Future gazing: the classroom of 2030

by Brett Henebery17 Dec 2014

Fifteen years from now tablets will replace text books and set school hours will be a thing of the past.

As for the role of your teachers, that will be merely observational – at best.

If that sounds too surreal to take in, it might be best to take heed of what hundreds of experts at last month’s World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) in Doha envision classrooms to look like by 2030.

Among the predictions were that the role of teachers will change from lecturing to guiding students along their own learning paths and that interpersonal skills would supersede academic knowledge.

The controversial insights at the summit follow the surprise introduction of a French-built humanoid robot named ‘Neo’ into a WA (Waikiki) primary school classroom this month.

Teachers at the school will be able to program the robot (the first in an Australian school) to demonstrate physical actions and repeat learning strategies.

While all of this might suggest a diminished role for teachers in their role of proactive educators, some still see plenty of room for the role of teachers as effective educators.

Author and Journalist Jordan Shapiro - though advocating the increased presence of online resources in classrooms - attempts to reassure teachers of their continued relevance in an article on the WISE website’s ed.review

“Put your paranoia aside,” Shapiro wrote.

“Education technology is not about robotic teachers. So far, I have not met anyone who wants to replace teachers with tablets.

At its best, education technology provides tools that enable teachers to do their current job with increased ease and efficiency.”

Shapiro’s sentiment is echoed by Sir Ken Robinson, an educationalist whose TED talk “How Schools Kill Creativity” has been viewed nearly 27 million times.

The human imagination, he says, is something that teachers must interact with and let flourish so that students can reach their full potential.

“We have to be careful now that we use this gift wisely, and the only way we'll do it is by seeing our creative capacities for the richness they are and seeing our children for the hope that they are.

And our task is to educate their whole being, so they can face this future. By the way -- we may not see this future, but they will. And our job is to help them make something of it,” Robinson concluded.


  • by JoeCitizen 19/12/2014 12:54:43 PM

    Robinson is right. It's the children who we are building a promising future for, and we have to consider them high above a lot of the political bickering going on. In the here and now, they're looking to us as role models, wanting to be inspired and encouraged about the world they're heading out into after their school experience is done. Tablets, laptops and smartboards are fine, just so long as they are used in concert with interactive/interpersonal HUMAN teaching. Although TVs and PCs can teach a child much, the presence of human interpersonal guidance (no different from motherhood and fatherhood) impacts profoundly on a child's emotional connection with his/her peers - and the broader world. Like the saying 'you get what you pay for', children will develop according to the kind of education they receive. The warm flame of thoughtfulness, compassion and humanity needs keep burning as strong as ever. If that flame becomes replaced by the blinking blue light of a machine, we may as well send wrecking balls to demolish all the schools and let kids sit at home and be robotic zombies.