Future-gazing: education in 2025

by Robert Ballantyne22 Jun 2016

Polycom – a multinational corporation that aims to ensure that emerging technologies and tools support the rapid pace of change taking place inside classrooms – recently undertook a 2025 Education Technology Innovation Survey.
 
The survey involved over 700 educators from Australia and New Zealand with a diverse range of job roles – the majority being teachers and principals.
 
The report’s findings revealed four areas that educators and school leaders want to see improvement in, including education accessibility and having more relevant technology to meet the learning needs of students.
 
So how proactive are education departments being in terms of ensuring that schools are equipped in these ways?

Mei Lin Low, director at Polycom Asia Pacific for Education and Healthcare Industries, told The Educator that the survey’s results show that more than half of educators want greater investment in education innovation.

“From our Education 2025 survey results, we know most respondents [58%] believe the Government isn’t keeping up with education innovation and it is likely education models will come from educators rather than from government policy, the private sector, or guidelines and regulations,” she said.
 

‘The walls of the traditional classroom are crumbling’

Low pointed out that every day, educators are being bombarded with new technology and new apps, and it can be confusing for teachers and administrators to know exactly what to choose and when to apply it in the classroom.

“It’s about ensuring we don’t get caught up in the ‘shiny object syndrome’ when it comes to new technology. Instead, we need to be looking at what will make teaching and learning better, and help prepare students for the workplace of the future,” she said.

“The walls of the traditional classroom are crumbling, making way towards a more collaborative and equitable approach to education.”

Low said this was evident through Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC), flipped and blended learning, and distance education programs, made possible via the availability of technology such as streaming and recorded video lectures, online collaboration tools, and real-time instant messaging access to lecturers and tutors.

“While the Education 2025 study showed it is likely education models will come from educators, the Government and private sector will need to update policies to keep up with innovations and ensure a minimum standard,” she said.

“Beyond this, it isn’t sufficient to just deploy technology. Educators and administrators need to evolve teaching styles to complement technology – and truly embrace and believe in it – to create even more impact with students.

“Policy also needs to address and encourage professional development on learning and engaging with the latest technologies.”
 

School improvement: it’s a team effort

Low stressed the importance of school leaders working with teachers, students and parents to assess current and future needs of their school, and determine what solutions will help improve teaching practices.

“Rolling out changes in a school can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. The best way to ensure a balance of technology immersion and the right learning outcomes is to develop a thorough strategy with steps to plan, assess, upskill staff, and manage implemented technologies,” she said. 

“Once the areas of improvement have been identified, principals must investigate the technologies and implement them.”

She added that solutions should be tailored to each school and classroom, with one option being to use virtual learning and video collaboration to provide better access to teachers, knowledge, personalised and contextualised learning options.

“These tools and applications should be seen as opportunities to foster learning among new generations – and principals need to encourage this mentality with teachers and administrators,” she said.

“Finally, another way that schools can ensure success is by having a dedicated education technologist or program manager drive implementation of learning technologies and adoption by teachers and students.”


The full results of the Education Innovation Survey will be released soon by Polycom.
 

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