Posts Tagged ‘future’
I love videos that try to paint the future.
I don’t view them as guarantees of what the future holds. Instead I see them trying to make concrete the concepts of what things might be like if we hold on to the best of our humanity.
Such videos show off our ability to dream, to innovate and to make life better. This is much better than alien invasions or a catastrophic end to the world.
Maybe videos like this one are a bit more boring, but certainly much better in terms of quality of life!
The video is worth 20 minutes of your time to watch and a lot of your time to think about.
In the area of improving education, I like what Khan said about changing the administrative mindset of increasing teacher:student ratios to thinking of ways to increase teacher contact time with students.
The way he got to this was to show how technology could be leveraged on to turn the classroom upside down. As described at the TED site:
He shows the power of interactive exercises, and calls for teachers to consider flipping the traditional classroom script — give students video lectures to watch at home, and do “homework” in the classroom with the teacher available to help.
At the end, Bill Gates says, “I think you have got a glimpse of the future of education”. More than that, I think that Khan’s talk reveals key mechanisms for deschooling.
Here are some reused and rehashed slides from Steve Wheeler about The Future of Learning.
Not that reusing or rehashing is a bad thing. Things worth saying need to be repeated and sometimes said slightly differently before others get it.
I get it. I am excited by it. Don’t know what “it” is? Process Wheeler’s slides for it!
Do the concepts seem impossible? I don’t see why not since some of the technologies are merely extensions of what we already see today. I think that the only thing in the video that is near impossible is Sweden winning the World Cup.
It’s important to keep one’s eyes on the prize. To paraphrase Alan Kay: You don’t wait for the future, you invent it. You don’t just fulfill a need, you create it!
I attended my first NIE appointment holders retreat yesterday. I am not quite the Head of CITE yet, but I guess it helps to get a running start.
But I liked the final event of the day. We were asked to think outside the box and imagine what we might like to see in the future NIE.
The activity was participative in that we had to write ideas down on sticky notes and paste and organize them on themed boards. (Secretly I wished everyone knew how to use something like Wallwisher.) The activity also drew upon the collective wisdom of all present in the room.
After the retreat, I thought that if we are to implement Teacher Education 21, then we should be doing more of the latter activity than the former. There is no substitute for practising what you preach! If it occurred to me then, I would have put that on the free-themed board. But I’ll share a few things I did put on the boards.
One thing I shared was that I hoped to see another teacher education institute. Why? For the simple reason that competition is good! As much as we brainstorm, we suffer from group think. And we might get complacent because there is no threat to what we think we do best.
Another thing I hoped for was an almost paperless environment in NIE. There were about 60 to 70 people in the room and practically everyone printed out the electronic documents and bound them in files. I had my files in my iPhone and netbook. As I looked around, I saw some people flicking their fingers on their iPhones. Unfortunately, it did not look like they were viewing those documents. They were bored or checking email or texting.
I’d like to see more people rely on electronic documents not just because it saves money and resources, but also because it might indicate a change in mindset. We talk about shaping 21st century teachers. Let’s act as 21st century teacher educators who use 21st century tools and media!
On that note, I think I have a new mandate for CITE publications: No more printouts. Electronic documents are more reproducible, distributable, and editable. Their paper equivalents will just end up in the trash.
My biggest wish that I would like to help make a reality is for NIE to regain the lead that I think it has lost in terms of educational technologies. NIE used to adopt, adapt and model technology use and technology-mediated pedagogies. I think that is has lost its initiative in the former and is barely hanging on in the latter. Schools have started to pull ahead. We need to retake the lead simply to stay relevant and to prepare our teachers better.
I think that most people who watch the the School of One video above would label it a 21st century school. Others might call it a school of the future because they do not see it happening any time soon.
But I think that the school of one, where the student is the centre of learning, is here already. It’s just not that obvious or common. Nor is it as formalized or structured as shown in the video.
I think that if we really wanted to, we could pull kids out of school now, get information online and the community at large, and those same kids would be even better prepared for life than if they stayed in school. There is so much information online and context in the community; it just needs to be utilized when needed.
Who is providing this information? Everyone who can and who does. Who makes sense of this information? Wikipedia editors, authors of wiki books and people like Salman Khan (John Connell blogged about him here). And their numbers are growing. Parents and the kids themselves, too, will create and make sense of the information.
If schools want to stay relevant, they should sit up, take notice and act on what they see. Schools can evolve to be the hub of all forms of meaningful learning instead the factories they are now (the schools of one kind!). If not, they might find themselves marginalized, left behind or even excluded in the learning landscape in the future.
Oblong is the company behind the Minority Report computing interface [more information at TechCrunch]. They designed the fictitious system for the movie but they have also made it reality! I’m just glad that they thought of a way to bring in more than one user into the system.
What do other people think of it? Chris Dawson who is far away in Massachusetts and a fan of Google Apps seemed pleased for us, but he had this concern:
With the relatively high number of homes with computers and broadband access in Singapore, one has to wonder when communication and collaboration via Apps will be encouraged among students.
I too share that concern. The technology should be placed squarely in the hands of learners and the pedagogy in the that of the teachers. (Of course, the teachers should use Google Apps too!)
Students need to explore, create and critique. Teachers need to design, implement and manage. In theory at least.
One barrier will be mindsets. Cloud computing is the return to the mainframe-terminal model of computing. Everything is stored online in the cloud. People will find it hard to let go of their standalone copies of MS Office tools sitting in their hard drives.
Cloud computing allows one to share and collaborate both synchronously and asynchronously. Instead of working in selfishly in silos, we can work more openly beyond what we currently perceive as borders. This is the future of the way our students will work, so I think that the adoption of Google Apps is one step in the right direction.
But let us deal with the mindsets, particularly that of teachers. Let us provide professional development, not just on the technologies but also on the pedagogies that facilitate learning as enabled by the technologies. Just as important: Let us in NIE, the only teacher preparation institute in the country, have Google Apps too!
The first augmented reality (AR) on phone application I saw was Layar from the Netherlands.
That was a month ago. Now someone else has created an application for the New York subway system.
What might AR for education look like?
Singapore’s IDA has a vision of how we might live, learn and work in 2015. Earlier this year, Microsoft shared its vision for 2019. I highlighted both videos in a previous entry.
Time magazine does not have a fancy video, but it suggests 10 ways jobs have already changed and will change in the future. (Many thanks for Carolyn for highlighting Time feature!)
My message is the same: Let us prepare our learners for their future, not our past or even our present.