Technology and the future of education

Kehlan Kirwan warns against the emphasis on technology in the classroom and why we still need daydreaming

In recent years we have put a lot of emphasis on how we are creating the entrepreneurs of the future.

The use of technology in classrooms and a greater emphasis on the likes of the Student Enterprise Awards and Young Scientist Awards has seen the education system becoming involved in entrepreneurship and business.

On the whole, it is a positive development. How we encourage young people into finding their path in life is increasingly important.

We have done more in the past decade then we have done in the past 100 years of education in developing children’s cognitive capacity.

However, we also need to be careful about just how much business and technology we bring to the classroom.

We have, in recent years, put increased effort into developing technology within the classroom.

However, the strategy is cumbersome and lacks direction. Giving kids tablets or laptops is not a technology strategy.

Teaching them how they can use those devices to change the world around them is. In recent discussion over dinner with a friend who is a teacher, he told me about tech in the classroom.

It’s great to have the technology but technology doesn’t make somebody a better learner. The information is the same in a book as it is on a screen. However, the learning comes from the exploration, not the information.

With all our talk of tech in the classroom, we seem to have forgotten that the most important issue, the one that drives it all, is creativity. We often think of daydreaming as this terrible notion within the classroom.

Rarely do we see the daydreamer as a creative thinker or a problem solver. If kids dream it can’t be anything of worth, can it?

The future of education will be hand in hand with technology.

That future won’t be bright for everyone. Universities will go through some very worrying times in the next two decades as online education becomes increasingly popular.

Technology is disrupting education in a way that it has never been threatened before. Kids and students will be able to decide on what they want to know, not what the teacher or lecturer thinks they should know.

The model for educating is shifting rapidly.

Kids who want to dream should be allowed, its important. Education has been seen as a fairly rigid structure. You move up the rungs as you get older. Eventually, you’ll hopefully move on to college or university and then into the jobs market.

That was the old way. Now on the horizon is something that we’ve never seen before. The option to bypass university. To learn another way, to learn your own way.

That structure and the institutions at its core will need to change if they are to survive.

When people talk about visions of the future they are talking about daydreams with structure. A wild idea taken from the mind and brought to the outside world.

For kids, daydreaming helps to process information and make social adjustments. In business it is the foundation of problem solving and the vision of a product or company.

Award-winning psychology author, Amy Fries wrote that “a child who enjoys daydreaming could well be a budding scientist, writer, artist, or visionary entrepreneur.

It may seem odd or a paradox, but children (and adults) can actually focus on their daydreams, and some of these daydreams may be more inventive and ultimately more useful than the task at hand”.

So let’s encourage the daydreamers, because having their heads in the cloud may very well be where they need to be.


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