106 Experts Share Their Thoughts on the Future of Education, Part 2: Edtech
“The future of education is digital. We live in an increasingly digital world, where technology is a part of our lives in so many ways. Now more than ever, it is crucial that we incorporate digital technology into education. To prepare students for higher education and future jobs, we must ensure that they are familiar with technology. Administrators who want to prepare their K-12 school for the future of education should look at the ways they use technology in the classroom. Schools that are future-ready are those that blend technology with learning seamlessly and include technology in nearly every lesson.”
I just shared my thoughts on the future of education, but what do my peers think? To find out, we decided to produce an expert roundup on the topic of the future of education. We asked 106 education experts to answer one question: “What are your thoughts on the future of education?” In part 2 of this series, we will focus on the future of edtech.
*Numbering is for organizational purposes only, and does not denote a participants rank or level of influence.
1. Dr. Monica Burns
Author of Tasks Before Apps and Founder of ClassTechTips.com
“In the next year I think we will see an increase in scannable technology and virtual reality integration in PreK-20 schools. From augmented reality experiences where our youngest learners scan and watch a diagram pop off the page, to immersive 360 video where secondary students explore different corners of the world, the possibilities are endless!”
2. Krishna Vedati
CEO and co-founder of Tynker
“Google can solve basic and complex math equations in an instant, but only those students who are truly inspired have the power to enact real change, and this must begin at a younger age. For this reason, children should be taught soft skills such as mindfulness in public schools. Schooling should be disruptive, and needs to be flipped on its head to draw clear connections between general knowledge and higher purpose.”
3. Kerry Gallagher, JD
Digital Learning Specialist, St. John’s Prep
“We are the midst of a digital revolution, both within and outside of education. It is our responsibility to recognize this and see it as an opportunity rather than something to be feared. My hope is that the future of education will bring more varied creative opportunities for teachers and students. We will see more and more students actively participating in and contributing to the world around them and we will no longer see school as merely “preparation” for that world.”
4. Katherine Manuel
SVP of Innovation at Thomson Reuters
“Technology will fundamentally alter education in three ways. First, technology will allow teachers to better assess children and customize lessons to provide higher quality education for each student. Second, technology (e.g. computer programming and networking) will become as ubiquitous across curriculums as reading and writing are today. Third, this ubiquitous technology education will enable gender and racial parity across the study of and output from Technology, leading to a far more diverse set of inventors and innovations.”
5. Neil Jarrett
Year 6 leader at an international school in Shanghai, China.
“The future of education is very exciting. With the increasing use of tech in schools, the possibilities for creativity and innovation are endless! I am particularly interested to see how virtual reality will become a key part in lessons; its potential is huge. Furthermore, with collaboration becoming easier due to online tools, I can’t wait to work with others around the world on joint projects.”
6. Utkarsh Lokesh
CEO & Editor, EdTechReview
“Edtech startups bet that the future of education is going to be STEM learning, 3D printing, learning through VR/AR, teaching coding, and GBL; but I believe it is going to be all of that and more. I believe that the future of education will produce more creators, more problem solvers and more entrepreneurs – if we can teach students to become leaders, then we can build a brighter future.”
7. Dr. Micah Shippee, Educator
“The future of education will be shaped by our ability to meaningfully adopt emergent technology, rather than forcefully integrate. “Adoption” infers being more than just tacked on to a culture, it illustrates acceptance as part of the cultural norm. Here we will find ourselves in a paradigm shift where our learner-centered instruction will yield powerful experiential knowledge. The resulting shift will hold increasingly tangible learning experiences for learners to connect with places previously only available through static, one-dimensional delivery. Further, learners will be afforded opportunities to leverage emergent technology to create authentic products for their individual learning context.”
8. Lori Gracey, CAE
TCEA Executive Director
“The future of education is amazingly bright! Our educators and leaders are doing more to foster true student learning than they ever have, and new technologies are helping. AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) additions to the classroom will become more prevalent in 2018 and help the learning to be even more interactive and engaging. Geographic and social/economic boundaries will continue to fall as the Internet of Things connects us together more and more. It is an exciting time to be both a teacher and a student!”
9. Matthew Farber, Ed.D.
Assistant Professor of Technology, Innovation & Pedagogy
“We need to start treating (or elevating) some digital games to be more than technology tools. Many are “new media” designed to tell narratives and to generate emotions from players. As a comparison, we don’t consider documentaries to be technology tools just because they may be played on a DVD player!
In my book, Game-Based Learning in Action, teacher John Fallon uses the game Her Story to teach literary devices (also see his blog post). Many good games tell open-ended narratives and should be examined the same as we analyze novels, film, and other “traditional” media.”
10. Steven W. Anderson, Digital Learning and Relationship Evangelist
“I believe we are in the most incredible time to learn and teach than at any other point in history. The near ubiquitous access to information, advanced devices and a growing network of connected educators makes the classroom an awesome place to be. While we cannot predict exactly what the future will hold I think we will see movements come and go, but what will continue its growth is a passion for helping kids (and adults) find meaning in their learning, new ways to connect and rapid innovation in the education profession.
11. Mark Engelberg
Creator of //CODE programming game series, ThinkFun
“Thanks to adaptive learning technologies, students will be able to learn at their own rate and repeat lessons as needed to gain complete mastery. This stronger focus on using technology to develop core competencies will free up teachers to use classroom time more creatively, providing fun experiences that reinforce and extend what the kids are learning. Computer science is the new literacy, and will be integrated into a wide variety of K-12 subjects.”
12. Jennie Maigiera
Chief Program Officer, EdTechTeam
“People always ask me, “What do you predict the classroom of the future will look like?” I always reply, if I could predict the future classroom, I’d be sorely disappointed. I love being surprised by new developments in technology and pedagogy. I love seeing the impossible become commonplace. The search for classroom innovation is an ongoing expedition, and I can’t wait to see what tomorrow’s discovery brings.”
13. Devorah Heitner
Author of Screenwise, Founder of Raising Digital Natives 3
“Huge question. I am excited about the role tech can play in empowering people to be lifelong learners and to find a community for what they want to learn. I am also excited to see student voice and choice and project-based learning become part of so many new and ongoing educational institutions. I am concerned about inequities in access to high-quality education and schools and I hope that that is rectified nationally and globally in the future. Empowering and encouraging students to become leaders and citizens and to participate in their local and national public spheres to identify and solve problems should be the mission of schools going forward.”
14. Sotiris Makrygiannis
Cofounder of Eliademy
“AI helps teachers become better, not setting algorithmic limits to the brains of students. VR is used on daily basis from daycare to corporate environments, however, proper time limits are set and the danger of addiction is managed. Brain to PC neuron connectivity unleashes the human potential by helping us convert thoughts to actions. Big data are used to coach, mentor citizens, for those that opt-in of course Every citizen has the right to learn anything at a 0.99 cents cost but they understand as well the responsibility of doing so.”
15. Sari Factor, CEO of Edgenuity
“We are moving toward an era where all educators and students have access to tools and technology to help them achieve academic success. Engaging, personalized learning programs – powered by technology – are becoming more prevalent and impactful across K-12 education. Educators have the ability to identify each student’s strengths and weaknesses, enabling individualized instruction at scale. Students have the freedom to learn anywhere, at any time, and at their own pace, taking ownership for their learning. The days of ‘teaching to the middle’ are over.”
16. David Lord
CEO, JumpStart Games
“The use of technology and gamification in the classroom is a growing trend – one that can be harnessed in multiple forms to enhance an instant digital interaction between the teacher and the student. Implementing technology into the curriculum also allows for parents to be more involved in their child’s education, thereby creating a 360-degree experience between parent, teacher and child. While technologies such as augmented and virtual reality are still emerging, I believe that game-based learning will eventually incorporate them as well, as they will allow children the chance to explore concepts they otherwise would not have access to.”
17. Erik Harrell, CEO, Kahoot!
“Teachers will become more important going forward than ever before. They will continue to be critical potential “life long” role models for students, and given that they are on the front lines interacting with students every day, they know better than anyone what methods and digital technologies work best in the classroom to engage students. The role of the teacher will evolve from a lecturer to a guider of students – helping students develop 21st Century problem solving skills, creative skills and real world project based team collaboration skills. Teachers will capitalize on data on individual students to help them develop personalized learning plans. As a leader in the gamification of learning, Kahoot! believes that gamification will be central to helping teachers achieve the learning outcomes they are seeking for their students.”
18. Stephania Savva, PhD.
Research Associate, Cyprus University of Technology
“I believe in the promise for education to nurture social change and tackle some of the most challenging issues we deal as societies. In the future, there will be more steps towards bridging the gap between educational theory, research and practice worldwide. These should focus on systematic and meaningful technology-enhanced instructional approaches to maximize the learning potential for students in view of 21st century demands.
What I think will be instrumental, is effective professional development (PD). This requires Design-Based research and formative assessment to develop sustainable educational systems that will expand the literacy repertoires of students to include multiliteracies’ inclusive practices.”
19. Suzy Brooks
Director of Instructional Technology, Mashpee Public Schools, MA
Consultant and Presenter, TechnicallyInvisible.com
“Future students and educators will learn to see past their own perceptions by utilizing tools designed to accurately reflect strengths and weaknesses and facilitate meaningful growth. Accessible, mobile tools will allow us to be responsive as students and educators by anticipating challenges and implementing better practices to meet needs quickly and effectively. Technology will empower us all to be more connected, social and collaborative in ways that foster deeper empathy, curiosity and creativity. Ultimately, the essential skills of problem-solving and critical thinking will become more robust as we continue to work together redefining and revolutionizing education. “History starts now!”
20. Ahrani Logan
CEO & Cofounder Peapodicity
“The future of education will almost certainly include technology. The rise of tablet use in schools alongside the growing trend for interactivity to help build 21st Century skills means that technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) will gain more of a presence. Simple, affordable learning tools such as the award-winning AugmentifyIt®️ AR Card Quiz Games designed to encourage STEM and STEAM engagement are already gaining momentum and will become more commonplace in classroom activities to extend curriculum topic learning.”
21. Meagan England
“Teachers and students will lead the technology revolution in education and beyond. Teachers and students will create new uses for existing technology in the classroom and the workplace. Educators and learners will design and construct the technologies needed to meet the demands of the diverse student population throughout their learning career.”
22. Julie King
“The future of education sees students as more than consumers of information and media – but rather producers of knowledge and creators of stories. Beyond memorizing discrete facts, students will learn to sift through information to determine its value, then make their own connections and collaborations. Emerging technology tools, such as augmented and virtual reality have the potential to make powerful changes to the ways students demonstrate understanding of concepts and empathy for others – key elements for their engagement as participants in face-to-face and digital societies.”
23. Mark Espinola
CEO + Founder, GradeHub
No matter the delivery, online or in person, the best learning environments have a great teacher font and center. Instead of a dystopia of abandon buildings displaced by adaptive learning, bots, and AI, I see technologist ultimately learning to serve instead of aiming to replace educators.
Change often comes through cloaking technology in a “facade of the familiar,” EdTech companies will provide teachers familiar tools that employ radical advances in technology. Striking a middle ground of familiar and new will make large-scale technology adoption possible.
24. Dr. Jason Hlavacs
Division Chair for Applied Arts, Lyons Township High School
“Blended learning is the future of education. The combination of online digital content and classroom experiences will allow for deeper more meaningful learning. Blended learning allows for flexible instruction where a teacher may flip their class one day, then use station rotations the next day, or playlist completion another day. Blended learning allows for teachers to differentiate their instruction in a way that connects with students and gives students control they’ve never experienced. Blended learning will allow teachers to provide relevant context that has been missing in education while changing how the group instructional space is used.”
25. Sedef Ozmen, EdTech Trainer
“Whenever you teach, you also touch the future! With the growth of technology, we as educators can touch the future even faster. So, I think innovative teachers are those that harness the power of education and those who follow the technological wave.”
26. Sharon Lynch, PhD
Research Professor of the George Washington Institute of Public Policy
Professor Emerita of Curriculum and Instruction
“STEM Education will lurch from the factory model to personalized approaches due to cultural shifts, new enabling technologies, and the diversity of students who want to learn individually, collaboratively, and experientially. Schools walls will grow increasingly porous as students connect with multi-age peers and STEM professionals to learn through games, maker spaces, clubs, and groups with STEM social action agendas. Coding and technology platforms will increasingly be used for creative expression and to demonstrate learning. New technologies will enable students learning English and those with different learning patterns and abilities.
Teaching will become more professionalized and collaborative, opened to individuals who have a range of STEM knowledge and skills and who can link students to STEM in the community. Equity issues could improve or be exacerbated, depending on policies on housing, school choice, school funding, and a recommitment to the American Dream.”
27. Dr. Nick Ceglarek
Superintendent, Hudsonville Public Schools (until June 30)
Superintendent, Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District (TBAISD beginning July 1)
“With the advances in technology, our role as educators is to facilitate learning, thinking, and problem-solving in a way which harnesses the incredible power at our fingertips. Instantaneous access to world events, scientific and research data, and creativity tools currently exist in the palm of our students’ hands. As educators, how do we use it in a way that is not distracting but enlightening? #educatorchallenge”
28. Dr. Richard Osborne, Catalysed Ltd.
“Should edtech be school led … or teacher led? Science teachers choose which experiments best suit their students, whilst Geography teachers choose the best places to explore. Maths teachers select the most apt problems, and Language teachers which grammar challenges. Why shouldn’t the same be true of edtech? I believe a personalised edtech pedagogy is the future – after all, it’s not what you use, but how you use it that matters. We all teach in our own special way, and it’s time to embrace digital technologies with the same ethos. “Right tech, right teacher” is the future of edtech.”
29. Tim Green
Professor of Educational Technology and Teacher Education
“Despite the many challenges facing education, we live in a time of great promise for education. As an educational technologist and pedagogist, I see the vast potential technology coupled with effective pedagogy has to continue transforming when, where, and how teaching and learning takes place. We are moving from learning from and with technology to providing powerful learning anytime, anywhere through technology. This shift will provide learners with increased opportunities to take more ownership of their learning—allowing them to determine what they learn and how they demonstrate their learning to best meet their needs and goals. Teaching and learning will become increasingly less defined by formal learning contexts. I envision an increase in informal learning spaces—many facilitated through technology—where learners from around the globe can connect and learn from each other and from educators and experts. Learners will be part of numerous learning communities—formal and informal—that will help shape their educational experiences.”
Lecturer, Department of Learning Technologies, College of Information, University of North Texas
Researcher, The Digital Learning and Social Media Research Group, Royal Roads University
“The cultivation of digital literacy and information fluency development in education will help students become contributing members of our growing knowledge economy. We need to encourage learners to not only interpret and evaluate information, but also to produce and share creative content. By nurturing life-long learning practices, educators are preparing learners to be continuously engaged to support their future academic and career journey. Learning experiences should encourage students to ask critical questions, think deeply, collaborate cross-culturally, and encourage agility when faced with challenges or even professional opportunities that may not exist yet.”
31. Lisa Nielsen
“In the future, there will no longer be talk of banning technology so students pay attention to the lectures of their teachers. Instead, time together will be spent meaningfully with the teacher providing an environment for rich discussion and creation. Lectures can be viewed independently along side transcripts, notes, and presentation materials.
In the future, student work will no longer be locked inside a classroom or school building. Instead their work will be made for an authentic audience with a focus on contributing to making the world a better place in someway.
In the future, student work will no longer be represented by numbers, grades, and a few one-size-fits-all tests. Instead, there will be authentic methods of assessment that make learning more transparent including digital portfolios and transcripts that capture mastery and micro-credentials.”
32. Bethany Petty
High School Social Studies Teacher and Educational Technology Blogger and Author
“This is such a fantastic time to be a teacher. The increasing availability of technology in the classroom allows teachers to create amazing learning opportunities our students, encouraging them to create representations of their knowledge, communicate and collaborate with their peers in the classroom and around the world, and think critically to solve problems. I’m excited to see these opportunities continue and increase in the coming years, as teachers work to create meaningful learning experiences for our students!”
“In the near future, technology will play an even more fundamental role in transforming not only how we teach, but also how students learn. The role of teacher will have completely morphed into that of a coach or mentor, and teachers will place much more emphasis on self-directed, competency-based learning. In that setting, students will be assessed not on how much they know, but on what they can do with what they know.”
34. Jerry S. Boyd
Superintendent, Putnam County School System
“All learning is personal today and in the future…at least anything that is authentic, lasting, and relevant. Technology in education, whether a device or a platform, is simply a tool that helps students make connections necessary to build knowledge; create and share ideas; and find solutions to complex problems. Technology solutions that will best enable teachers, schools, and districts to support seamless, high quality, and purposeful personalized learning pathways for all students will have the most value for years to come.”
Learning and Performance Consultant
“My view: the future of education is rapidly changing, impacted by technologies, time, resources, and competition. In academia, quick access to content and increased technology use are key. Also included:
- Computer skills and digital literacies for all levels
- Educators increasingly integrate learning technologies
- Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) implementation enable powerful, engaging learning experiences
- Use of video and massive open online courses (MOOCS) increases
- Use of micro-learning, collaborative, and social/informal learning increases
- More mobile use provides quicker access
- Curated content grows and provides learning guidance
- Deeper learning and self-directed learning outcomes increase
- Emphasis on continuous learning”
36. Patricio Vargas, PhD
Assistant Superintendent Educational Services
“From the one room school house to a limitless world at your fingertips, education continues to evolve as a means to maximize human potential. The excitement of today’s possibilities provides a vision for what the future has to offer: students who are part of networks of interaction linked by common interests where shared responsibility ignites passion for learning. It is in this setting where teachers’ roles, pedagogical approaches, and the use of artificial intelligence shift to ensure that learning expectations are met within the context of a professional community.”
37. Steve Coxon, PhD
Associate Professor and Executive Director,
Center for Access and Achievement, Maryville University
“As VR tech advances and prices fall, educational opportunities will expand dramatically and become available to almost everyone. At Maryville University, for example, we help prepare better teachers by using 360 cameras and VR headsets that enable them to review everything happening in their practicum classrooms.
Other forms of education won’t disappear, but soon students of all ages and backgrounds will have access to high quality educational experiences previously impossible; from young children creating virtual field trips of local ecosystems and sharing them worldwide to medical students practicing surgery. Inequitable access to high-speed internet is the biggest barrier to overcome.”
38. Brian Dall Schyth, Ph.D., M.Sc., High School teacher at Aarhus statsgymnasium (High School), Århus, Denmark: https://www.aarhusstatsgymnasium.dk/; Animator and illustrator in the company ExplainWays: www.explainways.com
“The future of education will, due to an increase in opportunities and freedom for both teacher and student, be even more concerned with making the right choices than what we see today. Adaptation to individual student needs will be required to increase student success thereby requiring extensive formative evaluation why I imagine that computer-aided systems for correcting assignments will be used even more than today – a paradox to be addressed. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) in combination with 2D/3D animation will surely add to the highly engaging ways of hooking students, stimulating learning and explaining hard to grasp relationships in the real world. Teachers or mentors will still be the student’s possibility for gaining help in choosing and for tying together the information and experiences from the different curriculum parts into what we call learning.”
39. John Harrington
CEO, Funds for Learning
“Education has always been about connecting students to their future – and the future of education is connected learners. Internet-based tools and communications are transforming education by giving students more opportunities to learn than ever before. Online tools and personalized resources empower students to gather information, collaborate with other learners, and share their work with the world. The key to unleashing this potential lies in reducing the entry barriers to our digital society and providing electronic devices and persistent Internet connections to our students. If we succeed at that, our students will be connected to a very bright future.”
40. Derrick Brown
Chief Innovation Officer, MBA. Evergreen Public Schools
“I believe the future of education begins with transforming teaching and learning, which means teachers are no longer at the front of the classroom lecturing to students with written instruction or having students memorizing facts. My hope is we create innovative learners and thinkers that can harness the knowledge and power of the Internet. We are no longer looking for excellent test takers or trying to find out what a student memorized. Instead, we want to build and establish upon their interests and be curious about personalized learning. I want kids to thirst for knowledge in a creative way, thinking critically, communicating and engaging about what could be or have the willingness to find out the possibilities.”
41. Rich Nedwich, global director of education at Ruckus
“Schools are advancing toward 100% digital curriculum delivery while balancing the needs for digital equity and student data privacy. Each step along the journey brings its own set of challenges from an IT perspective (scalable, secure and reliable networks) and pedagogical (professional development, digital curriculum selection and lesson plan development). The promised land would deliver more personalized learning, higher graduation rates and students becoming digital citizens, prepared for the yet unimagined jobs of the future.”
We would like to thank all our experts for contributing to this roundup. How is your school or organization working to prepare for the future? Let us know what’s worked and what hasn’t worked.