The future of education:

January 28th, 2015 No Comments

What’s over the horizon?

Future of Education

How have learning technologies evolved over time? Scroll through our timeline to find out: The Evolution of Learning Technologies

Like almost every product and service in our world, education is changing. New technologies designed to simplify and streamline the transference of information from those who have it to those who do not are being designed and refined at a pace and scale never seen before.

Information that was once the reserve of the elite is now being disseminated to new demographics, democratising education in a way that was unthinkable less than a generation ago.

But exactly how is that change happening, and what will the classroom – or virtual classroom – of the future look like? The chalk and blackboards of the 20th century may have disappeared along with the home telephone and the pocket calculator, but can we really expect that virtual classrooms-in-the-cloud are the inevitable apex of progression? Will technological innovation be responsible for meeting every new educational challenge, or will educators need to look at ways of tailoring the learning experience to suit different students’ needs? And, for that matter, will traditional educators be needed at all?

Open Colleges asked six global education professionals to peer into the crystal ball:


Victor Rivero

Victor Rivero from EdTech Digest

Victor Rivero tells the story of 21st-century education transformation. He has toured the country with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; he has written for, edited or contributed to American School Board Journal, Edutopia, Converge (Center for Digital Education), District Administration, Scholastic Administrator, edCetera, Internet@Schools and various other publications.

He has provided consulting and editorial support to the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) and oversees the annual EdTech Digest Awards Recognition Program featuring Cool Tool, Leadership and Trendsetter awards.

What do you predict will be the biggest gamechanger in educational innovation in the next five years?

It isn’t an app, platform or more efficient tablet. Rather, it will be the rediscovery of the power of the human soul to change current conditions, to reawaken itself and generate fresh methods, new approaches and better ways forward. No matter how technophobic or tech-savvy you are, we don’t belong to technology – technology belongs to us. It’s yours! Use it for good.Tweet:

What emerging technology are you most excited about for use in education and why?

Futurist and educator David Thornburgh’s emerging technology, the ‘educational holodeck’, could be embedded into new school architecture and made a reality in classrooms across the globe. Talk about immersive learning!

Imagine flying over the Himalayas in geography class with wind, cold and sensation of height, or being in a rowdy, exhilarated parade to celebrate the end of World War II in history class!

What do you think is the biggest myth surrounding technology in education?

That there is no proof of its efficacy. Studies exist, and more are in progress.

What will the classroom of 2025 will look like?

That used to be a long time from now, but we’re talking about just a short decade away. Most class-rooms will finally have tablets and interactive whiteboards with better apps, platforms and content, while the most advanced learning centres will bring content alive by offering immersive, IMAX or holodeck-like experiences that will blow students away – requiring proof of physical health and liability waivers before entering them, of course.


Michael Gorman

Michael Gorman from 21 st Century Educational Technology and Learning

Michael Gorman is an education expert, a graduate of Western Michigan University, Indiana University and Johns Hopkins University. He oversees one-to-one laptop programs and digital professional development for Southwest Allen County Schools near Fort Wayne, Indiana. He is also a consultant for Discovery Education, ISTE, My Big Campus, PBS and November Learning.

Which emerging education technology is most exciting to you?

Expansion, improvement and accessibility to a broadband connection across the globe, regardless of income. Everyone in our society must have the opportunity to connect and network beyond the classroom walls. Allowing all students to learn anywhere at any time would be a giant step in equalising opportunities for everyone.

What is the biggest myth about technology in education?

That technology, with all its glamour, is all that is needed to transform education. Technology is only an amplifier; we must have a plan and vision of what we will amplify. Technology is not a replacement for good pedagogy.Tweet:

What is your number one tip for overcoming resistance to education technology?

Honour past success of educators and find ways that technology can amplify what has been successful. The jukebox was a great idea and served us well, but what new amazing opportunities did the MP3 player bring?


Anne Mirtschin

Anne Mirtschin from Murcha

Anne Mirtschin is an award-winning teacher from Victoria. She is passionate about rural and global education, immersing technology in the classroom, eLearning and loves collaborating, teaching and learning online. Anne teaches ICT from year 7 through to Year 12 at Hawkesdale P12 College, a small rural prep to Year 12 school.

Anne is host of Tech Talk Tuesdays, a weekly online webinar, is a web conference coach for Digital Learning, Victorian Education Department, the Australasian Co-ordinator for the Global Education Conference, an active member of the Flat Connection Projects and is a lead teacher for the Global Classroom projects.

What technology are you most excited about?

Virtual conferencing with mobile technology allows us to learn beyond the textbook and make other countries, cultures and religions real. Students can ask questions of virtual speakers and participants, share their knowledge and learn to empathise with others which they cannot do with traditional texts. Students can take virtual tours of other countries over a web camera.

Do some people have the wrong idea about technology in the classroom?

Some believe it’s too hard for teachers to embrace its use and that it is very time-consuming to learn and that there are unlimited predators out there.

What will the classroom of 2025 will look like?

Students learning virtually in mixed global groups, choosing where, when and what to learn and collaborating on global projects. It will be a mix of face-to-face and virtual learning. Students will learn as much from their peers and network as from the teacher. The teacher will be a facilitator.

What’s your number one tip for overcoming resistance to education technology?

Mentor the resistors, find out why they are resistant to technology and help work through those issues. Share how to use technology effectively in small steps. Technology is here to stay and those who resist its use will become obsolete. Tweet:
Help create a network of support for them.


Chris Betcher

Chris Betcher from

Chris Betcher is a passionate educational technologist, assisting teachers and students to use digital technology in engaging, creative and meaningful ways. He has taught in Australia and Canada, and regularly presents at events across Australia and the Asia Pacific region.

Chris is a Google Certified Teacher and Adobe Education Leader. He has a curious mind, asks way too many questions, and likes making things out of zeroes and ones.

What do you think is the biggest myth surrounding technology in education?

The biggest myth is that there is a one-size-fits-all answer to providing the “right” kind of education, with or without technology. There are many philosophical approaches to teaching and you could probably find research that supports or debunks any of them. We need to be focussed on a whole range of different approaches. It’s not a matter of choosing one teaching philosophy over another, but rather it’s about being able to provide the best learning opportunities and support to each student based on their needs.

What is your number one tip for overcoming resistance to education technology?

Lead by example. You can’t change the world, you can only change yourself. Tweet:
So be the change you want to see in education. Be authentic and genuine about developing your students’ love of learning and your willingness to use whatever tools will help achieve it.


Thomas Murray

Thomas Murray from

Tom Murray serves as the State & District Digital Learning Policy & Advocacy Director for the Alliance for Excellent Education out of Washington, DC. Currently, he works alongside State Education Departments, corporations and school districts throughout the country to implement digital learning and helps to oversee Project 24 and Digital Learning Day.

Tom’s wealth of experience in K-12 digital leadership have been recognised at the national level, which included implementing a 1:1 program, BYOD, blended learning, and a K-12 cyber school when he served as the Director of Technology and Cyber Education for the Quakertown Community School District in Bucks County, PA. He was the recipient of the Blended Schools Network Leadership Award, named one of the top 16 ‘forward thinking EdTech leaders in the country’, named one of the “Top 100 influential voices in education”, and has been featured in Tech & Learning Magazine’s Leadership Profile. He also serves on the advisory board for T.H.E. Journal.

What do you predict will be the biggest game changer in educational innovation in the next five years?

I believe that change comes from within. It’s not about some innovative technology, it’s a growth mindset, combined with a ‘do whatever it takes for kids’ mentality that will make the change effective and sustainable.Tweet:

What emerging technology are you most excited about for use in education and why?

Adaptive software that personalises instruction and enables a true blended approach for teachers helps create a dynamic, student-centric environment. True adaptive software levels the content to the student’s current level of achievement and is dynamic enough to advance as the student’s level changes. Software will never replace a top-notch teacher, but high quality, adaptive software al-lows teachers to differentiate effectively in a blended learning environment.

What is your top tip for overcoming resistance to education technology?

Model the outcome you’re looking for. Help connect others on social media such as Twitter and see what others are doing and why the investment in time is worth it.


Dan Leeman

Dan Leeman from and

Dan Leeman is a former music educator from Fargo, ND, in the US who now works for Edublogs and writes at The Edublogger. He’s passionate about education and technology that aids the learning process and loves helping teachers do awesome things

What do you predict will be the biggest game changer in educational innovation in the next five years?

While the market will remain rich for small educational technology start-ups, I think big players will continue to emerge and integrate with existing systems. Tweet:
Good for classrooms, tough for smaller educational tech companies who are not focused on constant innovation.

What emerging technology are you most excited about?

Learning Analytics. With so many industries including education jumping on the big data bandwagon, we have a plethora of data points from various sources. Now we just have to translate that data into meaningful learning solutions.

What do you think is the biggest myth surrounding technology in education?

There is no magic button. Smartboards don’t suddenly make a classroom interactive. iPads don’t necessarily increase collaboration. With the right tools in the right hands, schools will be successful.
Making across-the-board purchases of any given technology (because test scores were improved in a district two states away) is silly. Find the right technology that meets the needs of your own stakeholders. Encourage those who are passionate to take the reins.

What is your number one tip for educators who are resistant to technology?

I simply focus on how a particular technology will save someone time or money. Once that’s achieved, I trust them to act in their best self-interest. When they’re on board with the technology, then I show them how it can be used to innovate.


Technology isnt going anywhere

If there’s a recurring theme here it’s that, like in almost every industry, technology is only part of the answer. People are the key.

Virtual classrooms equipped with immersive technologies that allow students to lob a grenade over the WWI trenches or whiz around the pyramids sound like a classroom no-brainer, but they won’t have any impact if it doesn’t resonate with individual students’ learning style, or if it’s not augmented by a competent educator. Exactly how that mix of technology and real-person interaction will shake out over the next few years is still a work in progress.

What is certain is that technology isn’t going anywhere. Keeping up will be half the battle.


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