The industrial age is a period in history that began with the use of power machines which changed the way society was run. The industrial age was the time of manufacturing and focused heavily on improving efficiency in the workplace. As machinery became more and more advanced, the shift into the information age was inevitable as technology became a prominent factor in society. This information age, that we are currently in, is characterized as the shift from industry based to economy based society where it now functions on knowledge and technology (Castells, 2005). Those who hold the power of technology have become highly advantaged within today’s society which influenced the existing power relations in our modern world. Having access to technology 24/7 has also altered how society is run because constant communication and quick access to endless information has become necessary to function. These requirements of the new information age have affected social issues around the world, like poverty, inequality and most importantly, education.
In regards to education, as technology continues to evolve, it brings both new opportunities as well as challenges that educators and students are forced to face. The future of education is not dependent on the device because this fast pace market cycles through these devices faster than they can enter the school system. The major factor which acts as a tool and obstacle for the education system is networks. The future of the education system is dependent on access as students and teachers will be able to learn, communicate and collaborate locally and globally from anywhere. Communication has shifted from face to face to online interactions and schools have incorporated this into their lesson plans which is why learning has become a social based process.
Matt Britland supports this idea as he wrote an article which discusses the future directions of technology in education and the creation of the “cloud” which is a strong network which can connect multiple devices to create a future-proof infrastructure (Britland, 2013). Some ways in which the cloud can be used is to set, collect and grade homework online, students can instantaneously access their grades, and communication using smartphones or tablets.
In connection with Matt Britland’s idea, the possibilities with placing strong networks into school systems is immense and it reinforces the unavoidable fact that school classrooms are going to change as a result of technology. Social networks have become the basic unit of modern society within our information era (Castells, 2005). By integrating networks into the education system, it will change the current education paradigm for the better by supporting independent learning, creativity and communication. As discussed, this information era has altered the power relations of our society but it can also alter the power relations within the school. More students will be given the opportunity to get involved in learning to utilize their right to an education. More communication, more creativity and more independent learning will allow students of all ages, cultures and financial statuses to make use of the benefits of having strong networks in their schools to better the circumstances for learning. Technology is a rapidly changing industry therefore why not use it’s power and influence to change the way students learn and how teachers teach for the better.