Education innovation and the university of the future

Education innovation and the university of the future

Until now, when people talked about education innovation, there was much talk about online learning and how that would democratize learning, opening up university education to a wider audience. Last week, at the World Government Summit in Dubai, there was a grander vision presented of innovation and the universities of the future, in a talk by Dr Peter Diamandis, chairman and chief executive officer of X-Prize, and co-founder and executive chairman of Singularity University.

“Creating curiosity among children so they discover their passions, take their own moonshots and bring their own dreams to life will be the role universities play in the future,” said Diamandis, according to the Emirates News Agency. He offered participants a preview of the exponential leap that education is set to take as modern technologies including artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality, augmented reality, 3D printing and robotics converge in the near future.

“A classroom where everything you question can come to life will be fascinating,” added Dr Diamandis, while demonstrating how regular classrooms will become tedious to students exposed to modern technologies which deliver a vivid and immersive learning experience.

He said that the traits of a university of the future would be:

  • Personalized – every child will have education customized to the individual requirements through AI, where the teacher would know exactly what interests them, and what their capabilities, strengths and weaknesses are.
  • Free – the best education in the world for every child will be demonetized, just as present day search engines have provided free access to information to anyone that seeks it.
  • On-demand/just in time – lessons will be delivered exactly when one needs to learn them and learning will continue throughout one’s lifetime.
  • Virtualized – classroom sessions will be conducted primarily for sports, to promote teamwork and the social experience
  • Inspirational – education will help children realize their dreams and ambitions, by pushing them to learn more about things that truly interest them.

He said that processes such as ‘designing’ a garment, or a machine, or even a building could be revolutionized with technologies such as 3D printing and AI. With education set to employ disruptive and innovative techniques, over 50 percent of all jobs in the world will be performed by AI. The true skills imparted through education would be the ability to express oneself, describe what one wants to know and leverage technology to find the solution. Eventually, he said, “The quality of your questions will define what you learn.”

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