The education industry has gone through tidal waves of advancement and innovation over the years. Initially, classrooms were traditionally solely brick and mortar buildings, with students having to dedicate an allocated time of day for their school work and classes. It seems that education is an all-encompassing experience for most students, and while this is a positive, it also begs the question of how the sector will continue to improve and shift to ensure it meets the needs of future generations. The world is in a state of change, with practically every aspect and facet of life transitioning to become more technologically advanced. Even traditional education programmes like Oxford Summer School are now offering an online learning platform alongside their residential courses. This includes all industries; from business and hospitality, to healthcare and transportation, even the education sector is finding itself rife with suggestions and demands alike to go digital. The argument is solid: current (and surely future) generations are used to technology in their everyday lives on a scale that is unprecedented. The education tactics and systems that worked for past generations are simply becoming outdated. Cue the rise of education technology.
Education Technology (EdTech) has disrupted the classroom in an explosive way, already making vast improvements and realigning the current classroom to fit more soundly into the future. The entire planet is moving towards a more technology-driven era, and education will not be able to transition from A to B unscathed – for the sake of progress, change must be present and ongoing. When the future is set to be so digitally focused, it stands to reason that the entire world will change, including how the workforce functions and thrives. For this reason, students in current and future generations must learn to adapt, embracing new ways of learning and teaching and using them to their full advantage. Therefore, the obvious result is that the education systems in which these students are learning (and will learn, in the future) are experiencing a change of pace that is shifting and realigning them to make sense going into this next, technologically efficient era. Even the classroom itself has shifted from its traditional values and platforms – no longer must students sit in classrooms in real-time, they now have the option to study via online education, making it easier than ever to balance their student life and the rest of their life.
The use of technology in education is still relatively new, but we have seen the slow implementations of technology in the classroom over the last few years. From the introduction of touch typing classes and introductory coding classes, to replacing traditional paper textbooks and assessment submission systems with modernised digital versions, it seems as though technology has been changing the education sector for years. It has, but it has never before been in such an era of rapid succession. EdTech is going from one strength to the next lately, with incredible advancements in the very systems that keep students enrolled and accountable, to the tools and equipment they use in the classroom towards their studies. Students these days are more technologically equipped than past generations of learners, and the disruption of the education industry by waves of technology is further proof of this fact.
Digitisation in the classroom has not come without its challenges. As with any great advancement in human history (or the history of the planet, for that matter), there have been those who have been blatantly against EdTech disruption. It is worth noting, however, that despite the valid reasoning to question new innovations in any industry, it is mostly older generations that have been arguing against the implementation of EdTech in schools around the world. Generations that have been through the education system already, and have succeeded in life beyond their schooling after having gone through the traditional classroom, push against change in education so much because they simply do not understand the need for change. The important thing for all to note, however, is that the need for change in education is down to the changes happening globally. When the entire planet is shifting away from some traditional aspects of life that worked in the past, so too should education begin the transition from traditional education methods, practices, and tools, to the modernised EdTech advancements.
Change in the education industry is not a slap in the face to the hard work, successes, and overall achievement of the sector as a whole, but instead a nod to the need for change. Any industry that insists on staying firmly rooted in the past – systems and all – is one that is doomed to break apart as time moves us on. To be frank, education is not an industry that we can do without, so the necessity to get ahead of the game and embrace new advancements in the sector – such as EdTech and online education – is more pressing than it has ever been. The time is now, the future is on our doorstep, and education must step up to the plate.