The future of technology and education

How might technology influence a college student in the future, and what can we expect from our learning institutions in regards to advancements? In which type of environment will students find themselves learning in 10, 15 or even 20 years from now?

Technology in its current form serves to provide a sense of ease in school life. In its present form students can enrol in courses, send and receive assignments, view grades and even view uploaded lecture audio/video or notes. Technology has also emerged as the best research platform available; it is able to present a vast expanse of information while allowing for the content to be the latest and most accurate. Without technology providing the ease of use it does in these areas, more student time would have to be allocated to the monotonous tasks and less time to the important tasks such as studying for that upcoming exam or proofreading that all important essay.
The future will prove to simplify things even more. I predict that laptops will have progressed to the point where a professor may interact with all machines present in his/her classroom from their own, sending us documents, PowerPoint presentations, videos, etc. near instantly. Perhaps a device similar to the Microsoft Surface will be available at every desk, and the students would be able to login with a Windows Live ID and have access to their entire student profiles, homework and all. The future of technology will serve to keep us more connected to school, even when we aren't currently there.

The desktop as we currently know it will have been revolutionized and serve to be more than a "space for icons and wallpaper". The desktop will be extremely interactive through the use of widgets, real-time news updates, etc. It will also be cloud-based so that one may carry their desktop with them no matter to which device or where they are connected. Students who are not able to attend class for whichever reason will be able to connect via their desktop to a live feed of their lectures, and furthermore even participate in the discussions either through type or voice conferencing.

As computing makes the shift from static to dynamic (or cloud) computing the need to stay connected and updated regardless of device is paramount.. No longer will you arrive at class realizing you forgot to print out your essay and that you only have it on your home PC. Within a few clicks, you would have access to all your files. We are already seeing the beginnings of this with Windows Live Mesh and the future looks bright. I can already imagine walking into a Library on campus that is fully equipped with Surface PC's that allow me to compute as if I were in my own living room.

Office will be completely cloud-based and store all preferences via a Windows Live login, allowing for trans-machine accessibility. The hallmark programs of the Office line will still be in use, but perhaps not in their separate forms. We may see one Office applications with the potential to do what the separate applications have done and to save or publish in one universal file format. OneNote perhaps will be able to intelligently listen to a lecture video and extract key terms based on nuances in the human voice that stress importance; this will serve to add a new dimension to student note-taking and increase student efficiency.
Smartphones in the future will serve as laptops now; imagine wirelessly transmitting a PowerPoint presentation from your mobile device to a projector. The ease of sharing documents by means of instant transfer between devices similar to the present day Zune's ability to share music between Zune-to-Zune will make group collaboration seamless.

Many of the present extracurricular activities will be dominant in the future, yet there may be an influx of political and economical involvement by students seeing as within the last ten years the improvements in technology have connected student existence to that of the real world issues, this will only become more evident as the technology improves. The ability to have your say regardless of where you are located and have that voice be heard will be something students strive toward. The course load may become increased seeing as the forecast for technology suggests a student's life will be easier, or the load may not change at all but the rigor of the individual courses may increase as students are able to do more, faster. The completion and submission of homework will be an entirely online thing, perhaps the ability to have an essay updated as a draft form while you are writing it will garner input from a professor even before the piece is complete. We will see more interconnectivity with our assigned work, both with our peers and our teachers.

Arriving at class, stepping out of ecologically friendly vehicles students will enter a classroom that is no longer setup lecture style, but forum based and focused towards a holographic projector that will enable discussions to be had by members of academic communities that reside in other countries, as easily as if they were in the same room. With this technology, it's possible to have the best professors in the world teaching at schools around the world simultaneously. Given the present-day focus on the environment, future schools will "carry on the torch" in terms of environmental education and activism in order to certify that the academic investments made therein are not made futile by the destruction of our planet.

The impact technology has on the present day is evident, to speculate about the future provides a feeling of awe and excitement. I may not be a student when this all happens, but maybe I'll go back for a couple of courses just to experience the new environment.

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11 Comments

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Most of these technologies are already available, but are not cheap, easy to access and are for the most part cumbersome. Those who think this is all pipe dream are wrong. A computer for every student was once beyond imagination, however in many schools this is already the case. As technology improves and becomes cheaper due to higher demand and improved production methods, schools will be able to afford all of this technology. It will also be eventually much easier to implement and use.

I think you just had an orgasm for Cloud Computing. Am I wrong? :D
All these technology are already available like McDave says but I think what you are trying to point out is that these technology will be more applied in real life. Right now, the infrastructure is not sufficient to widely adopt these concepts and that seems to be the only problem.

Nice article but it sounds more like what we can do now if schools had the infrastructure & software.

One major aspect of your article was about collaboration. If schools utilised SharePoint server and all that benefits it can provide then you are half way there. For example using MSO Groove would enable the schools to do collaboration locally and remotely. With the use of Exchange teachers could send students deadlines in the form of shared calendars & tasks in Outlook with all the resources they require already attached.

Students can already access their home computers as if they are sitting in their bedrooms/living rooms, all that would take is for system administrators to enable RDC and for students to have the right OS SKU and enable the feature.

An interesting concept of these idea's is that you would have to teach the student how to use these tools to best effect. Teaching someone to learn...

Our school is currently heated because the school has decided that all books printed in house. Lab Manuals and Course Manuals will be turned to a Digital format allowing the books to be in color and interactive. However students are ****ed because at the same time this is taking away from a student being able to reference a book without the computer and have something physical they can hold in there hands and read, highlight and mark up.

Ricky Smith said,
Our school is currently heated because the school has decided that all books printed in house. Lab Manuals and Course Manuals will be turned to a Digital format allowing the books to be in color and interactive. However students are ****ed because at the same time this is taking away from a student being able to reference a book without the computer and have something physical they can hold in there hands and read, highlight and mark up.

Why does it matter if they can't do it without a computer? They can physically hold a laptop in their hands and read, highlight and mark up just as easily Also much easier to find a specific part of the text they are looking for, as well as other benefits. Your school's students need to get with the times. Why would students want to carry lots of books when it will all fit on one small device?

Mikeyx11 said,
Why does it matter if they can't do it without a computer? They can physically hold a laptop in their hands and read, highlight and mark up just as easily Also much easier to find a specific part of the text they are looking for, as well as other benefits. Your school's students need to get with the times. Why would students want to carry lots of books when it will all fit on one small device?

People find reading on laptops for long periods of time strenuous. Also laptop batteries die, computers have issues, and they like the hard copy as they can hold onto it for technically their life time. Where as a digital copy is easier to delete or loose. They like physically highlighting and writing in the books, some of the books have study guides where you can write your answers. It's not so much that they're not with the times as we're the leading Entertainment school in the US. As it is that some methods just work better, the fact that our class lectures are 4 hours long means halfway through the class the laptops are going to be more than likely dead.

I predict that laptops will have progressed to the point where a professor may interact with all machines present in his/her classroom from their own, sending us documents, PowerPoint presentations, videos, etc. near instantly

Have you not heard of LanSchool? Impero Console? RM Tutor? etc.... hundreds of programs that do this already. Nearly all schools will have one.

login with a Windows Live ID and have access to their entire student profiles, homework and all

Doesn't have to be a Windows Live ID. Things like NetStorage or even VLEs are doing this now.

The desktop will be extremely interactive through the use of widgets, real-time news updates, etc.

This would serve as a huge distraction unless used properly.


Perhaps you've over-emphasized on a lot of fads here... they're not going to make it into the real world of education (at least here in the UK) for many reasons. You should be looking more at the shift towards VLEs and how they're going to become the future of educating pupils. Once all course content is on them, written not by the school teachers, but by a central company that maintains the whole national VLE network - you're unlikely to have lessons as their known today.

This is all a dream but will not happen without money and lots of it considering in this day and age at tutution costs increase without any increase in benefits.