Chalkboards. Textbooks.  Stacks of papers and folders. All of these items can make anyone a little nostalgic and remind us of our time in primary and secondary school. While basic fundamentals remain the same, classrooms are evolving. The reason? The Internet.

This year’s back-to-school season has sparked many conversations around the future of the classroom. Most parents have seen the workforce and everyday life evolve as the Internet of Everything (IoE) begins to connect more people, places, data, and things. Yet questions about IoE in the classroom persist. That’s why in today’s “Ask the Futurist” post, I take a deeper look at how the IoE will impact the classroom of the future.

Today’s question comes from Rob Coote, a systems analyst for a public K-12 school district in Northern Alberta, Canada. Here’s his two-part question:

Question: “How do you envision the future of the ‘connected classroom’ and one-to-one learning in K-12 education? How do you see this impacting or changing the teacher’s role?”


Answer:  The most important thing about the future of education is keeping students learning. The environment in which they learn might be changing, but keeping students the top priority will always remain key.

I envision the connected classroom extending many benefits to people beyond the walls of the room. For example, today there are billions of people globally that have limited access to education; by adding connectivity to the classroom, more of these people will have access to education. You no longer have to be physically in the room to learn. I also believe that the connected classroom will start to see more virtualization technology, which will enable us to share and simultaneously measure our education resources.

When we leverage the Internet of Everything’s power to transform classrooms across the globe, the possibilities truly are endless. And these transformative IoE connections are happening now. More mobile devices are making their way into classrooms as alternatives to outdated and expensive school supplies and resources. With this influx of technology, we are starting to see the power of the connections among these devices. Students are collaborating more effectively, receiving real-time feedback, and learning to operate the technology that will continue to drive the future long after they graduate.

This back-to-school season is the right time to discuss how K-12 education is evolving, thanks to the proliferation of mobile devices, networks, and the rise in integrated applications that impact learning in a real way. In a recent Huffington Post article, contributor Peggy Johnson describes how the increase in classroom technology is bringing the dream of “seamless and ubiquitous connectivity closer to reality.”

And while some critics believe that technology in the classroom will somehow detract from the traditional teacher-student relationship, I disagree. I think that shifting the focus to the connected-classroom concept actually will free the teacher, allowing him or her to spend more one-on-one time with students. If a technology solution can review and edit papers, teachers have more time to discuss the edits — not actually make them. Teachers can spend more time working with students, and less time working on lesson plans.

A connected classroom benefits both the student and teacher. When the Internet of Everything connects students to teachers, mobile devices, and educational resources, we are truly making the world a smarter place.

Do you have a question for @DavetheFuturist? Join the conversation #IoE #AsktheFuturist.