Kathy Gibson is at the E-Learning Summit in East London – There’s a belief that the fourth industrial revolution is coming – but we should acknowledge that it is here already.

“There is an idea that we are preparing for it, but this implies we can put it off,” says Micheal Goodman, group knowledge manager at Via Afrika.

Studies show that subjects with little Internet experience have different brain activities compared to those with experience. “Technology does change the brain,” says Goodman.

There is a deep-seated fear that robots will take over everything. But alongside this fear is the recognition that machines will relive workers of tedious takes, allowing them to become more creative.

The notion that man and machines will start to fuse is becoming prevalent with the use of technology in surgery like cochlear implants and even 3D-printed body parts.

So technology is not necessarily a bad thing. “But jobs will be lost in the fourth industrial revolution,” Goodman says.

As technology becomes more able to understand concepts that humans take for granted, this will become more widespread.

“The fourth industrial revolution is here, and the jobs that will be available in the future will determine what skills learners need to develop.”

The World Economic Forum says the skills to connect are going to ne the most important going forward, Goodman says. And these are skills that should have bene taught in the 20th century.

“But what is technology going to do to our learners’ brains?” he asks.

In the brain neurons carry messages. “Every time we come across a new concept or idea, these neurons come together via synapses, and pathways can become developed to change the way we think.

“In the same way we can develop new pathways, our brains can trim unused pathways. Using technology enables us to help change pathways.”

Goodman explains that this is similar to the way people learn to read. “There is no biological reason that we can read. Teachers deliberately and willfully change our brains to enable this.”

In fact, learning to read requires many different parts of the brains to connect.”

However, fear of the unknown is often identified as danger by the brain, and technophobia becomes a reality, Goodman adds.

Technology bombards us with a wealth of stimuli, and makes people believe they can multi-task, he adds, and this comes at the cost of focus and long-term memory.

When it comes to teaching, he says its important o move away from Internet reading – or skimming for information – and read for learning rather.

“We need to work towards a bi-literate brain, developing the skills that are useful for using technology and reading as a functional tool.