When you step into the classroom of today, you readily witness the evidence of technology. From kindergarten to college, the learning environment is surrounded by electronic teaching and learning devices. Students have the ability to learn about the complexities of energy and water conservation from their home or classroom.
The field trip of yesteryear has been replaced. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a live-streaming video may be priceless. With the click of a mouse, students can experience molten salt energy storage by watching the 10,000 sun-tracking mirrors (heliostats) that follow and redirect sunlight as if they were there. Topics for study are only limited by the imagination and preferences of the teacher and student. Personalized learning is a reality.
Recently, the eLearning Industry, a web-based network of e-learning resources, addressed this phenomenon by suggesting what education will look like in the next 20 years. Here are some of their future realities:
- The world will be the classroom. Mobile devices and other e-learning tools will allow students to learn in a variety of environments, discovering and processing information at their own pace. There will be more emphasis on theoretical learning in the classroom and practical learning in the field.
- Studying will become personal. Not only will students be able to learn in ways that best suit them, they will also become more involved in creating curriculum that’s meaningful and relevant to them. They’ll be aided by study tools and devices that adapt to their individual capabilities.
- Learning will be project-based. The freelance economy of the future is likely to require shorter-term, more project-based learning. This means mastering organizational, collaborative and time-management skills that can be applied to a variety of tasks and situations. While computers perform traditional math skills, there will be a need for human interpretation of data.
- Exams will change. Courseware platforms will measure a student’s capabilities at various learning steps or through work in the field.
- Mentoring will become more important. As students become more involved in their curriculum and more independent learners, interaction with people who can help them is key. Teachers will be vital in helping students sift through information and guide them to focus on what they really need to learn.
You may have read through the list submitted above with curiosity. Don’t the classrooms of today already exhibit these traits? The simple answer to this question is, “Yes.” The digital reality of today’s classrooms help break down geographic and systemic barriers. Students experience the world by interacting with data. Even traditional IT skillsets don’t really apply; teaching involves a new approach, new tools and services, and a new vocabulary.
Teachers or mentors must assist students as they sort through the benefits and risks of accessing information in this age of technology. Teachers first filter through innumerable websites to painstakingly determine those meriting attention. Sites chosen must be of high quality and meet the objective of the lesson. Without the experience and wisdom of the teacher, the internet as an education tool is useless.
Teachers seek to prepare lifelong learners in a world where they will think critically, become productive members of a global society, and communicate across cultures. While technology rapidly changes how people learn, it is not a substitute for human interaction. Teachers as mentors are more important than ever.
Learn more about Franklin Energy's Education solutions by scheduling a meeting with an expert.
Ed.D: Education Director
Diane Sumner is a born educator. Since transitioning from the classroom to the boardroom, she has refined and helped develop educational content to support individual State Academic Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and the global expectations of STEM. As Franklin Energy's Education Director, Diane represents the voice of participating and potential teachers and school districts across the country. Sumner received her Bachelor of Arts in History/Pre-Law with Minors in Spanish, English and ESL. After achieving a Master’s degree in Educational Administration and a second Master’s degree in Language Acquisition, she went on to receive an Education Doctorate in Higher Education Adult Learning.