Posts Tagged ‘future’
Sometimes I am consulted by agencies outside my own about adopting “future ready” platforms.
While there are many ways to address this issue based on different contexts, I find myself repeating one answer. I tell them to avoid an enterprise learning management system (LMS) like Blackboard.
LMS tend to be expensive and their cost will only go up over time. Even without extras they are bloated with features most instructors will not need or care for. Where there are missing features, you will pay handsomely for them to be included. Upgrades will tend to become more complicated rather than easier to use.
Your buy-in will eventually lead to lock-in. The LMS will be the go-to place even when it ceases to be relevant. It will influence pedagogy (instead of the other way around) and entrench itself so that your organization will find it hard to let go.
You will likely end up with a closed system that is great for administrators or technical-minded staff. This does not serve the needs of learners or instructors who may require lifelong learning or more open resources.
Providing more open resources and services is not just being future-ready; it addresses what is needed here and now!
To adopt a traditionally oriented LMS is like adopting Singapore’s paper coupon parking system even when electronic forms exist.
This ridiculously antiquated system requires you to tear tabs from paper coupons to indicate the date and time you park, and leave the correct number of coupons on your car’s dashboard based on 30 or 60-minute intervals.
Such a system allows people to cheat, does not take into account the actual time you need, is a source of litter and a waste of paper, and when you consider the policing mechanism, is unnecessarily human resource intensive.
On the other hand, the electronic reader system can charge you more precisely or in the same blocks of time, does not generate paper waste (with the exception of top-up receipts), and is more convenient for the user.
An LMS is like the paper-based parking system. It is designed not for learner needs but to satisfy what an administrator wants. Like the parking authorities/companies who make a profit, the only ones who are really happy the LMS are the ones who make money from it.
To be future-ready, we should refine the electronic parking system and abandon the old paper-based one. To be future-ready, we should avoid LMS that are designed with a different time and purpose.
I like Corning’s vision of a possible future when viewed through the glass lens.
However, I was disappointed that in their proposed future:
- Kids still carry such large bags to school
- School still looks like school
- A teacher still stands in front of the classroom and talks
This is the trailer by Ericsson of their video on the future of learning.
At the end of the trailer, Sugata Mitra, who is always good for a sound bite, makes this provocative statement:
Knowing something is probably an obsolete idea. You don’t actually need to know anything. You can find out at the point when you need to know.
It is a great teaser for the actual video.
Put in the want ads section of the paper, the ad was a novel way to bring eyeballs to the cause.
It also got me thinking about how school is supposed to prepare kids for their future work, and more specifically, the future of work.
If the kids are going to work obediently in factories, schools are doing a fine job. If they are not, then our schools are sorely lacking.
At the risk of sounding ridiculous, what if the ad above was real? How does one prepare a learner to be a torturer?
That example is not realistic given that the ad is a spoof. But it must be said that a few people are trained to do this kind of work, just not conventionally.
What is realistic are future jobs like in-game bodyguards. Not real life bodyguards, but protectors and guides in video games like Call of Duty and Battlefield. As the linked article reveals, one such bodyguard is a 15-year-old boy from England.
Some might say that being an in-game bodyguard is the boy’s hobby and not his career. Before you pooh-pooh that idea, consider the rise of cyberathletes, the online creation and trading of in-world or game artefacts [virtual consumerism], or simply the setting up of blog shops [examples].
So how do you teach these work and life skills?
In some cases, you do not teach conventionally at all. The gamers learn the trade (and tricks of the trade) themselves. My 8-year-old son recently started playing the online version of Minecraft. Thanks to YouTube videos by CaptainSparklez and Minecraft wikis [example], he has encyclopedic knowledge of the game.
As his parent and educator, I not only showed him how to find these resources, but also helped him decide if they were worthwhile.
For example, Sparklez is a great instructor and entertainer. His game voiceovers are engaging and he does not use crude expletives. But when he plays in multiplayer mode, his kin are less disciplined with their expressions. I told my son which Sparkles videos he could watch and which he should not and why.
I facilitate, monitor, and evaluate. I take interest and listen. I question and give feedback. I do not lecture because my son already is the content expert. That is what teachers can do too.
This might be a thought-provoking (or even jarring) video for anyone who only has a traditional notion of teaching.
The creators of this video called it Future Learning. It seems an apt title if you consider suggestions by the players in the video that seem to point at technology-enabled, teacher-less learning.
But I think this video is really a primer for the future of teaching given the rapid changes that we are already experiencing today.
I could probably watch the video every day this week and take away something different from it each time.
- reading comprehension
- information literacy (search and retrieval)
- digital wisdom (knowing how/what to believe)
A sneak peek into a very possible future thanks to Corning’s crystal ball.
Microsoft is looking into its own crystal ball to see how the Kinect might be used.
Microsoft just released a video of their vision of what personal and work productivity might look like in the future.
I don’t mind that the future might be filled with white IKEA-like furniture. Maybe the furniture can assemble itself too.
But I hope that schooling changes so that the girl does not have to practice math like she was still in the 19th century.
I also hope that there is also something for excessive saliva production because I am drooling at all the other possibilities!
I’ve embedded this video of Microsoft’s vision of 2019 in my blog before.
But I did not realize that there was a spoof of the same.
I tweeted this yesterday:
It’s a link to part 1 of a series on what education might be like in the future. The presentation was done in the style of RSA Animate. It’s something I am going to follow!