The children who will start school in 2018 are ready to enter the world of work around 2030. But what awaits the students in this future? It is a challenge for teachers to prepare their students for a world full of technologies that have not yet been invented and to give them the right skills for professions that solve unexpected problems. It is therefore an essential task for schools to see the future as an opportunity and to find solutions with the learners.
To navigate through the uncertainty of tomorrow’s world, students must learn curiosity, imagination, flexibility and resilience. It is not enough to introduce a coding course at a school to prepare them for the world of data. You have to look at teaching from a new perspective and optimally adapt and use the technologies that are currently flooding the education sector.
As already written in the article Future of Education, many schools today are moving towards personalized learning. The school of the past had little to do with the individual passions and abilities of the individual. But in a world where technology, automation and the Internet of Things are taking more and more of our work off our hands, the key to individual success lies in their ability to make the most of their interests. If schools focus only on content and fixed curricula, they quickly become obsolete. It is important to focus on the needs of the learner and to find a healthy mix of individualisation through AI support and the personal touch of the teacher.
Virtual learning with Will
An example of individual and tailor-made learning at school is Will. The virtual teacher, developed by Auckland energy company Vector in cooperation with AI company Soul Machines, is part of Vector’s “Be Sustainable with Energy” program, which they offer free of charge to schools that supply them with electricity.
Energy Education in Schools (Source: Vector)
Will is equipped with artificial intelligence and aims to teach students how to use energy in a playful way. The children can interact with him, talk to him and thus gain a deeper insight into the world of renewable energies. Will can also ask the students questions about the content after the lessons to ensure that it remains in their minds for the long term.
If you look at current statistics, Will can help the teachers with a few topics. According to the current sequence of studies, 75% of the teachers find their workload unmanageable and the increasing number of students almost impossible to cope with. Technologies like Will can remedy this and support educators.
However, this is only the beginning. With the Internet of Things in the starting blocks and the increasing spread of wearables in the form of smart watches, intelligent schools can be created in which students, teachers and equipment are centrally connected and thus benefit optimally from each other. The whole classroom can thus become an interactive learning environment.
According to the experts, education will in future be more project-based and focus more on interactive content. This is a reaction to the fact that students’ media use patterns are changing and that the school system should adapt to them.
Teacher as Agents of Change
But what about the teachers? I am firmly convinced that the increasing spread of technology will not displace the teacher, but rather strengthen him. Innovation and technological development are a means to an end, teachers only need to seize the opportunities to give their students a unique learning experience. The days of apprenticeship after book are over, today’s young people need new insights, individuality and an open view of the world.
There is no doubt that the future of teaching and education lies in technology. But as in many other sectors, the success of an innovation in education also depends on how it is used. Teachers therefore need to go to training, learn more about cyber security and a well thought-out approach where technologies can be integrated into the teaching model, because change will not stop before teaching. Applications, videos and apps developed as teaching aids will shape the students of tomorrow. But it is in the hands of teachers and schools to go one step further. To approach the future openly and see its challenges as an opportunity. Only then will the students adapt such thinking.