Back to the Future: Changes in Education

Sometimes we imagine the future but when it comes, it’s completely different. Remember “Back to the Future Part II”? In that 1989 film Marty McFly travels to October 21, 2015. Twenty-six years after that movie hit theaters, that day finally arrived. I remember watching the film and thinking, “Wow that will be the future.” A lot of things have changed since 1989, especially in education.

What was education like 30 years ago?

I was starting the secondary school by 1989, and what I think has changed the most is the teaching and learning process. For example:

  • Classes were mostly theory with a little practice
  • Teacher-directed activities had students seated in rows facing the teacher and the blackboard with many lectures
  • No student differentiation or individualized learning, one size fit for all
  • There were only two sources of information: the teacher and the book – that was all!
  • Of course we didn’t use computers or any other device in class. There was no Internet, only pencil and paper. (My kids cannot believe that! “Mum, how could you ever live without Internet?” they ask.)

What’s changed?

  • School today is more student-centered
  • Teachers use differentiated instruction based on each student’s level and learning style
  • Students develop social skills like collaboration and problem-solving
  • Student engagement has increased
  • Teachers have become a guide for learning and students take more control of their own learning

Three important technologies have made these changes in education possible: the use of interactive displays, student devices and the Internet.

Today I can’t imagine education without technology. Students can learn everything even if they aren’t at school. A teacher can start a collaborative project in class and promote inquiry and problem-solving abilities in their students. They can collaborate even if they are not at school using collaborative classroom education solutions like SMART amp. They can also collaborate with students from other countries promoting their social and global citizenship. Don’t you think that is amazing?

I can only imagine what education will be like in the next 30 years.


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Ainhoa Marcos
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About Ainhoa Marcos

Ainhoa Marcos is responsible of the SMART Exemplary Educator Program internationally as SMART Global Advocacy Manger. Former educator Ainhoa has more than five years of consulting experience as a SMART Education Expert and Consultant for the EMEA region, managing different educational programs and working with Ministries of Education in the iTEC European’s Commission research project about technology implementation for the future classroom. Ainhoa loves working with teachers around the world and expanding the SEE program globally.

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