Can you text your Professor or TA at any hour? Will they respond? What is the future or the classroom and the relationship between instructors and students? From Scott Olster, editor of Fortune Tech:
The market for mobile education—which encompasses everything from e-books to courses delivered to tablets and learning management software—is currently worth $3.4 billion, according to a 2012 study by GSMA, an association of mobile operators, and consultants McKinsey & Co. The market, which includes device sales like Apple (AAPL) iPads and Google (GOOG) Android-based tablets, is expected to be worth $70 billion by 2020.
But despite all the hoopla over gadgets and new software, the future of education really hinges on the shifting roles of teacher and student. “The main shift is away from what I’ll call a teacher-in-classroom-centric model,” explains Scott Benson, a program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Instead, Benson says students will learn at their own pace, using software that adapts to their strengths and weaknesses. In other words: aided by emerging technology, the teacher-student relationship—and the classroom itself—will be remade. That is the coming education revolution.
Later in the piece:
With billions of dollars in potential business from schools and universities, education companies have plenty of incentive to get in now. But it goes beyond just digital textbooks and apps. For many of these companies, the educational business battle to come will center on student data.
Ideally, every move a student makes in a digital course will be tracked and analyzed to not only change a program to meet a student’s current needs, but to track a student’s progress—and determine their educational needs—not just during a given course, but throughout their lives.
“Collecting data, having a student profile that goes from kindergarten through professional [life] is where we want to invest,” says Jay Chakrapani, general manager in charge of digital products at McGraw Hill Higher Education. So, as the concept of “finishing school” at college graduation goes by the wayside, many consider the kind of data collection project Chakrapani is talking about the holy grail for the education business.
“The old model of getting educated in four years and coasting for the next 40 years” is growing increasingly less relevant, says Andrew Ng, co-CEO and co-founder of online education startup Coursera, which offers free online courses from universities like Stanford, Princeton, and Duke. “In the 40 years we continue to work, tech will allow us to continue to learn in a way that wasn’t available.”