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How will technology change education in the future?

4 July 2022

If you’re a teacher, student or parent, you will be invested in the future of education. It’s important to ensure we explore diverse learning opportunities to further enrich education as a whole. So, how will technology change education in the future? Well firstly, it’s going to make education, including university degrees, a lot more accessible.

Technology has come a long way over the past few decades. Once upon a time, university attendance was all face-to-face. Study notes were handwritten, backpacks were filled with textbooks and there were no laptops or smartphones.

The impact of technology is evolving how we learn. Students can now study university degrees online and technology in classrooms is now prevalent, if not mandatory.

For some teachers, this is a challenge, especially for those who are not digital natives. This places increased importance on raising awareness of:

  • the influence of technology in education, with technology bringing many further learning possibilities to the classroom

  • how technology can help teachers be more effective in their teaching, to support modern, busy and crowded classrooms

Man speaking to older group of students

The influence of technology in education

Professor David Lynch is the Course Coordinator for the SCU Online Master of Education. He is also the Research Leader of TeachLab; a research entity focused on teacher improvement at SCU. Along with his role at SCU Online, he has authored many books and articles on teacher education and teacher improvement, and is an expert in higher learning.

SCU researchers, led by Professor Lynch, conducted a major ($1m) three-year project with a Japanese schooling system to transition their schools into ubiquitous learning – which is teaching through blended learning.

Blended learning is an approach to dealing with ‘both worlds’ – combining the use of traditional face-to-face classrooms and technological opportunities. This is applied from kindergarten right through to the students’ last year of high school.

What Professor Lynch found in this Japanese study, is that “irrespective of the approach and the bells and whistles, if the teacher didn’t have the pedagogical insight and skills, they didn’t make the gains”.

The COVID-19 pandemic showed that technology disrupts what people expect from a classroom. Instead of having a traditional homeroom class and moving to different classroom locations to learn, “technology provides a mechanism to do that seamlessly, without having to physically move,” reports Professor Lynch.

COVID-19 lockdowns also highlighted how teachers were fairly quick to adapt. When lockdowns started, parents had to homeschool their children using technology. Professor Lynch says, “if teachers were able to design their lessons online in a seamless, intuitive way, parents saw it as successful. But if it wasn’t seamless, we found that parents had to pick up the pieces.” This shows the fundamental difference that teachers can make.

In Japan, they transitioned to blended learning before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. For this reason, students experienced a smooth transition, as the infrastructure was already in place. And parents in Japan understood that when they walked into their children’s school, it would look and feel a certain way.

How is digital learning going to change schools and education?

According to Professor Lynch, we first need to look at teaching in a more general sense. To that, he reports two fundamental challenges.

“The first one is dealing with individuals and classrooms. We are finding that there’s no such thing as a regular Year 3 or a regular year set. The second challenge is dealing with the ubiquitous nature of technology in society. Put those two together, and you find out that both the problem and the solution is technology.”

Professor Lynch adds that it won’t be a case of students choosing their study location. After all, with working parents, schools are responsible for a certain level of care. Professor Lynch believes the following outcomes will happen with digital learning:

Technology will better accommodate individual learning needs

There is currently a cultural expectation that learning occurs between 9 am and 3 pm. Outside of that, the remainder of the time is allocated to play and homework, which in older children, can often result in gaming for extended periods of time. Gamification and its links to artificial intelligence is another big area, according to Professor Lynch. There are some innovators who are thinking about gamification as an extension of learning.

Technology has some real opportunities for students in senior secondary school

Professor Lynch believes that practical work at schools is an upcoming trend. The reality is that while a formal education is important, it can be done online. This allows for more practical training. There are also school-based apprenticeships, where you can see the practical learning running alongside formal education.

Digital learning, however, does present its own challenges.

Parents have cultural expectations when sending their children to school

Parents want the best for their children, and there’s some sense of comfort in knowing that their children will receive the same education style that they had. Experiences such as attending school between 9 am and 3 pm, a strong focus on handwriting, as well as visiting different classrooms to learn different subjects in high school. Technology can disrupt that sense of comfort that parents expect, when classes, and homework, are expected to be completed online.

Parents don’t want to pick up the pieces where online isn’t seamless or intuitive

One of the biggest struggles of home learning during lockdown was the level of assistance required by parents. Most parents do not have time to navigate the technical issues of online learning. So it is imperative that teachers know how to teach online effectively with learning design.

The mental and physical health concerns of online learning

Family Zone highlights the challenges outlined by Sir Peter Gluckman in his 2018 Policy Quarterly report, ‘The Digital Economy and Society’. Sir Gluckman mentions the following difficulties with online learning:

  • shortening attention spans

  • child’s duration of use for digital devices

  • cyberbullying

  • altered leisure patterns affecting physical health

  • communication changes allowing for more anonymity

  • digital information overload

  • child’s access to inappropriate content and fake news

Although digital learning is here to stay, it is still “what the teacher does that makes the difference”, says Professor Lynch. It’s how teachers arrange and utilise technology that makes all the difference.

Man smiling looking ahead while on his laptop


Why pursue a Master of Education

SCU Online’s School of Education is proud of its traditional contribution to the teaching profession. This tradition continues with SCU offering quality professional development opportunities for teachers. With SCU Online, you will explore key qualities every good teacher needs. And you will learn how to drive business strategies in educational leadership.

At SCU Online, we can help you:

  • apply what you learn in practice and affect positive change for your students – while studying for your Masters degree to advance your career

  • get qualified sooner with SCU Online’s tailored and accelerated course for busy teachers like yourself

  • choose from one of three specialisations or study a general Master of Education

This postgraduate study is 100 per cent online, which means you can study from anywhere in Australia without the need to travel.

Learning from experienced primary and secondary academics, you’ll receive all the support you need. Are you wondering, “What can I do with a Master of Education?” Don’t stress – there are plenty of opportunities for Master of Education graduates.

Are you ready to learn more about how technology is changing the future of education?

If you want to see how education will change in the future and what you need to know to prepare for it, then professional learning with SCU Online is the perfect opportunity.

A Master of Education will take your teaching into the future and accelerate your career opportunities. Learn more about studying a Master of Education and invest in your future today.