Omaha 2025: Education

Posted at 4:50 PM, May 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-03 17:50:23-04

You can't have the future of education, without technology. Go into the classroom at a few metro schools and you'll get a taste of what education in 2025 could look like. Non traditional seating, like yoga balls or standing desks, classrooms with different ages mixed together instead of strict grades, and an emphasis on interests like magnet schools all will continue to grow into mainstream education.

However, technology will shape it all.

Tools like digital books and libraries, smart boards and iPads, laptops, and virtual reality glasses will likely become commonplace.

"They're all interactive. That's the piece technology that we are going to see the most growth in. It's not going to be sit and get. It's going to be a way of interacting," Bridget Donovan, Omaha Education Association President. 

Some classrooms like OPS's virtual school, the first of its kind in the state, will put the lesson entirely online. This class splits between meeting a few days a week at the Do Space on 72nd and Dodge and letting the students work from home. Technology many also make certain lessons obsolete.

"I don't know that handwriting will have the emphasis of the past. I think it will be more of typing skills," Sarah Edwards, UNO Chairperson of Education.

The main effect: technology will impact how educators teach and assess.

"In the future of teaching, it's become even more of a science. With technology we can analyze data faster, we can pull more date points of all the students together to make informed decisions in teaching," Edwards said.

"I think you'll probably see a lot less emphasis on standardized tests and a lot more emphasis on do you understand, what is your competency level?" Donovan said.

Some school districts, like Millard, have already started integrating programs like IB, which focuses on problem solving skills, into younger grade levels. Early childhood education enrollment is also expected to grow. A survey out last year from Gallup and the Buffett early childhood institute showed the majority of Nebraskans (67 percent) believe the state should make early care and education a higher priority than it is today.

With all of these changes, one constant will remain for education in 2025.

"Relationships in the classroom are what drive instruction and make learning possible," Edwards said.