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Looking globally: the future of education
Looking globally: the future of education

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1 The impact of technology on all our lives

Every time you read a newspaper or watch TV, you will see evidence that technology is already affecting the world, especially in terms of the way we work. It may not be just those leaving school with few qualifications that are affected – skilled and unskilled workers alike are likely to be affected by technology’s impact in the workplace. As the Sustainable Development Goals stated, education must include lifelong learning so that workers can be flexible and take alternative employment (United Nations, 2015). Those with a better education remain more likely to find work, but as Ken Robinson said in the video you watched in Week 1, RSA Animate: Changing Education Paradigms (Robinson, 2010), qualifications will help, but they are already no longer a guarantee. Those who leave school with no or very few qualifications in industrialised societies may face being pushed out of the workforce altogether.

Video conferencing from home also quickly became a ‘new normal’ expectation for those working (and learning) in schools and businesses as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown. At the same time, social media is allowing us to connect across the world in ways unheard of just a few years ago and are affecting work as well as personal aspects of our lives. Ideas can be discussed despite huge distances separating the participants. Big data and ‘the internet of things’ allow innovations to be accelerated because the technology is connected and available. The ‘internet of things’ is a term used to describe the growing interaction between physical objects that contain software-controlled electronics, sensors and/or actuators. Such objects are capable of being connected in a network which facilitates control and exchange of data between the networked objects. The internet of things may include such objects as home heating, ovens and toasters that can be controlled from a mobile phone.

Education is being changed by such developments as artificial intelligence and machine learning, which offer learning beyond conventional education environments and change the need for fact-based education. More people can participate in educational activities and have the freedom to develop their own interests and capabilities. Society also needs innovators, computer scientists, software and hardware engineers to develop these systems as well as members of society (perhaps ethicists and politicians) to consider the implications of these new applications.

Activity 1 How will technology change our lives?

Timing: Allow approximately 45 minutes

Follow the link to watch the video ‘Did you know?’ [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

Think about:

  • How do you think the technological changes shown in the video will affect society?
  • What will those changes mean for an education system?