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Home Industry News 2020 Vision: Experts Forecast What the Digital Revolution Will Bring Next

2020 Vision: Experts Forecast What the Digital Revolution Will Bring Next

In September 1993, Linda Roberts was appointed inaugural director of the newly created Office of Educational Technology within the US Department of Education. The phrase “surfing the internet” was but a year old, and the tide was still low for the few knowledgeable enough to test the waters. Broadband and wireless held significance only to the most sophisticated techies.

So much has changed since then, but Roberts (who headed the Office of Educational Technology until 2001) and two of her three successors, John Bailey (2001-2004) and Karen Cator (the current director, appointed to the position in 2009), agree that the most dramatic technology-enabled transformations are still ahead of us. Recently, the three of them sat down with T.H.E. Journal Editorial Director Geoff Fletcher to discuss how far we’ve come in education technology, and where we can expect to go.

Looking back over the last two decades, what have been the most important education technology developments?

Linda Roberts: Two have been phenomenal. One is, of course, the internet and the vast world of information and resources, and the ability to connect with people that we didn’t have two decades ago. But the second part is the mobility we now have, so that the resources and connections are in our hands wherever we go. Those two developments, combined, are shaping the future.

John Bailey: The internet and broadband have been transformative in enabling all sorts of reforms. Online learning wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for the internet revolution and the next-generation broadband networks we’re seeing now. When you look at any of the innovations that we’re talking about in education technology, the common denominator is the internet and broadband helping to create the platform.

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