The Future of Education? Cool…and Scary.

Lately I’ve been obsessing over the future of education. That has included a lot of research and time spent analyzing trends in technology, especially those that will impact the education sector. There are some great publications and sites that have helped my research, but the ones focused on education are relatively few. It’s ironic that education promotes individuals and groups to create technological advances, but lags behind in adopting those new technologies. Thus far this is what I’ve found:

The Future of Education is going to be cool for students, teachers, administrators, and parents.
The Future of Education is going to be scary for students, teachers, administrators, and parents.


Not sure what I mean? The classic technology paradox here is easier to understand with a few analogies. Take for instance smart phones. Smart phones give many students access to information and the web. A large number of these students may not own a computer, and therefore the smart phones put information directly at their fingertips. This is great. However, smart phones can also connect these students to hundreds of other ways to avoid learning while in the classroom. Many teachers and schools are afraid to allow smart phones in class because of the negative possibilities. Smart phones define this paradox in education where technology can solve one issue, but create an entirely new issue.

One of the growing technological trends in education is what I call, “On Demand Education”. It’s the ability for students to learn at anytime, from anywhere. This, again, is great. Future students may be able to set their own “learning” schedule, to get work done when they want (think late-night Math). But if I remember correctly, I was a fairly successful procrastinator in high school. How many students will have the will-power and scheduling abilities to do this “On Demand” education successfully? Does it give another out and/or excuse for those students who have better things to do in their mind?

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