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A


t this very moment, a group of scientists is trying to find a solution to a very


interesting problem – if everyone and everything is connected to a single, all-embracing network, what is the best possible way of keeping everyone and everything safe? Te Internet of Tings1


a single click; more importantly, this database includes social and cultural contexts as well, thus transforming the learning process into a continuous exchange between individuals. Te consequence? Knowledge today


perplexes both creative minds


and water-cooler chatters, not with its complexity, but with its inevitability. Soon enough, technology will turn every baffling possibility into a stark reality; the future really is here. So, how come our digitally-native


children are still a part of the same educational system that we once were? Be it institutional conservatism, a lack of competence or something completely different, some deeply regressive force keeps our schools at a standstill. Tus far, we’ve seen traditional


classrooms getting equipped with a couple of computers, and a handful of visionary teachers tapping into learning managements systems. For quite some time, this has been just enough to call our schools modern. Lately, not so much. Hopefully, educators will see the immense potential of embracing game-changing technologies in the near future. Artificial intelligence, virtual reality and e-learning are already here, and they could open our minds wider than ever before.


Knowledge is everywhere


Tough it may seem that way, it wasn’t the digital age that created ‘low attention span’. Such tendency was there long before scrolling, tweeting and snapping. New learning theories for the


digital age have been around since the 1980s, which means that typical millennial behaviour was predicted almost 40 years ago. Be that as it may, the fact is that today’s educational sys- tem doesn’t suit nor accommodate the students’ changed cognitive aptitude. Te aforementioned Internet of


Tings is yet another concept that has been studied for years. Being a network that connects us all into the largest knowledge database in the world, the online environment directly defines the way we learn. And, it’s not only actual information sources that are available to us with


www.trainingjournal.com


rests both in diversity of opinions and in non-human appliances. Knowledge is not factual nor constant, and learning is a continual action. Most importantly, knowledge is everywhere around us, and the only thing we need to do is to find the most efficient, most practical way of obtaining it.


Personalised learning


Tat’s also why a modern learning process knows no restrictions or norms. In fact, the only thing a school needs to teach our children is how to learn, where to find information and when to be critical. Currently implemented through ‘flexible assignments’ that liberate students from the shackles of the traditional educational system in which a single rule applied to all, personalised learning2


is certainly a


teaching method to look forward to. Consider this for a moment – if


a retailer can find a solution that can track, monitor and record their customers’ behaviour in a way that enables them to customise their offers according to the needs, preferences and pain points of every single individual, why is it that we don’t use the same technology in our classrooms? Such powerful analytical systems


would allow us to approach every student as an individual with unique capabilities, passions and learning styles and then adjust lessons according to these criteria. Learning management systems are quite close to achieving that goal, and once they’re there, each student will be empowered to use the vast knowledge source that the internet is in the way most suitable and efficient for them personally, thus reaching their full potential.


Online studies


For the same reason, more students will opt for an online schooling3 solution instead of applying to a traditional school. Not only do these courses follow the principles of the aforementioned learning theories for the digital age, but they also


encourage productivity, secondary education and continual learning. Tough an indispensable part of the social system, higher education is now a big investment, without the guarantees of high wages and success of the past. Besides, the specialised knowledge they offer is too narrow for modern standards. Online programmes enable students to finish three different e-learning courses in three years – many savvy students will choose online classrooms until campuses eventually cease to exist.


Tutors instead of professors, collaboration instead of hierarchy





Until that happens, technology will remain a driver of small, yet important changes. Te ‘flipped classroom’, for instance, is a good example of a restructured learning environment, but it’s only the beginning.


Emerging technologies will hopefully break boundaries that separate different study fields and teach our children to learn in brackets


If knowledge rests in diverse opin-


ions and our goal is to raise visionaries by teaching students to think both creatively and critically, then traditional roles are no longer sufficient. Instead of professors to guide


them through the learning process, students will share the experience with tutors. Collaboration tools that allow real-time communication and exchange of data, regardless of form, are already a huge part of connected classrooms.


Virtual reality


And, now for the fun part. To teach is to model and demonstrate, and what better to fit those demands than making models and demonstrations so vivid that they are almost tangible? Of course, a pentagonal prism is


already perfectly understandable when explained with a simple metal model that fits into a teacher’s hand, but what happens when some concepts can’t be visually presented or physically


 | February 2017 | 21


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