Part I: The Evolution of Education

Through this interesting graphic called ‘The Future of Online Schools’ from, a reader is taken on a journey through the world of education that begins in 1890 and ends up in, literally, the future. The illustration explores advances in both technology as it relates to education and as it relates to the changing mindset regarding the format, delivery model, and consumability of learning and teaching methods. Let’s explore the graphic together in more detail and see where the future of education is headed.

The Future of Education


A Transformation in the Classroom

As technology advances, so do we – becoming more adept with various devices and shortcuts, and becoming accustomed to new ways of doing things. Sometimes we forget the old ways and methods upon which we were so dependent. For example, chalkboards may be a distant memory to today’s and tomorrow’s generations of students, whereas most of us who are reading this probably grew up writing on and erasing chalkboards for bonus points after class.

Indeed, we see instruments like pencils and pens as indispensable – how could writing instruments ever become obsolete? But education has reached a pivotal age in which typing, touch screens, and dictation may very well become the primary means of communication and classrooms no longer stock supply closets full of pens, pencils and chalk (but rather extra keyboards and styluses).

Examples of Digital Tools Shaping Today’s Classrooms:

Testing in education is also vastly different today: the days of bringing a #2 pencil to class, sharpening it the old-fashioned way, and carefully filling in circles on a standardized testing Scantron form may soon be in the rearview, as methods of formative assessment become more popular and well-supported.

More on Formative Assessment:

Online Education and Its Effects on Learning

These changes can all be labeled under the umbrella of e-learning, or “learning conducted via electronic media, typically on the Internet” (thanks, Google). Electronic delivery methods of education have been embraced nationwide and are commonly used from kindergarten through high school and beyond.

For schools or classrooms who aren’t yet fully plugged into an online education model, there is, at the very least, access to open educational resources on the internet which provide additional learning support. Instead of turning to encyclopedias and spending hours conducting research in the library, a student may find all the primary sources, supporting information, or subject-specific resources he or she needs at the speed of their internet connection.

Then there’s blended learning — an environment in which traditional classroom methodologies and e-learning concepts coexist in a hybrid environment, which facilitates efficiency and an individualized approach to learning.

Virtual or online schools, where instruction is delivered and consumed digitally all the time, truly allow students to learn at their own pace and in harmony with their lifestyle. These new-wave educational institutions aren’t just for higher education anymore, either – increasingly large numbers of high schools and secondary charter schools are embracing the virtual model and allowing students to enroll in cyber academies while still receiving the same amount of credits, rigorous coursework, grades, and opportunities as kids who attend physical schools.

Come back next week for Part II, about
Online Education for Continuing Ed and Digital Tools in the