Predicting the future is no easy task, especially as the third decade of the 21st century approaches. In the age of information technology, every field and discipline is moving at a rapid pace, and Education is one such sector. As of the moment, nobody knows how the future of education will be like exactly, but the consensus is that technology will influence and change the way education is delivered. In the past, technology such as calculators changed learning Math. Now, in 2019, the internet is changing Education. For example, there are virtual classes whereby students and tutors can hold discussions over video software like Skype. Usually, the software used in colleges and universities is customized to suit the needs of the school and class. There is also the use of emails between tutors and tutors to give and submit assignments a big influencer in Education. The future of education will most likely continue being influenced by advancements in technology.
According to Beynaghi, Trencher, Moztarzadeh, and Mozafari (2016), future models for education in institutions of higher learning will focus on “sustainable development.” Sustainable development will come in three ways; social, economic, and environmental sustainability. Beynaghi et al. (2016) presuppose that ways of sustainable development will have to change using current technology for the 2020s and beyond. Universities will be more of “multi-university” institutions where learning is not only personalized, but the institutions will play a role in shaping the societies around them. Universities such as Harvard and Stanford already have a reputation for being technology hubs; Beynaghi et al. (2016) argues that more institutions of learning will influence sustainable development in the future.
There are the social attitudes towards education that is proposed by Young and Muller (2015) who suggest that technology will not have as significant an impact as culture and policy. Young and Muller (2015) propose that future education will focus on creativity, innovation, and communication. Reason being, in the future, automation of various job skills in the workplace such as driverless cars will mean that education has to focus from skills to ideas. As such, traditional learning where students are taught to “know things” will not be feasible; instead, communication and collaboration among people is going to be more important. Young and Muller discuss three scenarios. The first concerns “futurists” who have a more Science-fiction outlook about the future (such as the use of Artificial Intelligence as teachers). The second scenario (non-futurists) is a skeptical approach whereby the proponents argue that technology will slow down in advancement and education will still have to rely on old models such as classroom learning. The third scenario is preferred by Young and Muller (2015) as it argues for “differentiatedness” of education whereby education models take into consideration the culture (such as bilingualism) and political landscape (like neo-liberalism).
Conti, Nuovo and Di Buono (2017) argue if robots in the classroom will become a reality soon. The approach taken by Conti et al. (2017) is very much a futurist approach (Young and Muller, 2015). Robots in the classroom are likely to cause a stir; people will be divided. There are those who will be for the new development and others who will oppose it. The problem with robots is interaction, for example, can robots recognize confusion in the tone of a student’s voice? There are hard questions when it comes to the use of robots in the classroom. Conti et al. (2017) envision a scenario where robots are used as assistant lecturers; human lecturers will still control the class. Hence, the use of robots will be limited to being used as learning materials and not necessarily replacement for human tutors.
In conclusion, nobody knows what the future will be like. The possibilities discussed above are nothing more than that. They are based on assumptions, which can change at any time. No doubt technology at the moment contributes a lot in the facilitation of education. The internet, emails, video interactive software and other technology-based learning methods are in practice today. Maybe the use of technology will change even more drastically, or perhaps the change will be gradual. The truth is that nobody knows what the future holds for education; we can only make educated guesses at that.
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