The future of education
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.
The role of technology is shifting from simple tools used in days of data projectors, to one that integrates everything, and it is transforming teachers into active participants rather than just facilitators.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. 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. 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.
Information is already available at your fingertips, just an online search away. Therefore, the broader accessibility to this information with smart devices and teaching students how to access it in the more structured way will allow them to gain knowledge and apply it in the real world. New subjects like coding in schools, gamification, augmented reality and 3D printing will reshape traditional notion of teaching and learning. And we could even see something similar to Uber and Airbnb with its disruptions they are presenting to the taxi and accommodation markets respectively, in teaching without classrooms or designated teachers. Innovations are forcing education institutions to rethink their value proposition to the education market. There is no doubt technology will impact current learning environments and continue to evolve the Future of Education.
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Product & Marketing Manager, Ricoh Australia
Ragu is Ricoh Australia's Product & Marketing Manager for Communication Services. He holds an MBA from Deakin University and has extensive experience in the business and technology space. His current focus is on intuitive technology and process innovations required to transform organisations to connect and collaborate efficiently.
Over the past 12 months, Ragu has been travelling around Australia discussing the future of education with teachers, lecturers and technologists. He has recently spoken at several technology forums, including a recent appearance at Integrate 2015 in Melbourne.