Future of technology in education

Editor’s Note: On Nov. 15, 2012, Western News celebrated its 40th anniversary with a special edition asking 40 Western researchers to share the 40 THINGS WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE NEXT 40 YEARS. This is one of those entries. To view the entire anniversary issue, visit the Western News archives.

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In 40 years, education at all levels will be seamlessly interwoven with new technologies. These tools will be highly personalized and based in sophisticated artificial intelligence that delivers learning experiences and individual assessment exquisitely appropriate for each student’s neurophysiological development. Memory will be unvalued because information of all types will be readily available (though not necessarily free) through augmented reality machines, some physically embedded in the brain. Thus individual critical judgment and personal knowledge networks will become vital to students’ future success.

Students will not take courses as now conceived, but go to school for help, skill development and group work when needed. Massive online learning experiences created by world leading thinkers will dominate the educational landscape and be delivered by the few remaining degree granting institutions. Other universities will transform themselves from teaching institutions that generate knowledge to research and high-level skill/social institutions.

John Barnett is a Science and Online Education professor in the Faculty of Education.