap we have developed interactive school desks, allowing teachers to track students progress and interactions in printed material, just by having the printed material on the desk.

Early Years Education looks like this right now:
1) Children learning using tactile objects and printed paper.
2) Assessment is manual, observational & subjective
3) Teachers use printed handouts to teach kids varous aspects of the cirriculum such as numeracy and blended phonics.
4) Interactions are limited – only 1 or 2 kids can interact with an interactive whiteboard at any given time.

These are the daily routines and issues faced within the classroom. Technology needs to embrace these and ensure the classroom becomes more interactive, automate assessment, ensure efficient use of teacher resources.

We strive to ensure our Interactive school desks address these issues in a way that in unobstrusive to the natural enviroment and setting of the classroom.

Stephen Collins, CEO of Tip Tap Tap (@tiptaptap_edu)

“We need to aim for seamless integration – meaning that technology in education shouldn’t be an add-on, an ‘extra’ thing for teachers to do. Outside of school whenever technology is used it has a clear purpose – it makes life easier and/or enables things to get done that can’t easily be done in other ways. In contrast, in schools, it is often seen as a distraction away from learning rather than an important tool for learning.”

Associate Professor Kathryn Holmes, University of Newcastle, Australia (@kathhol)

“I have worked in Education and ICT for over 20 years now but I am still as passionate about best use of ICT in education as I was when I started. I have worked in both public and private sectors advising schools on best use of their technology to fill its full potential for teaching and learning. I am a strong believer that the world of teaching and learning is changing rapidly within schools, with new ways of learning and new spaces for students to learn.

The role of teaching is also changing, with developments in e-learning, tracking pupil progress, virtual learning environments and personalised learning in order to enhance progress, achievement and participation for students in a ‘anytime, anywhere’ access environment. As technology is ever changing at a rapid rate, I have been investing time in looking at new products and devices that schools are using, or thinking about using, so tablets within schools and cloud based products that schools can adopt and use to help progress the school’s vision of their ICT and technology in education.

Along with mobile devices, cloud services i think the role of the app is ever more present in modern teaching and learning, more teachers/SLT are using them while at home but also bringing the learning part into work and school to be able to deliver interactive learning with students. As more educational apps are being developed for specific subjects, i see more adoption for use in class (and out of class!) to enhance blended learning across curriculum.

At SBS we also work alongside Sahara Clever Touch interactive screens and seeing app store integration within the boards themselves, so teachers can literally open an app and start the lesson instantly and deliver interactive lesson at the touch of their fingertips, and this is only the start!”

– Mark Wilson, ICT Manager at School Business Services (@SchoolsAppsTeam)

“Having been a director of achievement at several academies in inner city London, I believe teachers need to share their best practice and collaborate with others, this will not only save time but will improve the quality of teaching and learning. This is why we created Myflo.”

– Gareth Bryan, CEO of MyFlo (@myflo_education)

“I have been teaching for 40 years, and the use of technology has been integral to improving provision and outcomes for children. Whist it is fair to say that most recently the pace of change has challenged those of us in education to keep up with those changes, fundamentally the purpose of education has not. Socrates once declared “I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think”, so perhaps that made him an ill fit to the role of teacher educator, though actually he hit the essence of that which we now know.

It is when children strive acquire skills and knowledge that they make the most progress, and in the right hands, technology assists children to identify areas of interest and passion, aiding them more readily to strive. In almost all cases of significant higher level learning, success only arises after many attempts which have previously given rise to failure. The wrong kind of teacher lacks the patience required to ensure children can fail ‘successfully’ and often sees in the children’s failure criticism of their own practice. Where technology has proven to be an amazing aid is that its dumbness brings its own reward; the learner can try, try and try again. Technology comes in many forms, and could be something as simple as an accurate record of previous attempts. I remember as a batsman failing to recall why I was out. I then saw some wagon wheels of my batting which showed where I scored my runs and where I failed.

Modern visual technology can pick up on performance in ways we could never dream – just look at the consummate vlogging by teenagers now in which they quote readily show very high level camera-ready skills to speak and respond. Of course I was myself never taught using nail and slate, but I was taught how to be dextrous in my fine motor movements using wet cane and basket weave. The arrival of more modern technology of plastic raffia took away the previous requirement to work quickly whilst the cane was moist – one of many examples I can give where more modern technologies have actually made the task easier, but having the negative effect on the overall ‘basket’ of skill acquisition.

Now we have projectors and screens, soon we will have just the screens, and one can postulate soon we will have digital interactive paint. That won’t in itself cause children to gather love of reading and writing, skills (those I am exercising right now) that give many great pleasure and satisfaction. Technology will as ever run forward at breakneck speed, but isn’t it odd that the old Sumerian classrooms of some 40 centuries ago show a similar size and scale to those seen this present day. Then as now, people also learned one to one and in much larger groups, but actually a room size large enough for 20 or so students to work with a teacher look and feel the norm. I became and remain throughout my 40 years in the classroom a passionate advocate for the use of technology and our school enjoys most of its connectivity with things educational through cloud based resources and universal wifi. yet we still have amazing handwriting, great painting and music and drama and physical sport.

I suspect the Sumerians would be pretty impressed that much of the way we learn has stood the test of time. Like the use of the wheel, which they also developed for use in horse drawn carriages.”

James Wilding, Academic Principle at Claires Court (@james_wilding)

“The future of technology in education will need to move away from a constant discussion of devices and applications, and instead focus on the transferable skills and mindsets that lend themselves to success.

Due to the increased use of web applications in assessment, Individual Student Data will also become more readily available at the classroom level so students, teachers, and parents will all be able to create goals and provide and access just in time learning and support. Learning focusses will shift more toward inquiry and the application of concepts, and less toward recall.

This generation of students wants to make things and are motivated by authentic activities. With all of this comes the need for a focus on digital literacy and citizenship at all levels of education.”

– Mitch Champagne, Professor at Trent University (@MitchChampagne)

“I believe that learning will become a series of lived experiences rather than a transfer of knowledge. Not only will tablets continue to replace printed textbooks, technology will be able to explain the world around us – through augmented reality – and create virtual worlds where we can experience history rather than learn about it, bring mathematical problems to life, across languages and cultural borders. Schools, in my utopian vision for the future, will not be centered on the dissemination of knowledge, they will be social spaces focused on human interaction, self-discovery, and experimentation.”

– Jana Hanson, Education Community Manager at RefMe (@Dschanai)

“Technology is playing an increasingly integral role in education at all levels – whether it be in schools, universities or other further education avenues. It allows individuals to take in and retain much more information at a faster rate through a variety of different means (e.g., video, gamification, interactive quizzes etc.).

Computers and smart devices have become a mainstay in any modern classroom or learning environment and with every advancement in technology and digital media, the education sector refines and develops new learning solutions. Trends in technology, and the dominant devices/applications, will change and educational technologies will be developed to meet the needs of this growing market.

Often educators consider eLearning as a separate entity which supplements traditional learning techniques, although we envisage that in the future the two will integrate as near enough all education will be delivered through some sort of digital platform/media. The eLearning trend has risen in popularity, especially when it comes to CPD, as it allows the student or ‘user’ to access learning when and where they wish, for as long as they want to. Whether they have 15 minutes or 3 hours of time to dedicate they are able to access learning in bite-sized, easily digestible chunks as demonstrated by the arrival of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). This style of learning will be further enhanced by the introduction of adaptive learning through advances in artificial intelligence to customise courses to a student’s needs and abilities.

It’s safe to say that we are only just scratching the surface of the capabilities for technology to educate individuals of all ages and levels, although is the current internet infrastructure sufficient to meet the demand for knowledge?”

– Jenny Strahan, Marketer at Yandery (@YanderyLMS)

“The future of educational technology is impossible to predict. With the speed of change experienced within technological advancement, there is increasingly natural scope for its application to an education setting. Little explanation is required of how much technology exists; there are realms of gadgetry that is ever evolving to perform a multitude of tasks. Of course the majority might not be originally designed to fulfill educational purposes, it is just handy that it does.

It is not the volume or availability which determines the effectiveness, we are forgetting a vital component. To be successful at assisting in learning we do not want competent users of technology. Instead we require those who have the ability to use it creatively, effectively and effortlessly in order to enable seamless knowledge transfer. It is the proficiency, confidence and the desire of individuals who are using educational technologies that will drive forward the synergistic nature of technology and education.

Our digital-hesitancy creates natural barriers to clicking and connecting. It takes time to learn how to use new applications, let alone design intuitive ways in which to use them effectively in the learning environment. Time is something that our hardworking educators do not have in ready supply. How do we keep up with the warp-speed that is technology with the robin reliant that is education?

We know that technology should be changing the way we teach and carry out assessments, we would probably also agree on why. Simple examples include improving digital literacy, instant feedback, shared access to a full range of materials and enabling 24 hour learning to take place. As a student, why would you not want all of those things and more? Developing a constructivist approach to learning where we assume full engagement of the student in order for them apply previous taught knowledge to form new ideas and understanding, requires the teachers role to adopt the panacea of facilitator. We are not satisfied anymore by a stand-alone lecture. Instead we are seeking a whole semester of curriculum that neatly intertwines to consecutively build skills and knowledge enabling the leaner to emerge, as if from a chrysalis, as a fully formed engaged thinker, able to contribute to the academic community with perfect ease and finesse. Sounds ideal right? Combine this with an increasing volume of students (thanks to lifting of the student number caps), their own set of abilities, a multitude of external motivations, the implicit challenges of student life, stretched academics and a centrally networked ageing PC that won’t boot up due to a server error….again….it becomes a wonder anything is achieved at all.

So can we keep up? No, we can’t; education will lag behind technology. Technology is only a tool or a resource and it requires time to learn how to use it and even more time to understand how to implement it. Without a creative director in charge of its application, any technology sits lifeless. The difference between now and previous iterations is before it might have been idle in the corner of the room, now it’s a misty haze which surrounds us, distracting our attention with a multitude of other attractive offerings.

How about we stop allowing technology to fog fundamental teaching abilities. Let us not make technology more important than the act of facilitating learning. Even the most advanced iProduct, in the hand of a novice is about as effective at augmenting education as the government are at making positive funding decisions. Embracing the training need and investing in staff to assist them in their digital journey of enlightenment will allow even the most mediocre of IT tools turn into great teaching. The future of educational technology is still, at the end of the day, in the hands of the people.”

– Jenny Brandham (@JennyBrandham)

“Ed tech is growing faster in the last years, is difficult to forecast what is going to really happen but for sure we can talk about how technology like 3d printing and open source hardware is a game changer in learning together with the emerging robotics and programming education centers is something that for sure will be involved in the new educational technology around the world. Learn through making projects and play outside classroom is a must and this new technologies will be created around that.”

– Camilo, Toy Designer at Plobot (@cparrapa)

“Education is moving into the hands of the students. What better way to reach people than through their smartphones and tablets. Whether it’s e-learning, virtual classrooms, online examinations, gamification of learning or personalised learning experiences, it’s inevitable that the new generation will want it on their mobile devices.”

– Michael Alcock, MD at Gomo Learning (@mikey_alcock)

“Technology opens up so many learning opportunities for students that simply didn’t exist ten years ago. The ability to use technology to learn from, revise, and to gather assessments and immediate feedback changes the scope of how all students can make the best use of learning opportunities. For students from any discipline who are away from their main educational institutions on placements, marrying learning on a device with a real world experience enables them to gain so much more from learning “in the moment”.

New opportunities also exist in the classroom – particularly through the use of free software than enable students to interact with sessions in a new way – taking part in formative quizzes for example as the class progresses, enabling them and the tutors to check their progress. For these reasons, I personally think that mobile learning should be a compulsory element of all higher education. Students are going to have to use this technology as part of their daily professional lives – why not encourage them to do so appropriately in a safe and supportive learning environment?

Of course this has to be tempered with words of caution – there is no point in using technology for the sake of it, or just to replace things that can be done on paper. Although easing administrative burden is of course important, it should not be the driver for the introduction of technology. However, as the technology is here to stay, I do think that educators have a responsibility of learning to both use it and teach with it.”

-Viktoria Joynes, Lecturer in Technology Enhanced Learning at Leeds University Medical School (@viktoriajoynes)

“The education system is based off of the Industrial revolution, and for the first time in 150+ years we’re facing a new digital revolution. The demands of industry has once again changed and we need to align this with the way we teach.

Industry is demanding new skills like critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, diversity, creativity and innovation – technology, used correctly, can prepare students for this demand. Online reputation is almost impossible to erase with the force and speed that information is shared, this causes students to be more critical of the information they put online because they know how it can impact them. They realise that the products they make could be seen by hundreds of people and potentially industry professionals, so they put more detail and thought into what they publish. They realise that they can show off the skills they have and build reliability and a name for themselves. If they are TOLD to use technology it’s unlikely to make an impact, if they are SHOWN how to use technology well, they are more likely to realise how it can impact them. We have the responsibility to teach them the importance of their digital reputation and how they present themselves online.

The younger generations are being brought up surrounded by visuals, and their thinking has shifted to prefer to watch a video than read lines of text. We need to change the way we teach to match the way they respond to information by including visual and digital learning! We’ve already integrated some digital technology into lessons, but it’s the way it’s used that makes the impact. These technologies need to be used to inspire and empower students to take their learning into their own hands.

It’s undeniable that the way the world communicates has rapidly changed and keeps changing at an accelerated rate. Those that don’t understand the technologies fear that we’re becoming distant, but the reality is that young people are using social media to connect with people they would never get to meet. By doing this they are learning about new cultures and perspectives that is broadening their understanding of the world, it’s needs and how it actually functions. By using technology we will be bringing up children that know how they can make an impact and difference to the world and not just themselves.

We’re used to being the experts who teach our students, but they can now access more information from industry professional and from anyone in the world usually for free. We need to become facilitators and guide our students to these sources and how to use them to their advantage The future of education technology is vital.

Educators need to embrace the technologies, that the world is demanding, in order to prepare the next generations to be able to respond to the needs of the world. They will have to keep developing and adapting, and so will we.”

– Holly Hunt, Volunteer Digital Leader and Graphic Media Designer at Basingstoke College of Technology and HBfourforty (@hollyhuntprof)

“With the rise of #edtech and Google Certified Educators, technology in the classroom is no longer an add on, it is an integral part of learning and education. This generation, and those that follow, will be accustomed to technology that fully integrates into their lives from an increasingly early age. Thanks to products like RasberryPi and the Makey Makey children’s knowledge of the technology in their lives is more in depth than ever before. Increasingly this will be a level of knowledge that is expected in all students, not just those specialising in STEM subjects. Being in the media and photography sector we have to work hard to keep abreast of technology trends. Our customers are teenagers who are incredibly savvy consumers when it comes to software, usability and digital media. School yearbooks, in which we specialise, must now combine traditional print media with technology such as QR codes and augmented reality in order to offer a product that captures the imagination of this generation. Teachers that use technology in a relevant, engaging way will help their students compete in a world where a knowledge of the technology that surrounds us is no longer a specialist subject but an essential life skill.”

– Eleanor Weston, Yearbook Co-ordinator at Energi Yearbooks (@energi_Yearbook)

“The future is bright for technology driven progressive assessment. Advances in technology in education are key to progressing our current, out-dated and complex assessment practices. For far too long, behaviourist theories have monopolised assessment with little opportunities to fully incorporate constructivist and sociocultural approaches, which encourage assessment for learning rather than assessment of learning. We are entering an exciting period, where technology can be used to create authentic assessment activities which not only take into account the individual learner’s cultural capital but also aims to support learning.”

-Andrew Cunningham, CEO at More Curricular (@morecurricular)

“The prospect of technology within the classroom is extremely exciting and provides an interactive and engaging platform for teachers to teach, students to learn and effective communication to take place between teachers, pupils, parents and staff.

Teachers need to become more confident with implementing the use of technology within the classroom to support the learning of their pupils. This can be achieved by taking that initial leap to step outside of traditional teaching methods, reaching out for support from fellow teachers and given the feedback and backing from the school. Most importantly, teachers need to communicate with the students themselves as to how they want to be taught with technology.

Ultimately, creating an environment that students feel they can relate to, are comfortable with and benefit from will only serves to maximise their learning. Indeed, the pitfalls of using technology in classroom can seem daunting, but if pupils are given clear boundaries and expectations, and teachers demonstrate their technological confidence, the opportunities for teaching and learning through technology immediately broadens and becomes more engaging.”

– Manisha Prabhakar, MSc Graduate and Student Teacher at Leeds Trinity University (@m_prabhs)

“I think that while technology has enabled many many more people to access data and information on a massive variety of topics, the future holds the risk of a split between A) those who use technology, know how it works and understand it and B) those who use it but don’t really understand how it works. Group B are are risk of being mislead by inaccurate media reporting on technology issues (e.g. TalkTalk hacking, encryption) and not understanding things like the privacy options on Facebook.

To address this split, more needs to be done on helping group B understand how technology works (this could, but doesn’t need to, involve programming). It also puts those in group A in a much better position to understand and exploit technology, to the detriment of those in group B. I think both use and understanding of technology needs to feature more in education and this can go hand-in-hand with critical thinking skills, often sighted in stats (i.e. are the media misleading me with these statistics / this report on hacking?). There is potential for the application of technology in education, but this needs to be exploited correctly in order for everyone to gain from it. “

Nick Bearman, GIS Trainer and Consultant at Spatial Spider and Research Associate at The University of Liverpool (@nickbearmanuk)

“As we have begun to make preparations for launching our startup, we have completed some research to try and understand the landscape of technology in education. We have found a lot of interesting things regarding this endeavor as a whole. One is addressing what the term technology in the scope of education even means. While conducting one of our interviews with a teacher in the DC area, we first realized that technology as seen by many educators is rather specific and subjective. Is technology everything about computers, or is it specifically new aspects of computing. What we have found is that it is often what we call “PopTech”, or popular technology. These are just the buzz terms, gadgets, and apps of the moment. The more useful and thus pertinent question is why we want technology in the classroom at all. In most cases it’s to engage the student, and in others it’s to keep our lessons relevant. If we start from the “why” (engagement and relevance) instead of the very nebulous “what” (technology), then it will be easier to determine what tools to use. If these tools are fondly referred to as technology then wonderful, and if not, so be it. The bottom line is that the tool should be useful and effective, not just an opportunity to use a PopTech term.”

– William Harrison, EduCraft Ideas (@WilliamPhysics)

“Students today have grown up in a digital world. To us, having instant access to any piece of information isn’t revolutionary or amazing, it’s just expected. In the near future, hopefully we’ll see the traditionally change-averse education establishment moving with the times, and using technology not as a gimmick, but as crucial, integrated part of the learning experience.”

– James Gupta, Founder & CEO of Synap (@gupta_james)

 

Wrap Up

So there you have it! 24 quotes on the future of technology in education, from people actively teaching and developing technological solutions to improving the practice. What are your thoughts? Let us know below!

Sincere thanks to everyone who contributed to this survey 🙂