Friday, October 23, 2015

5 Years Ahead... #ThinkFurther

“This blog post is part of the ‘Think Further’ series sponsored by Fred Alger Management. For more “Think Further” content, please visit

Looking ahead five years can be a daunting task, but not too difficult if we pay attention to
trends in education and technology. The traditional classroom will be considered more of a
relic than ever before, wearable technology will become more commonplace and change
the way students consume content, and the abilities to connect with classrooms around
the globe will become standard procedure for connected classrooms. These changes will
have a positive impact on education and it is important for teachers to be prepared for

The traditional classroom that revolves around the teacher as the gatekeeper of
information will be more antiquated than ever before. More students will have their own
devices and access to information will be instantaneous. No longer will students need
teachers to provide facts, they will need them to guide them in understanding of the
information and helping them apply it to their lives. Overpriced and out of date textbooks
will be a thing of the past as students will be able to access the most important information
on websites and e-books created by their teachers. Information will be available all of the
time to all students. A room with four walls will no longer be needed house student
learning. Changes to learning spaces will take place that no longer place teacher front and
center. These learning spaces will now focus on communal learning and be student
centered. These needed changes will support student centered learning and change the
way schools are viewed around the country.

Wearable technology will change the way students consume information. As technology
shrinks and enters every facet of our lives, wearable technology will provide everyone
instant access to information. This information can come in different forms.

Personal feedback can give the student information on their health and activity.
Students can use this information throughout the day to keep track of their
movement and other health vitals. This could come in handy for physical education

Personalized Information will allow students to set up notifications that can be
pushed to their wearable devices to keep them up to date with the things that are
most important to them.

Teacher communication can be enhanced with the use of wearable technology.
Updates to assignments or gradebooks will allow students instant notifications and
allow them the ability to address issues immediately.

The days of waiting for teachers to update the gradebook and share assignments on their
website will no longer be considered cutting edge ways to communicate in the classroom.
Wearable technology will allow students to get notifications and stay connected to class
wherever they are. When students are more connected, they can be more engaged. Proper
support and training will be needed to take full advantage of these tools. Wearable
technology will become an everyday part of education like the pen and pencil.

The emphasis on global connections will become more important in the coming years. As
technology grows, the world shrinks. It will become increasingly important for students to
connect with others outside of their community to give them a world perspective on their
studies. Video chat, collaborative web based tools, and other web based technologies will
allow more students to connect than ever before. The world is becoming more a global
community each year and it is important for students to have experience working in that
community. Projects will no longer be confined to the classroom, the building, or even the
state the students live. They will be massive projects that encourage students to reach out
and make connections with others and learn together. These experiences will have a
greater impact on student learning and will replace standardized tests in the future. These
large projects will become portfolio items that colleges and businesses will value more than
a number on a test. The technology will be in place to make all of this happen easily for
everyone involved. It will revolutionize the way everyone looks at education.

The most important thing with all of these predictions is that everyone involved has to be
open to the idea of change. Education needs to evolve with the world around them if it is
going to be relevant for our students. Technology is just a tool and will never replace the
need for teachers. It will be important to spend time learning how to use any new tool to
engage students and support learning. As educators, it is our job to do this. If we do not,
someone will do it for us. That would lead to a very dark future for us all.

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