In this ever-changing digital learning landscape, technology is reshaping learning rapidly. There are many possibilities at learners’ fingertips, and they’re looking for someone to make sense of it all.
We asked 10 top thought leaders and innovators that are shaping the future of Ed-Tech one question:
Where do you see the future of digital learning heading?
I’ve also added my twitter handle and my thoughts on the subject.
As the Pedagogical Founder and Chief Scientist of Time to Know, (T2K) the next-generation Ed-Tech solutions company, I’ve been deeply involved in the future of education technology and innovation for decades.
It was a pleasure to hear from these great minds in the industry, each with their own expertise and experiences. I hope you enjoy their thoughtful insights as much as I do, and don’t forget to give them a Twitter follow.
STEVEN W. ANDERSON
He’s the co-creator of one of the most popular live Twitter chats on education #Edchat, along with another expert on our list Shelly Sanchez (see below). #Edchat is held on Tuesdays from 12 to 1 and 7 to 8 pm Eastern Time. New to Twitter? Education Twitter chats take place when a group of educators “meet” on Twitter at an agreed upon time, using an agreed upon hashtag, to discuss topics of interest in education. Join the fun!
“Digital learning is still in its infancy and educators are trying to figure out exactly what it means. It is more than just sitting students behind a keyboard and having them navigate some tutorial or watch some video. True digital learning is the seamless blend of high-quality content and pedagogically driven technology infusion. What educators need to remember is that learning, both for students and themselves, especially when it comes to digital learning, is an endless journey of discovery, failure, learning from that failure, sharing, and growth.”
Ted has a brilliant perspective on all things digital learning. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the California Credit Union. He is the co-founder of MuzArt World Foundation and co-chairs the Right to Succeed Foundation, a non-profit focused on transforming public education through the creation of at least 6,000 American Dream Schools within the next 10 years.
“There are a dark side and a light side of the future of digital learning. The dark side is that we will misuse technology –especially in using data in a harmful way in the guise of performance management and accountability that actually doesn’t improve learning. Another angle to this issue is the privacy of information. At what point because of data we think we know a student to a point that we wrongfully prescribe a path and ignore the human potential to evolve and reinvent ourselves. Another shadow is where we create and let technology dehumanizes our relationships with each other and with our students. For example, I can look up so much information about you and still have zero relationship and lots misunderstanding about who you really are as a person.
The most exciting and positive use of digital learning is where technology closes gaps of time and space to bring people closer together and to immerse them in common experiences. We have already seen the impact of social media in keeping up friendships and early innovations coming out of augmented and virtual reality. It is the magical intersect between relationships and experiences that create effective and efficient memorable learning. It is essentially the “Magic School Bus”–just taken a lot further.”
SHELLY SANCHEZ TERRELL
As mentioned about Shelly is a founder of Twitter’s #Edchat. She’s an international speaker, elearning and digital learning specialist and the author of The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers: Small Steps to Transform Your Teaching, Learning to Go: Lesson Ideas for Teaching with Mobile Devices, Cell Phones and BYOT, and Hacking Digital Learning Strategies: 10 Ways to Launch EdTech Missions in Your Classroom. She has trained teachers and taught learners in over 20 countries as an invited guest expert by organizations, like UNESCO Bangkok, the Venezuelan-US Embassy, Cultura Iglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, EduTECH Australia, and HUPE Croatia.
Full Quote: “Technology has connected human beings more than ever. Our devices connect us to each other and our devices connect to each other to paint a bigger picture about the way we live our lives (health, shopping, education, etc.). More than ever our digital learners need experience using technology to collaborate and solve problems with peers worldwide and they need to know how to make sense of all this data to decide how to live a meaningful life.”
Eric’s work focuses on leading and learning in the digital age as a model for moving schools and districts forward. This has led to the formation of the Pillars of Digital Leadership, a framework for all educators to initiate sustainable change to transform school cultures.
Full Quote: “Don’t prepare students for something. Prepare them for anything. Digital learning holds the key to the future.”
Website: Ryan Tracey
Ryan is a learning designer based in Australia. He’s a Council Member for the Australian Institute of Training and Development, an Editorial Review Board Member for Online Learning, and a former Editorial Board Member for eLearn Magazine. He’s worked in corporate e-learning for over 15 years prior to joining the government sector.
Full Quote: “I see digital learning becoming increasingly informal as organizations realize that pull learning is more effective than push training.”
TOM VANDER ARK
Tom Vander Ark is the author of Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the World, Smart Cities That Work for Everyone: 7 Keys to Education & Employment and Smart Parents: Parenting for Powerful Learning. He is CEO of Getting Smart, a learning design firm and a partner in Learn Capital, an education venture capital firm. Previously he served as the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“I just recorded 45 minutes on this topic. Here’s a quick summary: We think digital learning will have four important dimensions:
Learn in a relationship with a smart person on a smart platform (personalized learning), engage in extended team-based community-connected impact-focused challenges (project-based learning), leverage community resources in work and service (place-based education), and show what you know and progress on mastery (competency-based learning) When this new approach gets supercharged by anywhere anytime transportation (cheap, safe, reliable) it unlocks a new work of possibilities, schedules, and pathways.”
Dr. Michelle Pacansky-Brock’s expertise focus is on online teaching, course design, and faculty development. Michelle’s work has helped online instructors across the nation and beyond understand how to craft relevant,humanized online learning experiences that support the diverse needs of college students.
Full Quote: “Learning is as unique as a fingerprint. Formal education has never been able to support learner variability. Digital learning is changing that. Educators will become designers and facilitators of inclusive learning environments, expanding support for all learners and empowering those who have been traditionally cut out of the dream of earning a college degree.”
Josh is an Instructional Designer, Educator, Social Media Geek, Gadget Nerd, and Community Organizer.
Full Quote: “Education is just peeking into opportunities with Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Artificial Intelligence. VR, AR, and AI will help take learning to the next level with boundless opportunities to create learning environments that seemed only science fiction a few years ago.”
Dr. Lynch is an award winning writer and activist, author of the blog on EducationWeek.com entitled “Education Futures: Emerging Trends and Technologies in K-12.” Dr. Lynch is also editor of The Edvocate/The Tech Edvocate.
Horizon #1: Within two to five years.
Widespread use of personalized learning: A tech-created schedule will move students through the day according to progress, focus, and interest while integrating each person’s needs with the needs of the class as a whole. Teachers will float from group to group as the face-to-face tutor and coach and periodically teach a lesson. NPR reviews this type of classroom this report, Meet the Classroom of the Future.
Horizon #2: Within ten years.
Interactive surfaces while working in groups will become a reality: As the group learning model improves, it will be harder for children to follow courses separately on their personal devices. What would happen if the desk they sat at was itself a computer? That way, the group can use a multi-touch interface and collaborate better, with less time comparing what is on each device. Interactive surfaces are already a reality, but the costs are still big. Just a few decades ago, computers were expensive and considered a luxury item, so it’s safe to predict that these interactive surfaces will become more affordable as time passes and will be used in schools for everyday basics.
Horizon #3: Within twenty years.
Tracking every student’s move will become a reality. Student tracking is already a reality in some schools. In the future, it’s entirely plausible that all schools will track students and teachers using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). There is currently one obstacle: costs. Once there is a cheaper way to replace lost or stolen RFIDs, it will become more common to track when students attend school and their trips around the open classroom. This way, by knowing where and when students are, more time can be spent giving instructions and explanations.
Horizon #4: Within fifty years.
Students will become teachers. Teachers will become facilitators and children will teach each other digital lessons based on their own interests. While this concept seems strange now, it has a significant probability of becoming a reality one day. Even younger children are capable of finding their own path, and by allowing them to follow their individual interests while they are growing up, we will have more satisfied people in the future.
Horizon #5: Within 100 years.
There will be many new tools. Educational tools are evolving, and it will be interesting to see what happens in the future. We can predict that instead of using pens and pencils to write on paper or keyboards to write on computers and tablets, one day, children will use Google glasses (or its successor) to transfer their thoughts and notes on a computer. Other futuristic thoughts include new tools to protect devices from viruses, Cloud Learning (which would eliminate paper), increased use of e-communities, hologram lessons, and international collaboration.”
MICHAEL COHEN “THE TECH RABBI”
Rabbi Michael Cohen is a consultant, featured speaker, workshop facilitator, and writer in the areas of Technology Integration and Curriculum Design. He works with schools and programs nationally to help them discover how they can redefine learning experiences by harnessing the power of technology.
“I see the future of digital learning being dominated by Augmented Reality. We now have the scope of human knowledge in our pocket. Technology’s new role needs to drive us to engage with the world around us and give us a chance to interface between knowledge and activity.”
Dr. Dovi Weiss
Chief Scientist at Time To Know. Named one of 50 most influential people in education. Internationally known lecturer on education innovation and technology.