4 Predictions about the Age of Technology-Enhanced Learning

I’ve been thinking about the Arthur C. Clarke quote: “Anyone who can be replaced by a computer should be.” and this led me to do some deep thinking about the consequences of technology for education.

Based on the principles of capitalism and the pressures to educate more students with better results, I arrive at the following four predictions about the marriage between technology and learning.

Please pay attention to the bolded words. They are important.

(1) Learning that involves information transfer will be replaced by technology.

(2) Any repetitive assessment or learning task that can be replicated by a computer will be.

(3)  Any computerized course that is cheaper and results in equal or better learning outcomes¹ for students will be delivered that way.

(4) The only technology that will improve learning outcomes for the majority of students is that the technology that begins to mimic a tutor-student relationship.²

¹Learning outcomes is the results/objectives-oriented part, not the learning experience. I think it will be a long time before technology can provide equal or better learning experiences, nor do we really measure this aspect of learning, though we should.

²Why? See Bloom 2-sigma problem.

What does that leave for the institution and the instructor? I posit that the role of an educator should shift from instructor to learning coach. A learning coach would focus time and energy on communicating, encouraging, monitoring, setting achievable (but challenging) goals, providing accountability to those goals, and guiding learners to see new insights for connecting concepts. In other words, educators should work with technology to (a) eliminate the repetitive tasks and (b) focus on the relationship-oriented things that improve the learning experience.

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Google Hangout + TED Talks = CONNECT

The catch phrase / motto / vision of TEDx is “Share. Connect. Act”

We hold these TEDx events all over the world, so I’d say we’re pretty good at sharing. The TEDx Action Team is working on some “recipes” for making action easier (and I’ve written about my own idea for Turning Ideas into Action). So, I’d say that the next thing to do is recreate the awesome “liquid network” that we experienced at the TEDxSummit on a year-round basis – to find a way to cultivate connections of people around ideas.

Imagine this world … You go to TED.com to watch a new video. Next to “Play” there’s a new button: CONNECT

When you go to TED to watch a video, you'd get the option to watch with others, to CONNECT. (click on image to enlarge)

When you click on “Connect” you get placed in a waiting area in Google Hangout.

Now you're in Google Hangout, waiting for your fellow "Connect" viewers to arrive. (click on image to enlarge)

Once a few others from the queue get added to your “Hangout” the video begins. Viewing as a group means you can see the reactions of others and make comments as you watch.

Now watch the video with others and see their reactions. (click on image to enlarge)

And when the video is over, you can have a conversation about it with those other viewers from all over the world.

And then have a conversation about the TED video you've just watched. (click on image to enlarge)

As our conversations around ideas begin to include those people with very different perspectives, maybe we’ll all learn to respect and value the beliefs, cultures, and values of others.

Well, I can imagine it, I wonder if someone at TED can build it?

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TEDxMuskegon: A Recipe for Free Range Learning

I just realized I never posted the Recipe for Free Range Learning video from TEDxMuskegon.  You can watch the video or you can read a rough transcript of the talk, posted below.

Here’s the text this talk was based on …

“Free range learning” describes the learning that takes place outside of the formal boundaries of education. I’ve been asked if the existence of “free range learning” implies that there is also some sort of “caged learning” as well. Well, the current U.S. education system was developed in the industrial era using the principles of a “factory model.” So, in a sense, you could call formal education a sort of “caged” system of learning, but [Read more...]

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What skills should we be teaching to future-proof an education?

Some time last year I spent quite a bit of time reflecting on what skills we could be focusing on in higher education to “future-proof” a degree.  What skills will stay relevant no matter what future careers look like?  There are two frameworks used and endorsed in K-12 education: Partnership for 21st Century Skills and Equipped for the Future.

I felt that the lists not quite right for adults that are returning or seeking an education.  Here is the list that I developed, and a link to the Prezi that includes many video resources that correspond with the skills.

Focus

  • Manage your information stream
  • Pay attention to details
  • Remember (when you need to)
  • Observe critically
  • Read with understanding
  • Set and meet goals

Explain

  • Media literacy (determine and create the right media for the job)
  • Present ideas digitally
  • Design for the audience
  • Depict data visually
  • Convey ideas in text
  • Speak so that others understand

Interact

  • Advocate and influence
  • Resolve conflict and negotiate
  • Collaborate (F2F or virtually)
  • Guide others
  • Lead

Analyze

  • Interpret data
  • Make decisions
  • Think critically
  • Solve problems
  • Forecast
  • Filter information

Flex

  • Think across disciplines
  • Think across cultures
  • Innovate
  • Adapt to new situations
  • See others’ perspectives
  • Be creative

Learn

  • Formulate a learning plan
  • Synthesize the Details
  • Information Literacy
  • Formulate good questions
  • Reflect and evaluate
  • Know what you know

 

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Future of Education Interview in Unlimited Magazine

About a month ago I had an interview with Lewis Kelley at Unlimited Magazine.  A portion of the interview, called The Future of Education, was published yesterday, along with interviews with two other “leading education thinkers.”

Here’s a short excerpt from the interview …

“I’m not optimistic that real change is going to happen from within education. I think education is kind of a behemoth. It’s an interconnected system, and any kind of interconnected system is really hard to shift. You can push on parts of the system, but they still have to align with the rest of the system. You can’t push too far.

We can’t radically change our curriculum because that would affect the students coming in and the students going out. K-12 can’t radically change their curriculum without affecting their students’ ability to do well in college, and college can’t radically change its curriculum because students would be coming in out of K-12 and not prepared.

We can’t move unless everybody moves together, and that’s the thing that I think is particularly rough. But …”

 

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