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I see lots of new approaches. I see lots of exciting new
technology being used in innovative new ways.
I was recently asked to post an article on what the near future holds
in education. What kinds of approaches, technologies and innovations
we might see in 2015.
There are many resources that can guide us if we want to look into
the near future - crystal balls including the New Media Consortium's
Report, and the Open University's recently released Innovating
Pedagogy 2014. They give a pretty good roadmap for how things
look likely to evolve, featuring technologies such as 3D printing,
Wearable Technologies and Augmented Reality, to name a few.
But what really sticks out for me (and this is the good news) is that
it's all about you.
The use of digital technologies provides a level of data on how
individual students are learning. This is turn allows the dream of
personalised learning to become a reality. Imagine having a teacher
engaging with you one-on-one, tailoring the course and the assessments
to your individual needs.
Data analytics refers to the science of analysing massive amounts of
data around learning. For example, if students are watching a video,
it's possible to see who watched it, how long they spent watching it,
where they paused, and even deduce at what points they were confused.
Similarly, online programs can tell what keys you're pressing, how
long you're taking to press them, and even identify who's doing the
typing (the science of keystroke biometrics is
being used by online MOOC provider Coursera to verify the identity of
users based on the characteristics of their typing.
All of this may seem like Big Brother is watching, but the big
advantage is that your learning can be delivered based more precisely
on what your needs are. This means tailored to you personally, not to
a class or cohort with a wide range of skills, knowledge and abilities.
This doesn't mean that learners will stop being social, sitting alone
at their computers whilst some remote robotic teacher delivers them
the ideal course. Universities, for example, are investing billions in
their campuses to create inviting learning spaces for students. UTS
recently spent $1.2 billion on three landmark buildings featuring
collaboration spaces and studios (and with only one traditional
lecture theatre). The idea being more about you as a learner having
Open Education proponent Jim Devine talks about
together, taking advantage of both individualised course
material and social interaction, usually in a shared space.
This means that the learner will be able to collaborate with others
while undertaking a course of study that suits them personally. You
might find yourself in a group of people studying the same course but
with different assessments and material, appropriately targeted at
each individual student.
Hopefully this will help you achieve the skills that will make you
work-ready sooner. Studies have identified the four properties that
industry is seeking in graduates (in order of priority):
So in the year to come, what does my own crystal ball tell me?
I see lots of new approaches. I see lots of exciting new technology
being used in innovative new ways. But most of all, it's all about you.