If teachers do not adapt to the new technologies, the technologies could replace them, Ian Smith warned schools.
Speaking after the conference Mr Smith said: "The world is changing really fast and I don't think that schools are changing fast enough and we know that if systems don't change they disappear."
He forecast that secondary schools in particular could face challenges if they did not step up a gear. "The Internet could provide competition, as some parents vote with their feet and use tutors with access to the Net. Courses could be supplied from anywhere in the world and accredited in Scotland. "
Secondaries were having trouble generally responding to these changes, perhaps due to the ageing profile of the profession, he added. Some people might therefore conclude that money could be saved on teachers and spent on computers. "I'm not saying that secondary schools will lose teachers in this way, but it could happen."