Students are increasingly developing a mindset towards education that skips the boundaries of where lessons can take place, how learning is undertaken and how it is disseminated. Location will become less and less important; education will increasingly become seamless. In various research projects designed to asses the impact of mobile technology on how we learn, work and play, Future Laboratory researchers have already noted the emergence of trends such as continuous computing among the late teens - where students use mobiles, laptops and (authorised and unauthorised) hotspots to log on, tune in and bliss out on everything from exam sheet cribs to in-depth studies of the subjects they are working on.
In this world, the coffee shop has become the campus as social, educational and recreational activities blur. Some students even use their mobiles or laptops during lectures to "background" - connect to the web for real-time fact checking or cross-referencing - or use their computers' speaker facility to work with friends remotely, texting them or IM'ing them details about the work under review.
Classrooms of the future will change to accommodate these shifts. They will need to become wi-fi zones; teachers will come to accept the buzz of mobiles, the tap-tap of keyboards, the flicker of a student's video iPod and the flurry of texts while they are talking. This should not be taken as a sign of how bored students are but of how they are enriching the discussion in a multidimensional way.
This is the future: education when we want it, where we want it.
I would argue this is not "the future," this is education today - if we are simply bold enough to seize the opportunity.