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Cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are now challenging our organisational paradigms in many areas, eg. the adoption of autonomous driving vehicles (3.5 million truck drivers may lose their job in the US) or cashier-free stores (cf. Amazon Go). Its impact in education is yet difficult to anticipate, but a new generation of digital assistants (cf. Google Duplex, https://youtu.be/NuhyFueWYqA) enables a vision of ubiquitous personalised educational coaching far more sophisticated than what human teachers might provide. Recent examples reinforce this concern – an AI news anchor introduced in a Chinese TV station in November of 2018 (https://youtu.be/GAfiATTQufk) shows that avatars are likely to replace humans in a variety of one-talks-to-many situations (eventually lectures as well).Yet higher education continues to be largely based on the old teacher-centred model, even if experts and knowledge are no longer found only behind university walls – for the simple reason that a higher education diploma is yet socially and professionally important. Students are however no longer dependent on teachers to access knowledge, and use a variety of learning channels ranging from free high quality resources (e.g. Khan Academy, MOOCs, etc.) to paid and possibly questionable solutions (e.g. online tutors, commissioning assignments online). Plenary classes treating them all equally, in spite of their different learning profiles, are less and less motivating. Student empowerment by technology may happen to become the ultimate driving force towards truly student-centred teaching and learning models. This paper will provide a contextual overview of current digital disruption factors in education, and their impact upon pedagogical paradigms. A vision for future learning spaces in higher-education institutions, combining on-campus and online learning environments, will be proposed, followed by its implications into the organisation of physical spaces, teaching and learning models, and staff training programs.

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Jose Manuel Martins Ferreira 2046
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