Trends in Technology for Education SURF workshop

Today SURF organised a workshop on technology and trend scouting in education. The workshop was driven by the core ideas of flexible and personalised learning.

We started from several reports partly in dutch partly in english:

Kennisnet Trendrapport: Technologiekompas voor het onderwijs (dutch). Michael van Wetering presented his report on technology in education for 2016-2017. As one core component of the new developments he sees the data and information about human activities. The key question in this context is what and how we can enrich, augment, and enhance learning support with these data. He presented Gardner’s Hypecycle as an instrument to analyse the risk of investment in technology. In these sense the questions of adopting too early or adopting too late more relevant than to classify a phenomenon. Furthermore this can lead to hanging on too long on an old technology of giving up too soon on a technology development.

As example trends Michael presented the digital testing, the digital personal learning assistant, or mobile device management in school settings. To analyse the potential of technologies he also presented a matrix of organisational productivity (high, low) and personal productivity (high, low) leading to enabler technologies, corporate green light, people’s choices and hot spot technologies.

Second Robert Schuwer introduced the OECD report “Trends in shaping education”. Basically the report aims to stimulate reflection and identification of challenges in education. The report lists 5 main trends in the form of challenges: the dynamics of globalisation, future of nation state, rise of the megacity, family matters, brave new world. All of them have consequences for curriculum reform, new opportunities, upcoming challenges and risks.

Third Ria Jacobi presented the “Innovating Pedagogies 2015” report of the OU UK. This report identifies and describes 10 trends from crossover learning, context-based learning, remote labs, embodied learning, stealth assessment, analytics of emotions, just to name some. As a core Ria stressed the use of big data and personal data for learning support and as key topics she listed scaling, connecting people, reflection, personalisation). Furthermore Ria presented the final report of the FUTURA project “Next Generation Pedagogy” which differentiates between intelligent, distributed, engaging, agile and situated pedagogy.

Fourth Jeroen Bottema presented the “NMC Horizon Report 2016 for Higher Education”. The horizon reports present each year a number of trends and differentiates them according to short term, mid term, or long term impact. Beside others the technologies mentioned in the report are seamless and blended learning, BYOD, Learning Analytics, AR, Makerspaces, Affective Computing, and Robotics.
As interesting challenges in the context of TEL the report names the balancing between our connected and unconnected lives, digital literacy, and personalisation of learning.

What do I take from this?
In general I would say a lot of trends presented and discussed are progressions from the years before. In the late 90’s for example there was a whole movement coming out of the user modelling research looking for standardized user modelling agents, basically this is standardisation work also now found in the xAPI developments. Nowadays we have the mass of data that leads to new qualities in the scale of data collection and the real-time data applications . So definitely one mega-trend with high potential for education is the available data and data-logging with potentially high impact on our ideas of assessment and competence-based education.

Also the whole mega-trend of gaming and educational games is of course a potentially high impact development on education. Basically games have the potential to really make learning fun and mastery addictive. Furthermore think about the possibilitirs of complex simulations which are nowadayas available on your fingertips. Students can interact with complex systems and understand and learn about real world problems in a much richer way.

Third also the whole development of the disappearing computer and connecting different locations and learning situations with mobile and ubiquitous computing devices can be a game changer in education as long as the computer really faciliates the access to relevant information for human sense making and discourse.

more to think about …