Education professionals across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) demand ‘accessibility for all’, but feel academic institutions are currently failing to maximise the potential of the technology available today, according to Polycom’s ‘Education in 2025 – Technology Innovation’ survey.
When faced with a list of priorities for the near future, the majority of education professionals feel the primary focus should be on improving the quality of teacher-learning (34%). Other factors that respondents feel need attention are personalising the student-learning experience (17%) and taking advantage of new technology (13%).
Andrew Graley, Polycom’s Director of Healthcare, Education and Government for EMEA, believes that technology is the catalyst for improving the education landscape: “By allowing an engaging, accessible and cost-effective approach to education, technology opens up the prospect of higher education, personalised courses and teacher-training to a much broader population.”
When looking into the future of education, the respondents predict that the learning environment will break free from the classroom: 64% of respondents believe students in 2015 primarily engage with content in the classroom, but only 25% predict it will still be the leading way for learning in 2025. Alongside this, the use of remote learning technologies in teaching is expected to rise significantly: 53% of education professionals believe real-time video collaboration and mobile devices will be the primary way students engage with content by 2025.
A significant 58% of EMEA respondents expect to see greater collaboration between schools and corporations by 2025, and the majority of respondents believe there will be a more defined career pathway through the schooling process. Furthermore, the majority of EMEA respondents predict that the role a teacher plays in education will become less important in coming years, with the role of thought leaders and educational outreach becoming increasingly important to education.
Graley adds that industry expert advice in education courses will become more accessible: “With the real-time video collaboration technology that’s available today, there’s no reason why students can’t speak to industry experts about their field of study. It’s possible to connect with an expert anywhere in the world at any time – it’s just one click away.”
However, education professionals believe laptop use in a classroom environment is likely to drastically decline: 66% of those surveyed think laptops are how students currently engage with content, but only 29% think this will stay the same by 2025. “If you have a room full of students sat on separate laptops on the same website going through an interactive online course, why do they need to be in a classroom? If students can do the basic, information-heavy lessons from home through online courses, that frees up face-to-face classroom time for practical and interactive learning” says Graley.
Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) are predicted to be the number one investment in coming years, closely followed by physical creative learning environments.
“There is clearly a trend for integrating technology with physical teaching; it’s about finding a balance and doing what is best for the pupils. It’s important that we don’t lose that face-to-face practical teaching environment, but make sure we maximise the potential that technology can bring to the education landscape” explains Graley.