When people talk about the future of technology in education, they picture every student having access to a computer or a tablet; they see paperless rooms where technology trained teachers lead the class. What they don’t see is the infrastructure underneath that’s driving the whole project. Learning is becoming more collaborative to mirror the way that adults live their lives. With the ease of Google Apps and similar applications, employees and students alike can share files and work on documents and spreadsheets in real time – whether they’re a mile down the road or in a different country altogether. The future of education is increased inter-connectivity.
New Learning Platforms
Today, most schools use some type of virtual learning environment. VLEs are fast becoming an irreplaceable tool for teachers and we’ve yet to see their full potential. They’ve aided the beginnings of ‘flipped’ classrooms – where students view video lectures or read background material at home and spend their class time being guided through exercises, projects, or discussions on the material. In the future, we can expect more of a shift towards this model, as a growing number of U.S. and UK schools are flipping their lessons plans. The increased availability of cheap and fast technology goes hand in hand with this.
One of the most exciting fields for innovation is the film and media landscape. With most students having access to a smartphone, the ability for students to collaborate and produce short films is effortless. More class time can be spent on the craft of editing – especially when film editing software can now be found on the same tablet or smartphone device that the footage was shot on. Many teachers are using virtual learning environments to teach film-making online. VLEs aid the dissemination of student films so they can be critiqued by the class outside of school hours.
Open Ended Education
The appearance of massive open online courses (MOOCs) mean that it’s possible to study film-making online among other niche topics. Many schools are opting to have students on campus but also a wide array of international students who study online and attend virtual classrooms to interact with their peers. These students are connected through media-rich forums and group projects. In the future we can expect guest lecturers to give interactive classes reaching around the globe, and with 4K screen technology and hyper speed internet, it will be a smooth experience for students.
The cloud has made these education technologies far easier for schools to obtain. All that is required is a solid internet connection. VLEs arrive prepackaged with educational materials and are easy to set up. Efforts are currently being made to train teachers to handle technologies that aid the flipped classroom. In the future, teaching courses will make sure to prepare teachers for current and future technologies so there is no barrier to entry.
The Future Is Social
Many believe that technology makes us less social but in schools it’s having the opposite effect. As the role of the teacher changes so does the responsibility of the student. Shared applications mean lessons become more social. In the past, collaborating with technology meant headaches for everyone involved but the fluidity of products like Google Apps have done away with these problems. As the usage of cloud applications increases, more students will be learning skills that are vital to the workplace. They will be prepared for the real world usage of cloud technology.
Trips to the library, although still important, can often be seen as a barrier to keen students who want to jump into things and instantly scan through more information. Students who want to learn more about a subject or skill will soon have everything they need linked right from their online portal. With flipped classrooms, teachers are able to let advanced students take on slightly more complex projects without disrupting the rest of the class. Students who are falling behind will have the resources online so they can catch up at home. Interconnected classrooms mean that advanced students will no longer feel bored – they will be able to collaborate with other pupils from around the world.
As long as education continues to consume technology and spit out solutions, we should welcome the introduction of all technology; VLEs, MOOCs, smart devices, and further student inclusion.
About the author:
StJohn Smith, has been starting and running organisations focused on encouraging young filmmakers to learn by doing to build their craft for the last 15 years. Quickclass.net mVLE has grown out his passion for short film, and he has appeared as a guess speaker for the BFI, Film London and has written for the Media Education Association on the direction of technology in the classroom and how to introduce a successful flipped learning strategy with the help of great online platforms.