3D printers already generate a lot of buzz, but now one use is attracting even more attention—Dr. Anthony Atala devised a way to use a 3D printer to generate human organs—a kidney, to be specific.

A space elevator may sound like a radical concept, but we could only be five years away from having the materials—and the ability to overcome gravity challenges—needed to build an elevator to space.

Some of these future technologies have clear implications for education, but others seem more business- or manufacturing-minded. But the link, DiBlasi said, is the need for created and STEM-minded people to imagine and then create these new technologies and products.

“All this technology we have—we have to have people who are able to be innovative to make these devices…we need to train students for the future,” DiBlasi said.

He referenced a Brookings study that argues that STEM-educated students—in particular, those with some post-high school education but not necessarily a bachelor’s degree—is a driving economical force.

Educators and administrators should aim for schools to be “creation engines,” he said, focusing on what they’re doing what is innovative, and making sure that what students learn is relevant in today’s world.

DiBlasi asked one final question: “Will what you’re teaching your students help them be successful in today’s global economy?”