The Future of Education Is Already Here
What would it be like to walk through an average college campus in the year 2017? It may be harder to imagine than you think. Look how far we have come in the last 5 years. In 2006, there were no iPhones, no Androids, no iPads, no Twitter, Facebook was a college-only experience, and social networking meant meeting at the fraternity house.
In 2003, Steve Jobs said on the launch of the iTunes store:
“It will go down in history as a turning point for the music industry. This is landmark stuff. I can’t overestimate it!” [On the iTunes Music Store, Fortune, May 12, 2003]
Will Apple’s launch of iBooks 2 on January 19, 2012 be the same inflection point for textbooks? Certainly only time will tell. So, as we play an active role in education changes that lie ahead and welcome Apple back to education conversation, let’s look back at the past…
Looking Back to Look Forward
If I had an illustrative timeline of achievements in education technology over the last quarter century, you would notice many familiar advances that are currently in use and enjoyed in the education world. The timeline would include everything from the first “.edu” website, to the worldwide web in the classroom, to the launch of Blackboard (of course!), to the latest news from Apple.
Steve Jobs was an integral part of that timeline, and will continue to be not only with his lasting contributions, but with his inspiring words…
But there are few things that the timeline would not convey, that my many years of experience providing education technology solutions have taught me. So as we celebrate another education innovation victory, let’s also remember the following realities:
Getting Real With Education Technology
Education Technology Needs to Accommodate Many Stakeholders
While students are naturally the focus of any educational endeavor, it is still key that the tools we choose for education also be accessible and affordable to administrators, teachers, families, and the many others players supporting the student’s road to success.
Education Technology is Adopted Gradually
Although there are always worthy celebrations of shiny, new objects that will revolutionize education, the technology release is just the very beginning. There are still many skeptics in the education world and it takes buy-in, comfort, and evident success to get the grassroots education world to go from admiration to utilization.
Education Technology Needs Ongoing Support
Teachers know better than anyone that what is intuitive to some can be very complicated to others. Furthermore, technology can be quirky and so proper training and reliable customer support are both critical to the technology being embraced and maintained.
Education Technology Needs Partners
We love providing a user-friendly platform for delivering education to students ranging from kindergartens to adult learners in the workplace. But we can’t do it alone. We work with content providers, hardware providers, and many others to be a part of the larger education ecosystem.
Education Technology Needs Pedagogy
The art of teaching is evolving, just like the education technology we are discussing here. But any student will tell you that it is the teacher, not the technology, that makes or breaks the education experience. Multimedia teaching tools have long been available in the classroom, but it takes the right teacher to use them optimally.
Education Technology is Social (Learning)
Not only do we want learners to interact with the educational material, we want them to interact with each other. This type of student-to-student interaction has proven to deepen the education experience and is now easier than ever with the right education technologies.
Education Technology Should be About Choice
Believe it or not, education technology is very personal. And so it helps to have a lot of choices to find the best fit. Whether you prefer a paper book, a pocketsize tablet, a mobile phone, or a combination of all of the above, you should be able to customize your education experience in today’s world – to the institution and to the student.
How do you want education to be shaped for the future generations to come? Let us know what you think.