Craig Tranter is a former educator, and now serves as a technology presenter for Cisco. This blog is the first in his series on advancements and opportunities in education. All views are his own. 

What does this image mean to you?

For a lot of us, this image might symbolise a floppy disk. But, most millennials will recognize this as the ‘save’ icon. In fact, they probably won’t have a clue what a floppy disk even is, and would no doubt scoff at the miniscule amount of storage space that it provides.

So, why is this relevant? It’s not only that the digital world has evolved and moved on from this outdated technology, but our perspectives have evolved too. Whereas floppy disks were a necessity for many students in the past, they are now unrecognizable to most modern students. We need to continue to evolve and change our perspectives if we are to take full advantage of what technology has to offer.

We now live in an age where students have grown up with the internet. They are digital natives who are accustomed to being connected at all times and have always had the benefit of an entire knowledge base right at their fingertips. In fact, many millennials might now struggle to find information by using the content page in a book, because why use such archaic methods of information gathering when you can simply ask your smart phone to find it for you?

Technology has changed the way we live our day-to-day lives, how we interact with our devices and each other. So my question is: What are we doing in education to adapt to this new digital world?

Let’s face it. With rising tuition fees and our fast-paced connected world, students expect more from their universities. And rightly so! Universities need to adapt and provide learning opportunities for their students in a more personalized way that suits them. After all, students are paying for their tuition and if the university does not give them what they want, they’ll simply go somewhere else that does cater to their needs.

Location no longer defines education, as students have access to experts from all over the world via the internet. Gone are the days when universities could boast the best talent and expertise. Now we can find it online and reach out to people across vast distances. So, it’s pretty clear that universities need to adapt in order to provide the ideal digital and physical learning environment if they want to attract and retain students, as well as the best expertise from around the globe.

That being said, the way in which we approach education from an institutional standpoint doesn’t seem to have changed all that much over the last hundred years. At the higher education level, a great deal of those precious contact hours are still delivered in lecture halls where very skilled professionals impart their knowledge to a room full of students and expect them to go away and absorb that knowledge. That’s all well and good, but students are now demanding more interactive and collaborative sessions where they are able to question and challenge their lecturers with queries and new ideas. Only in this way can we continue to make significant progress and achieve more.

It’s quite clear that we are experiencing a shift in the way we work and study. We are going through a digital revolution and if we don’t adapt, we might get left behind.

So, what’s the future of education?

Watch out for the next post about flipped learning and creating visually engaging content.


Craig Tranter

Technology Presenter at Cisco