Experts of the past have tried, with varying degrees of accuracy to predict the classrooms of the future. In reality, despite increased access to technology, the majority of classrooms around the world have changed little in the last 50 years. How are they likely to change in the future, though?
Why a classroom?
Increased understanding of neuroscience means we can learn in more effective ways. Even with effective self study, though, the social experience of real human contact is hard to beat. Whether it’s an online class or a face-to-face classroom, the energy and momentum offered by a class of peers of an enthusiastic teacher can help learners keep going, even when they are starting to lack motivation. Classrooms, of some shape or form, are with us to stay.
A shared experience without a physical presence
We can already conduct live classes in entirely virtual groups, physical groups with a virtual teacher teaching from a remote location. The skills required by an increasingly sophisticated workplace need more and more specialist teachers. As the technology available to teachers becomes easier to use, more experts will decide to set themselves up independently and offer highly specialised classes directly to their learners. We’ll also see increased diversity within larger organisations as they can recruit expert teachers based on their knowledge rather than simply their location.
Improved and more accessible virtual reality
As virtual reality becomes more accessible, more realistic and more immersive, virtual classrooms will move away from the desktop and towards mobile, or purpose-built virtual reality devices. The classroom will be able to transform into any space imaginable. Language learners will be able to practice business English in a meeting room in the first half of their class then switch instantly to practising making small talk at a party in a virtual bar in the second half.
The University of Washington, US recently conducted a series of brain-to-brain communication experiments where subjects would communicate with each other using electrodes attached to their heads. This is in the early stages of development and will never replace spoken language but could provide interesting ways for teachers of the future to communicate concepts that are difficult to express in words.
The skill of the teacher will never die
Since the birth of the printing press, there has been a wealth of knowledge stored in the written word. The internet has made that more accessible but it still takes a great teacher to inspire and motivate most people to learn. The role of the teacher may change in the future but their skill will never die. Great teachers will be with us a long way into the future.
Of course, these are only my opinions. What about yours, though? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. What do you think the classroom of the future will look like?