Posted: 02 March, 2017
Education has seen seismic changes in the last few decades. There are people alive that still remember using chalkboards in class, or writing on slates at their desk. Now, though, today's students have a wealth of technology literally at their finger tips. With technology developing at such a rapid pace, it's not stretch to imagine that education in 50 years will look very different. What's in store for the students of the future?
This doesn't mean that learning itself will become less relevant. Instead, the actual, physical classroom is less vital towards creating a learning environment. We're already seeing huge advances in distance learning technology, with tools such as video calling and recording meaning anyone can attend a class, no matter where they are. In 50 years, we'll see students from all over the world attending the same classes, and interacting with each other.
Today, there's lots of would be students out there who aren't able to take part in traditional schooling. This can be for a few reasons, such as living in remote locations, living with disabilities, or having been excluded or suffered bullying in regular schools. There's lots of ways already being developed to help these students get back in touch with learning.
We've already seen one example, of students in remote locations being able to access schooling through the internet. Video conferencing also means that those who can't attend regular schools for reasons can still access their lessons from home. The use of technology means it will become easier for teachers to create more diverse learning materials, to suit the needs of students with disabilities. As you can see, technology will soon truly make education accessible for all.
More and more educators are realising that classroom based learning isn't the whole picture when it comes to education. We're already seeing teachers taking their pupils out 'into the field', to learn in new and exciting settings. In the future, we're going to see much less classroom learning and more 'hands on' activities, allowing pupils to really get to grips with their subjects.
Learning at a desk is great for the basics, but students really begin to develop skills when they're asked to apply them to real life situations. That's why project based learning will become much more important in the future. Pupils will be asked to complete shorter term tasks using skills they've been taught in school, in order to cement their understanding and show them how those skills work in the outside world.
We're already seeing mentoring make its way into schools, but in the future it will become a cornerstone of education. A mentor could be the class teacher, a fellow student, or a dedicated member of staff. Whoever it is, students will be able to get one on one help whenever they need it. That means they'll be able to get the help they need, when they need it. It will take the pressure off teachers, who often have large class sizes, and ensures that no pupil is left behind and struggling.
BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device, is going to become much more popular in years to come. Studies show that students often connect better with their learning when they're using technology, but schools often aren't in a position to give each student their own device. With these devices becoming more prevalent in homes though, the answer is to allow students to bring them from home. Whether that's laptops, iPads or phones, a lot more will be done through wireless devices.
As they stand today, exams aren't able to truly assess a pupil's understanding of a subject. What they do assess is how capable a student is of memorizing and regurgitating information, not how they're able to apply it. Educators are coming to understand this, so exams will need to be overhauled in order to truly assess student understanding. This may differ from subject to subject, but it could include having to conduct practical experiments in the sciences, or creating pieces of writing for English subjects.
Recent studies have shown that students are more engaged with their subjects when they're given ownership of them. That means if they're able to have a say in creating their own curriculum, they're much more likely to stay involved with their own learning. In the future, we're going to see new curriculums that are created with the input of the students learning them. They'll be much more involved in their subjects, increasing their enjoyment and helping them absorb more when they're at school.
As you can see, there's a lot of changes that are coming in the next 50 years. A mixture of new technology and changes in strategy will mean a much more rewarding experience for teachers and students alike. No one will have to miss out on an education, and students are much more likely to enjoy learning as a result.