Class of 2050: The Evolution of Technology in the Classroom

Written by  //  2013/01/11  //  Academics, Online Instruction  //  4 Comments

This article is in the perspective of a student attending college in the year 2050:

College isn’t like the stories I’ve heard my grandpa talk about. Years ago, everyone attend all their classes in an actual school building, going to and from classes every Monday through Friday, sometimes having to show up on the weekends! And smart phones were considered a distraction . . . imagine that.

Now the majority of schools are distance learning schools. I attend one of the hundreds of distance education universities that have popped up all over the world. The ease of online information has made classrooms a technology paradise. Instead of paper homework and textbooks, we’re allowed to use our smartphones, PDF devices and image-generating tablet devices in the classroom. Libraries, congress documents and just about everything you would need for school is accessible online now, and I like that. It gives me the freedom to find information for my class anywhere I choose, even in my kitchen.

Distance education is described as “a process to create and provide access to learning when the source of information and the learners are separated by time and distance, or both.”

Evolution of Distance Education

While checking out the online library, I found out that distance education has been around since 1728! According to Edudemic, Caleb Phillips offers what is thought to be one of the first distance learning classes: He offered a course on shorthand by mail. In 1858 the University of London claimed to be the first university to offer distance learning degrees.

In the late 1990s, universities started offering online courses, forever altering the standards of schooling. In the early 2000s there were hybrid classes, where you attended class both in-class as well as online. Online courses grew so popular that hybrid courses started offering more online-based content and less on-campus classes. According to an infographic from Online Schools, over 5.5 million students were enrolled in at least one online course in the mid 2000s.

Tuition Costs & Degrees

Tuition costs for universities were on the rise in 2010, forcing schools to find a new means of schooling. Families couldn’t afford schooling and all jobs were asking for a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. So, what’s the world to do? Start enforcing digital education with traditional schooling. By 2035 every school (universities and elementary schools alike) made the transition to hybrid classes. Half the courses we took were taken online, along with all the textbooks, homework assignments and video blogs. Since universities made the switch to distance education and hybrid schools, families have saved thousands of dollars a year! Schools even started offering a pay-as-you-go plan and allowed families with more than one child attending school to have a significant discount.

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