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Thursday, December 30, 2010

2011 Predictions - Sticking My Neck Out Again

Not sure if this is nuts again but here I go. Here are some general 2011 predictions for the U.S. and educational technology in general.

1. Credit recovery and self-directed learning - which is not just now about learning what you want but about earning credits you want/need that maybe you didn't get the right way or missed or lost somehow - will be even more important. Just like many people take longer than 4 years to get a college degree, there will be more ways to get a high school diploma outside of the traditional/same school for 4 years/route. It won't be as easy for students as it seems, though, because independent learning takes a lot of self-motivation.

2. Chrome PC will take off even more - and others will enter the foray of cloud-based computing devices. Privacy concerns will become factors, though, as people who are now beta testing start to realize that everywhere they are going is being tracked in even greater detail than before. Still, it will make sense to not be tied to hardware operating systems so closely. Apple, Microsoft, Dell, IBM and the big players will take serious note.

3. Tablets, eReaders - tipped! Everywhere! Just look around on any airplane now. This will continue and the devices and offerings will get better.

4. Nearly everyone with a smart phone. Just as you can't hardly find a soul older than about 15 without a cell phone, you won't be able to hardly find anyone without a smart phone.

5. Schools start looking around and worrying about 1-to-1. Yes, people like me have been advocates and many have gotten on the bandwagon. But have they followed what ought to be in place in my book, or with what Project Red recommends? Well ... not exactly ... so time to regroup, rethink and restrategize.

6. The economy grows a bit but not enough.

7. More contract work takes off, more people realize they need to go back to college and learn more skills, and the shrinking of fulltime jobs continues as I blogged previously.

8. Fewer service workers, everywhere. Grocery stores, restaurants, bookstores, retail, etc. will see shrinking needs for humans as online offerings plus in-store automation appeal to everyone wanting quick results without waiting on line.

9. Employers will start getting more interested in where applicants went to high school, not just college, and will start asking questions about how technology was used throughout applicants' educational journey. Graduates of schools known for integrating technology will start promoting themselves as such.

10. The move towards utility-based technology without centralized technology departments will grow with co-lo, offsite support increasing. Schools preventing Web 2.0 activities will find educators have a better approach in their student-centered classrooms empowered by open-ended emerging technologies.

Of course I could be all wrong!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Computer I'd LIke - Too Bad It Doesn't Exist (with everything I want) yet

I am picking up my new PC laptop this morning, already have a Mac laptop, and need to be fully cross-platform. But here are the specs of the device I wish I were picking up:
  • A slate - to write on and use - that also has a keyboard if I need it - keyboard is full size
  • This part's new: a fully native "reading" mode that softens the glare and the light so that when I download eBooks and other things I can read without eyestrain
  • This is new as well - extremely lightweight - maybe 2 lbs or less - but with native USB ports - 3 of them - for my printer, external backup, camera, etc.
  • Built in standard VGA port - no adapter
  • Takes phone calls natively without 3rd party product in that when my phone rings it goes to my phone AND to this device and I can press a button and go into automatic speaker mode (if I want to) or ignore the call
  • Operating system fully integrates with built-in native antivirus antispyware antimaleware tight firewall and automatically updates - for no additional cost
  • 8 gigs RAM native that the operating system fully accesses all the time
  • 500 gig hard drive
  • Runs all the apps I have right now plus lots of things built just for the slate
  • Mac/PC immaterial - it all runs, even including Office - AND MS Office keeps up with updates and doesn't do the Mac on one version PC on another thing
Along with it I want all projectors to be fully wireless and connect to my slate with enough bandwidth to run streaming video as needed. Basically one-stop shopping, and I'll just be carrying my slate and my smartphone and so will everyone else.

Oh and it costs $500 fully loaded.

Maybe it's ... on the way?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Inspired by 21 Things That Will Become Obsolete in 20 years

I've been inspired by this posting 21 Things That Will Become Obsolete in Schools in 2020 and here's my list:

1. Fixed spaces for learning - eventually there will be much more movement than we see now, think of Google or similar environments. There are "offices" but there are also spaces to meet, there are big spaces and a few smaller spaces and areas for collaboration and areas for gathering. Or think School of One with one big space segmented into functional areas.

2. I second the idea that IT departments as we know them will be different - instead I think (and said in my book as well) that we'll be outsourced for connectivity with 3rd party co-location areas which house applications that aren't in the cloud (and likely most will be) with the high end network manager no longer needed. Schools will pay per computing device which will include applications and Internet access.

3. Specialized teachers with just one role. We're already seeing this for budgetary reasons but I think eventually the teacher who only teaches 4 sections of Latin will find himself/herself needed to have more content/subject expertise. Teachers will lead the way in retooling and reeducating themselves according to what needs to be taught and how - and colleges/universities will help.

4. Libraries as we know them. These are already changing and I think will continue to change into spaces with varied functions - perhaps very large spaces where lots of things are happening and where books, Kindles, iPods or whatever digital assistants are called in 2020 are available - they may even be where online learning takes place. Think of the Online School for Girls where physical brick-and-mortar classes are supplemented by online classes. When the online learning happens during the school day - where does it happen? How about in the Library which has morphed into a School of One/large Google space with collaboration and other possibilities going on.

5. Being uninformed. Everyone will get the feeds they need to be informed as learners and as community members. However, somehow the filtering and the digesting and the organizing has got to be better than it is right now.

6. Teachers not being available to students. This is controversial I know. But somehow if education is moving away from a traditional school day there has to be a way for teachers to be more available. Whatever the equivalent of texting, Skype, etc. will allow teachers and students to communicate more frequently with teachers able to indicate when they are on the grid and when they are away.

7. Lack of choice by students. Students will have more choice about what they learn, how they learn, and how they will demonstrate what they've learned. I talked to a student in Iowa who said one of her favorite history classes allowed her to take a project and just learn about it the way she wanted and then demonstrate it using the tools and vehicles she wanted.

8. Big old heavy textbooks. Yes, they will be a thing of the past and my daughter (age 18) and her generation will say, "in my day we carried these huge backpacks that weighed nearly half what we did and our spines just about got permanently curved."

9. The Digital Divide. This cannot continue, education must be universal, so therefore must be access to everything including technology.

10. Traditional college applications. They'll be video based, face-to-face, portfolio-informed, with teachers giving their "recommendations" as videos - or - in video response to video questions posed by colleges.

11. Bandwidth Issues. Obviously, this must go away, and high speed access must be the norm in every community whether wealthy or poor, urban or rural.

I can hardly wait!