Australian College of Commerce and Management Blog

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Back to the Future Day - 30 years of Education!

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It's Back to the Future Day! That's right. It's a day where fans of the popular 1980s movie franchise celebrate the day that Marty McFly and Doc Emmett Brown travelled to Oct 21, 2015.

You probably flew to work today in your flying car, or packed your kids lunches with hydrating pizzas and then watched them as they skipped out the door and jumped on their Mattel Hoveboard. You’re obviously going to head out to your local Holomax and watch the highly anticipated Jaws 19! No? Ok, the writers may have been a little over enthusiastic with their predictions of the future, but when we look back at the last 30 years at the education industry, what actually has changed? How has technology changed our lives and how has it affected the way that we learn?    

 

We aren’t that old if we remember when …

To calculate numbers – students had to apply the maths tables that they had learned by hours of recital … 2 x 2 = 4         2 X 3 = 6

Then the world changed and students were allowed to use a CALCULATOR in class.

The adaption of spreadsheets to everyday life was a huge improvement on the good old calculator.

Now I don’t calculate much – my computer has scripts that do it for me.

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To complete assignments – you used to put pen to paper. Many a night was spent rewriting that draft Uni essay to be submitted at 9am in the box outside the lecturers office on campus.

Only 8 years ago Australian College students posted in their paper assignments, which were marked, copied and posted back.

We thought it was an exciting move when we started scanning their assignments instead of making the photocopies and filing them.

Our students loved when we launched Webclass – and allowed them to access their assessments and learning resources online. Of 3000 students only a handful wanted paper (and you could guess their ages).

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Did you make appointments to see your teachers? Now students SMS, video call, skype, email and interact with their teachers in all manner of ways.    

 

To store data – we had thousands of paper records. Our computer reports were printed out as back ups. Many larger government organisations and libraries had microfiche. (Most students these days would not know what that was). In a huge leap forward we started to back up and archive data to DVDs. The cloud was something that rain came from…

MICROFICHE  

 

To lodge Government data – we would walk down to the local State Training Services Office and hand over a floppy disk. (Find me a device that now has a floppy disk drive …)   Now high speed internet makes this process online and instant.

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Student Enrolments – used to be on paper application forms. And we had staff re-enter the details into our computer system. We were an efficient provider – and could have a student enrolled within a week. Since online enrolments started 5 years ago – we have the student enrolled instantly and accessing their course materials.

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What Does the Future Hold ? Luckily – The Australian College has made an investment in staying up to date with both technological developments but also the adaptation rates of various demographic groups amongst our customers. So we can offer high tech or low tech – as the customer need demands.  

Let's see what the world of education is like on 21 October 2045!

Dave O'Reilly

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