New Technology – Jon Rowe

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Trying to predict ahead what new technology will be on offer in 2026 is incredibly hard, and it is easy to be too conservative. Looking back to 2006, ten years ago, we had:

– no iPhones
– no iPads
– no Facebook
– Wikipedia yet to reach domination
– no Twitter
– Blockbuster video rental just past its peak
– Netflix was a DVD rental business: no video streaming

So perhaps in 10 years time there will be again no Facebook or Twitter, iPhones will be replaced by star-trek like communicators, and Wikipedia will be replaced by a natural language enquiry system so that a student could just ask (or even think) a question, and immediately know the answer…..

How to teach students in such an environment? To be honest, I think there will still be a premium on having experienced human beings standing in front of them explaining stuff. I just hope all the marking can be done by robots (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-38289079)

Jon Rowe

6 thoughts on “New Technology – Jon Rowe”

  1. Now there’s a sobering thought…no iPhone 10 years ago. My children (in their 20s) run their lives through their iPhones and I am not far behind on my android. So – predicting the technology of 2026 is something of a challenge – although we can probably bet that a) it won’t go away and b) it will probably get ‘better’. We can probably also agree that face-to-face physically present learning will be a major part of the future. So, I guess we must plan to optimise the blend and the interface between digital and physically present learning. The post on Birmingham Digital is interesting. I think this could be developed further.

  2. I think that one thing that we can be assured of, is that information will be available through technology even quicker than it is now and in even more varied ways. What does this mean for us needing students to remember ‘facts’ in assessments or recall key research articles. Might the 3 hour sitting exam die due to the ability of being able to access information quickly? Instead might we look to assess the use and application of information to address real world and theoretical problems in a multiple day window? Might the classroom of the future be one where we pose problems and students access information instantaneously to solve these problems and our role becomes guiding this process with a focus on the rigor of the interpretation and application of information, or facilitating their understanding of it.

    1. So – the key question seems to be – to what extent will students in 2026 need to be able to memorise ‘facts’? If this skill moves even lower in the order of learning prioritie – how should we change our asessment? It seems to me that we are in something of a transition zone on this one right now but the direction of travel seems to be becoming clearer?

  3. ‘Facts’ (or alternative facts) are increasingly available as described in the posts above. We no longer need to cram facts into students as technology provides them with an instant external device (WiFi permitting). We do however need to help them:
    a) triage those facts
    b) use them.
    That’s what employers want and that’s what makes education and research fun. As Kathy says assessing facts is easy, the challenge is efficient and discriminating assessment of their use.

  4. Technology is obviously going to be important in the future. Technology might even be such that students don’t even need to memorize facts. What seems to be important is that students understand facts, that they understand how to use facts, and that they understand how to extrapolate facts to create new understanding.
    Recently my 13 year son asked me a question about calculating infinite sums. I tried to give him a relatively intuitive discussion of convergence, and he seemed to understand what I was talking about. Meanwhile, my 9 year son was giggling. When I asked why I was told that the answer to any question can be found using Google. This is a very, very scary concept. I am not convinced that technology can guarantee understanding.

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