10 years ago, could any of us have imagined today’s digital classroom, an abundance of MOOCs, or the prevalence of tablets in colleges and universities? With classroom technology advancing nearly faster than we can keep up, we thought it would be interesting to look at higher ed’s possible technological future. This map, entitled “Envisioning the Future of Education Technology,” is an interesting guess at what may lie ahead. Created by Michell Zappa of the Brazilian tech research foundation Envisioning Tech, it visualizes emerging technologies and tries to imagine what the classroom of the future looks like.

  • There are terms we’re still familiar with at the moment, such as flipped classrooms, mobile learning platforms, and 3D printers. But will other ideas—eye tracking, student-developed apps, and assessment algorithms—become popular in higher ed? What about technology we haven’t yet become familiar with: Algo-generated lessons, reactive materials, and neuroinformatics?
  • Classrooms in nearly every country are becoming digitized, allowing for live global interaction. Students and faculty alike will have nearly endless opportunities to collaborate, whether that’s by studying together,  discussing points of view, or doing remote research.
  • Great strides are already being seen in virtual and physical studios. There’s Google Glass,  experimental retinal screens, and tools we haven’t even yet heard of that could make “going to class” a phrase in the virtual, not physical, space. This could very well happen in a decade or less.
  • This map guesses that between 2030 and 2040, instruction will become less based on traditional testing and more on project and portfolio achievements. Perhaps more interestingly, it estimates that in just a couple of decades, education could become an interconnected, ever-present effort—instead of the four-plus years we’re currently used to—that allows students and staff to understand and cope with a constantly changing, technologically advanced society.

What does the classroom of the future look like to you? Are desks actually interactive screens? Is paper itself interactive? Do classrooms even still exist? There’s no way to know for sure, but exciting changes lie ahead, and we’ll constantly work to stay a step ahead of the game.