In developed nations worldwide, technology is interwoven into the very fabric of daily life. It might seem obvious then that any discussion of the future—from smart homes to self driving cars—almost inherently involves technology to some degree. When it comes to the future of education, technology is set to play an important yet also surprising role.
Simba Information’s Schools of the Future, Part 1: Content and Curriculum reveals that technology, though a key aspect of the school of the future, does not drive learning. Rather it is a support and a tool that is used for a specific purpose rather than “for technology’s sake.” In a future-ready school, solving a particular problem may require technology one moment and Popsicle sticks and glue the next.
That said, personalized education, where each student works on unique problems and projects, tackles new subjects at his or her own pace, and moves forward only when reaching competency, goes hand-in-hand with technology. The ultimate goal is for schools to implement 1:1 programs where all children are in reach of a tablet or other mobile device 24/7, no matter where they are, and are never far from digital resources.
Another reason for technology’s importance is that students of the future (and today) are comfortable with technology and are engaged by it. They also need a strong familiarity with all types of technology in order to succeed in their future studies or workplace.
While mobile devices and content, and the infrastructure to support it, are critical to the school of the future, other forms of technology can enhance student-led learning. Many future-ready and traditional schools have 3D printers to support prototyping. Virtual-reality and augmented-reality apps, while just emerging in the classroom, may be beneficial to try out a solution when real-world prototyping is impractical. Technologies such as whiteboards or Google Groups help with collaboration, while projectors, recording devices, and other forms of media creating and distribution technology assist in presentations to help demonstrate mastery.