Brad Ovenell-Carter (aka @Braddo) was kind enough to bring his 2010 Prediction for K-12 Education to my attention. While they’re labeled "K-12" they are also relevant, in different ways, to higher education, and each stimulated some thinking on my part.
Prediction #1: "School administrators will enter the conversation."
This is precisely apt for higher education: administrators are having a conversation… but it’s not the conversation they need to be involved in but is instead happening mostly in parallel with the practitioners and innovators within the space they administer. Of course I worry about the effect administrative realities have on innovative activities– Christensen’s work on disruptive innovation is frighteningly relevant– but at some point what is learned and practiced on the edge needs to make its way into the fabric of the institution. Or maybe it doesn’t have to, but I’d like it to as I plan to remain working within one of those institutions.
Bringing ReadWriteWeb.com’s Top 5 Web Trends: 2009 into play (Structured Data, Real-Time Web, Personalization, Mobile Web/Augmented Reality, Internet of Things) as part of this prediction interests me. How many educators would list these five as the most important web trends of 2009 w/r/t their work? If we’re talking about a top 5 in terms of importance to education, then I propose:
real-time web – setting aside subtleties and arguments about these roles, this is more important for educators and their professional communities than their students’ educational world(s)
"cloud computing" – I use the term haphazardly to include both educational institutions increasing move toward enterprise-level cloud computing services as well as the march of end-user applications and activities from specific desktop to Internet applications such as Google Office
distributed, synchronous conferences – perhaps organizers for events in other areas can afford to attempt to corner their audience into over-priced and under-valued face-to-face offerings, but education isn’t one of them
personalization – this will be important, but mostly in its effects on privacy and identity…it will be two or three years before we seem integration of scattered, siloed information to a point that the grander ideas of personalized learning is possible (if it happens at all)
tablets, netbooks and iPhones (oh my) – most of the activity in this area will continue to focus on simplistic content provision and access to "materials," but I suspect the Apple tablet will result in a tectonic shift in the fundamental landscape just as the iPod and iPhone have. Netbooks will be the next Trapper Keeper.
If I’m not limited to explicit technologies, then I add:
open education/openness – this is fundamental to the visions of many innovative educators, sometimes without those same educators knowing it. The traditional models of content-centric OER creation and provision will continue to die-off and become less relevant. But there’s significant danger here if we aren’t successful in refocusing and reshaping the energy of open teaching and learning as a fundamental way of working.
new literacies and information fluency – yes, there’s more information and means of expression, but digital literacy just doesn’t cut it. I may be early on predicting serious, practical movement in this area, but it will be a top-flight concern nonetheless.
intellectual property and copyright – alternative licensing will continue to grow in importance, but media convergence and mobile growth is going to act as a serious counterbalance. I expect significant legislation and wrangling in this area… and net neutrality!
Prediction #2: "Everyone will wake up to the idea that students are not digital natives."
I’ll quibble with the absolute nature of this prediction. I’ve shifted a bit on my position regarding use of the phrase "digital natives" but not a bit on the reality that the label (as typically used) refers to characteristics that pretty accurately represent an important– if small– set of learners that I encounter in every class I teach.
Who are myriad prognosticators thinking about when they roll out the predictions about personalized, individual education if not the ability for education to reach more than the fat belly of the bell curve? What "digital natives" are, to me, are similar to what other gifted groups are: a small set of students with outstanding skills and experience that are not being served by middle-of-the-road educational experiences.
We can dispense with the phrase, but those students exist, just as do many other "outliers" in any community of learners, and I, for one, am really tired of the immense leveling effect that comes as a byproduct of terminology crusades.
Prediction #3: "We’ll put philosophy back on the table."
I sure hope so! The "participation and presentation" circle of my information fluency Venn diagram is predicated on the idea that we are recognizing and teaching the practical ethics and evolving morality and mores of the webby, netty world.
With no experience in K-12 education beyond experiences with my own children, I can’t speak to the needs there, but in higher ed this means taking into account creeping relativism (and I am, by most standards, a relativist– or more specifically an ironist) and at least being aware of the constant conflation of ideology and philosophy.
The recent "openness debates" provides a stark illustration of the difficulty of 1) engaging the philosophical in an edtech world heavily biased towards traditionally pragmatic concerns, and 2) finding productive means of doing so.