As we all know, technology is evolving rapidly. It has, and will continue to, profoundly change our lives in the years to come. Just four years ago, it would have been hard to imagine we would have access to the kind information we now have in our pockets. So what will the future look like four years from now? What kind of positive changes can we expect to see rising out of the Internet of Everything (IoE) by 2018?
The opportunity for economic growth is predicted to be vast; with figures in the trillions. However, the potential for growth can be measured in rising graphs and rolling dollar signs. It can be measured in the ways in which IoE will revolutionise education, creating a platform of learning that will shape the minds of future generations.
The increasing connectivity speeds and decreasing hardware costs - on which the Internet of Everything's future value is predicated - will create learning environments which are more immersive and interactive than ever before. In a world where a student in London can attend a lecture at Berkeley in the US, contributing in real-time via the device in front of them, distance will become irrelevant. Along with it will go the notion of inaccessibility to information, all learning and all information will be available to students all of the time. Perhaps then, the ability to evaluate and analyse could be become a skill more valuable than any other.
Information is already being shared in new ways, which in turn is beginning to affect the 'how' and the 'where' of a student's learning environment. We can also expect to see a change in 'what' exactly students need to learn. The flourishing economy brought about by IoE will necessitate more highly skilled, specialist workers. The connectivity facilitated by IoE could enable devices to measure a learner's performance, allowing for tailor-made exercises designed to test a student's strengths and weaknesses.
IoE is also changing the ways in which students with disabilities are able to learn. Technology is being put to use in schools in Australia, with sensors changing the ways students learn sign language. Elsewhere sensors are being used to improve learning for students with ADHD by monitoring brain activity and providing rewards for improved learning.
This process perfectly captures how a connection between the four pillars of IoE - people, process, data and things - is already influencing. Though currently, physical attendance is the norm; by 2018 we could expect to see tuition taking place through any device, anywhere. Through IoE, the linear knowledge-sharing dialogue between teacher and student can evolve into something entirely within the student's control. They will be able to learn at their own pace, focusing more on what they perceive as relevant to them. This, in turn, could lower the price of education with students customising a course of learning that is specific to their needs, paying only for what they want rather than a 'one size fits all model'.
The advent of 'massive open online courses' (MOOCs) shows this shift is already underway. Such courses are aimed at large-scale online participation with top universities offering access to education for free. The idea being these environments will germinate a form of education based entirely upon connectivity. The inevitable growth of such networks will bring education to those for whom such knowledge was previously inaccessible. Connectivity will close the gap between, not just teachers and students, but the businesses and institutions that an education is built towards. By 2018, learners will have become contributors, and not just of their own education, but future generations.
By 2018, we are set to see a whole a new way of learning. Education will become self-directed, with the drive to connect, evaluate and analyse being the true mark of a 21st century education.