Learning, Innovation & Tech

Bombs & Breakthroughs

THE LIST: 12 Top Technologies in Education

CJ Westerberg, May 31, 2014 12:48 PM

12.technology.Horizon.report.jpg

"For a long time now, credit hours have been the primary way
of marking the progress of students in earning their college degrees.
This method implies that time is an accurate and effective measure
for knowledge comprehension and skill.
This industrial construct hinders the growth
of more authentic learning approaches . . ."
- NMC Horizon Project Short List



Also: 14 Things That Make Me Worry

DSC_0163-1_2.jpgby C.J. Westerberg

If you've been out of the loop or confused by the deluge of media stories about technology in education, this just-published NMC Horizon Project Short List Report - 2013 Higher Education Edition -  is a good quick cheat-sheet synopsis to help you be in the know.  It's up to you to predict the winners and losers and to decide which ones will be the breakthroughs and disruptors, if any.
 
What I like: The Report includes a paragraph highlighting the 12 technologies; a short list
of key points how this technology contributes to a "Relevance for Teaching, Learning, Research or Creative Inquiry"; along with a few examples of this technology "in Practice", plus a highly-edited list of "Further Reading" links for further exploration.  Neat. 

What I like more:  The summary trends and challenges - see highlights below.

What I didn't like: How the trends and challenges point to the negative consequences of not being on board with the edu-tech train.  Do I have go extreme and play the Luddite role for some kind of balance here?  What about the consequences of blindly embracing technology?  

The Report is the tenth edition of the annual NM Horizon Project, jointly released by The New Media Consortium and EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI).  Described as " a decade-long research project designed to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have an impact on learning, teaching, and creative inquiry in education."

Here is THE LIST (in the order of adoption):

1)  Flipped Classroom - The Flipped Class Manifest was listed as a resource link in the Report.

2)  Massively Open Online Courses - MOOCs

3)  Mobile Apps

4)  Tablet Computing

5) Augmented Reality - Yong Zhao weighs in
    
6)  Game-Based Learning - James Paul Gee is brilliant in his analysis
 
7)  The Internet of Things - " . . .shorthand for network-aware smart objects that connect the physical world with the world of information."
   
8)  Learning Analytics - The School of One - Blended Learning and Moorestown NC as two distinct examples.  "Learning analytics refers to the interpretation of a wide range of data produced by and gathered on behalf of students to assess academic progress, predict future performance, and spot potential issues."

9)   3D Printing - "Known in industrial circles as rapid prototyping, 3D printing refers to technologies that construct physical objects from three-dimensional (3D) digital content  . . .

10)  Flexible Displays - e-paper or "Flexible screens can easily be attached to objects or furniture, regardless of their shape, and can even be worn."

11)  Next Generation Batteries - " . . . imagine batteries that charge incredibly quickly, last for days, and can be recharged thousands of times with no loss of efficiency."
 
12)  Wearable Technology - "Google's Project Glass features one of the most talked about current examples  . . ."

In response, here are 14 questions to consider.  In addition, I've added a few riffs and links:

  • Execution.  How good is it?  Is an educator using it to the student's advantage? Just remember the first learning games on-line.  Because there is a screen involved, it doesn't make it better.
  • Privacy.  The elephant in the education room. 
  • A better experience? What does tech add to the experience? Does it advance the learning?
  • More information to memorize? If it's about layering more information, fu'gedaboud'it.  More is not more learning.  
  • Personalized does not mean personal.
  • Making stuff doesn't mean it matters. . . to the student or anyone.  Is a 3-D printer inherently better/always better than popsicle sticks or legos? (Note: Are educators familiar w/Papert?).
  • Does the technology advance purpose in the student's life?
  • Does the technology advance passion about learning something in the student's life? 
  • Our students our sitting on their butts way too much - like parents and educators don't notice? How will this technology help this issue?
  • Will GOING OUTSIDE (HUMOR) be the new app?
  • Will technology  fool with our children's relationship to Mother Nature? 
  • Thought:  Sometimes I worry about a 3-D printer in every household with millions of dumb non-cornstarch plastic abandoned prototyped toys in landfills.
  • Almost-real is not real.
  • Can our students debate and have eye contact with peers and adults by high school?  Do any of these tech advances address this skill?  Can students deliver a speech?  Can they ask questions?  Can they solve problems?  Does tech advance these 7 essential skills?

While I am clicking my heels in delight about my daughter catching up from a week-loss-of-school due to the flu through peer and after-school help and most definitely, some flipped class videos, which was not on the radar a year ago, I am at the same time also cringing at my friend's experience with her high school son who is getting buckets full of videos, games and other homework assignments in lieu of real teaching to "get through the material."  I am in delight that universities are being questioned as to the value proposition as it relates to exorbitant tuition and practices and whether all students have to fulfill the traditional route of a 4-year college to be worthy of certain careers, yet . . . see my riff on MOOCs.  I also cannot wait until we start seeing the use of 3-D computers in school.

The Report continues with an outline of the key trends and challenges of this technology. All are excerpts:

Trends & Challenges - The Horizon Report

  • The abundance of resources and relationships made easily accessible via the Internet is increasingly challenging us to revisit our roles as educators. Institutions must consider the unique value that each adds to a world in which information is everywhere. . .  Universities have always been seen as the gold standard for educational credentialing, but emerging certification programs from other sources are eroding the value of that mission daily.


  • Assessment and accreditation are changing to validate life-long learning. The traditional degree, with its four-year time commitment and steep price tag, corresponded more logically with the model where the university was positioned as the central aggregator of top academic minds with residency- based students. Online education and new learning models are proliferating, causing the burden of logistics and infrastructure to be greatly reduced, while allowing for the potential of fluid, life-long education ecosystems.


  • Both formal and informal learning experiences are becoming increasingly important as college graduates continue to face a highly competitive workforce.


  • Education entrepreneurship is booming.  . . . At the university level, there is now more of an emphasis being placed on students creating something tangible in their courses, from mobile apps to long-lasting batteries and all sorts of lucrative innovations. The potential result, if these programs are managed and executed effectively, is the cultivation of learners as entrepreneurs that demonstrate their knowledge and concept mastery in profound ways to solve local and global problems .  . .


  • Education paradigms are shifting to include online learning, hybrid learning, and collaborative models.  
  • Increasingly, students want to use their own technology for learning.


  • Massively open online courses are proliferating.  . . . As the ideas evolve, MOOCs are increasingly seen as a very intriguing alternative to credit-based instruction . . .


  • Open is a key trend in future education and publication, specifically in terms of open content, open educational resources, massively open online courses, and open access.


  • Social media is changing the way people interact, present ideas and information, and judge the quality of content and contributions.


  • There is an increasing interest in using data for personalizing the learning experience and for performance measures.
  • Appropriate metrics of evaluation lag the emergence of new scholarly forms of authoring, publishing, and researching. Traditional approaches to scholarly evaluation such as citation-based metrics, for example, are often hard to apply to research that is disseminated or conducted via social media.


  • Complexity is the new reality. One of the main challenges of implementing new pedagogies, learning models, and technologies in higher education is the realization of how inter-connected they all are.


  • The demand for personalized learning is not adequately supported by current technology or practices.


  • Digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession. This challenge appears here because despite the widespread agreement on the importance of digital media literacy, training in the supporting skills and techniques is rare in teacher education and non-existent in the preparation of faculty.


  • Dividing learning into fixed units such as credit hours limits innovation across the board. For a long time now, credit hours have been the primary way of marking the progress of students in earning their college degrees. This method implies that time is an accurate and effective measure for knowledge comprehension and skill. This industrial construct hinders the growth of more authentic learning approaches, where students and teachers might make use of more creative strategies not bound by such constraints.


  • Economic pressures and new models of education are bringing unprecedented competition to the traditional models of tertiary education.

 

  •  Institutional barriers present formidable challenges to moving forward in a constructive way with emerging technologies.


  • MOOCs have put a spotlight on residential campus education and its unique value; the challenge is to identify and articulate that value in the context of MOOCs and financial issues.


  • Massively open online courses are compelling, but universities must critically evaluate their use.


  • Most academics are not using new and compelling technologies for learning and teaching, nor for organizing their own research.
###

For the full report.

Related: Eight Brilliant Minds on the Future of Online Education via Harvard Business Review- Peter Thiel, Larry Summers, Daphne Koller (founder of Coursera), Raphael Reif (President of MIT), Bill Gates, Jimmy Wales (founder of Wikipedia), Muhammad Yunus (founder Grameen Bank) 

Related The Daily Riff:
Here a MOOC, there a MOOC . . . 16 Possible Effects of MOOCs by C.J. Westerberg

Why "Making" Matters
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