Deputy Head of division and Senior Analyst, OECD
While the COVID-19 pandemic has brought education technology to the fore, digitalisation could still take different forms in education.
Smart technologies that could transform education are already available. A range of existing solutions will make education systems and establishments operate differently in the future. Some are about the personalisation of learning, about keeping students motivated and engaged in their learning, while others are about supporting teachers to orchestrate their teaching and learning in class in real time. Social robots can also support teachers as teaching assistants, instructors and even peer students. There are a number of scenarios of the role technology could play in education.
Social robots can also support teachers as teaching assistants, instructors and even peer students.
Scenarios of digital adoption
One scenario would be for education to change minimally and continue to have little adoption of technology and digital resources in teaching and learning. This may mean that most smart technologies would be available privately for out-of-school learning for those who can afford it. The education technology market would continue to mainly cater to the informal education and corporate training markets.
A second scenario would be for education to look similar, on the surface, but become quite different. Exactly as cars or planes look more or less the same as 40 years ago, but have become quite different now that they are fully equipped with sensors and computing devices. Education establishments may also become connected buildings with cameras, sensors and digital devices supporting students, allowing teachers and administrators to make decisions to improve their teaching, learning and management practices. Technology may also become more prevalent for learning at home, with more intelligent tutoring resources available for everyone to use.
Reshaping school time
A third scenario could be for education to build on smart technologies and other social trends related to digitalisation to reshape as a social institution. People may increasingly telework, more schoolwork may happen at home, sometimes with more involvement of parents and communities. School time may become used mainly for individual tutoring and collective learning. Students may choose to go to school to do some tasks individually or perform them at home while other activities must be done at school with peers and under the guidance of their teachers.
The two latter scenarios would have implications for teachers and the organisation of teaching, but also for what it means to be a student and how parents can support their children.