“It becomes more about looking at the space a different way, and space that focuses on learning in the space versus instruction in the space,” Vredevoogd said.

Virtual collaboration and school systems

“We ought to be bringing experts in virtually,” Selinger said. “We should have teachers and students working across schools—that’s what the future’s about. Kids should work on challenges and problems in the classroom, and teachers should support that and make sure students are developing their basic skills so they can further their knowledge.”

School systems may grow in popularity.

“For me, it’s about working with systems of schools, not just an individual school where you have your teacher in your classroom, and you close the door, and that’s it,” Selinger said. Instead, students will be able to connect virtually with teachers in a number of different schools, expanding both the number of classes available to them and the educator expertise they use to learn and grow.

“If you’re going to have [collaboration] in your environment, you need the tools and learning environment that supports it,” she said.

Up-and-coming technologies

A number of in-development technologies could make their mark on education in the next decade. GPS-based tools could appear in the K-12 classroom, and “smarter” tools and devices might be able to take learning to another level.

Machine learning, a form of artificial intelligence that is able to learn from data, is underway in research centers and departments across higher education, said Samantha Becker, lead writer and researcher for the New Media Consortium Horizon Report series. “Machine learning refers to computers that are able to act and react without really being explicitly programmed to do so,” she said. “Computer scientists and engineers are building machines that not only retrieve and interpret data, but that also learn from it.” The New Media Consortium sees a number of K-12 applications for machine learning. Xapagy is an example of machine learning.

The ed-tech arena has already seen emphasis on natural user interfaces through touchscreens, but advances in that technology will see enhancements through electro-vibration technology, Becker said. “Rather than feeling a hard touch screen, users will act more authentically with the content, because electro-vibration would let them feel certain textures through the tablet screen.” Disney Research Labs and a Finnish company are working on these advancements.

Location intelligence is another technology that’s gaining ground, and it could be used widely for school field trips and research projects, Becker said. For instance, a number of startups are aiming to create indoor GPS applications that customize user experiences to preferences, such as directing museum visitors around a museum based on what works of art they wish to see. Locationary and Waze are examples of this, and Apple recently purchased both.

What do you think the Classroom of 2024 will look like? Leave your comments below, or Tweet me @eSN_Laura.