Monthly Archives: December 2011

5 Not so Crazy Predictions for Education in 2012

It”s not not uncommon for geeks to do some wishful thinking a line any mortal hoping their tech dreams will come true in the new year to come.

Id like to make some predictions for 2012 as well. Just a few humble predictions and observations.

1. Education everywhere

And by everywhere I don’t mean the whole any device anytime anywhere hype. I mean, everyone in every part of the world (except cultures that don’t accept technology and our views of Education of course) will have access to quality Education and educational technology. We will see more initiatives such as EducateNCare, which encourages professionals to provide some of their knowledge and time to tutors children in developing countries online. With initiatives such as this, others will see the need to equip this on the other end of the connection, the local students and teachers. We’ll be even more aware of the need to capacitate professionals in their own native countries.

2. Open educational content will actually be OPEN

Many institutions offer open courseware and content for anyone to access. What we will see is more open source content out there, not just open access content, but content that can be reshaped, and shared forward with other educators and learners via a license such as Creative Commons.

3. Learning on smart TVs
With all these smart devices proliferating, Education should take more advantage of them and be, well, smart Education. eLearning is made mostly with the old desktop metaphor in mind. But thing about all kids of fantastic learning experiences we could have of we designed for different smart devices. I’m not talking just about mobile devices with gyroscopes, location awareness, multitouch interfaces, I mean even (smart) connected TVs. If even the good ol’ tube is changing; why cant we innovate in how we do education in it as well?

4. Micro-location learning and information

We’re all familiar with the concept of GPS devices or mobile map applications taking you from point A to point B with guided turn-by-turn directions and pop-up traffic/trip conditions and events warnings. However, these technologies are normally only for outdoors navigation. You’re lost inside a building. This is a problem that Google has taken on now with their new solution Google Maps indoors feature, which offers guidance inside buildings such as airports.  However, in 2012 we’ll see the rise of microlocation-based learning, which can provide guidance within buildings and institutions indoors. Imagine the educational uses of such mobile applications: exploring the workplace, accurately connecting with others inside of buildings to share information and perhaps serendipitously  meet up for lunch (yes, learning is about forging relationships with others with whom we share or not interests), on-demand information about machines as a learner walks by it. Better yet,  as the learner walks by that very same machine, s/he will  be prompted by an alert on their location-aware device that there is something wrong with it and that it needs repair, not only that, but the alert will show what exactly is wrong with it and give the user an option to follow an interactive strep-by-step repair “tour”. On the job support, information, and true task-based learning about specific concepts, tools, processes as the learner actually does it.

5. Education institutions will allow more social media

With the advent of better content aggregation and curation techniques, Education institutions will appreciate more of the educational applications of social media and feel safer in letting students access social media resources to learn. Youtube has recently released it’s Youtube EDU which allows educators and schools to allow access (mostly) to content they approve on their channel by using technologies such as filters. Students will be given access to a variety of social media services in school as these services start to offer options for content access based on some of the issues faced by schools, issues such as inappropriate or distracting content.

6. [Bonus Prediction] Motion-based learning gets popular and affordable

As devices like the XBox Kinect and Playstation Move start to become more popular, we should see more affordable motion-based learning experiences in the field. Moreover, we should see precise motion training and job aids coupled with Augmented Reality HUDs as employees try to solve real-life problems in the workplace.

Second Screen Learning?

A phenomenon that can be classified as anything from multitasking to plain distraction is getting more popular as smartphones get smarter and tablet computers more ubiquitous: the use of the “second screen“.

It is common now to have at least one person (if not everyone) in the living room watching as movie on TV while, at the same time, checking what their friends are saying on Facebook, Twitter, or simply researching the lead role’s biography on Wikipedia. Whatever they are doing on the little screen, it seems that nowadays the big screen is not enough. People crave more. People want to connect with others and with information outside what they see on the big screen. Often, at least in my family, it is an interaction around the content of the TV, tagging it in Into_Now, and telling their friends on Facebook that they’re watching it and following up on comments about the same post.

ReadWriteWeb reports that 86% of people using their mobile device do so while watching TV. Of those, 33% use mobile apps, 37% browse non-related content, 40% are social networking, while 60% are texting with friends and family. It’s the rise of social TV which so far comprises mostly of static content (TV) coupled with dynamic, social activities (social networking, Web browsing, mobile apps, check-ins into shows and movies).

Disney offers an iPad / PC application called Second Screen which live syncs with the Blu-Ray movie on the TV and provides different content that supplements the movie: games, flipbooks, photo galleries with sketches, trivia about the movie, etc.

How would this second screen experience affect Education? What if, instead of banning smartphones and tablets, teachers in K12 encouraged synchronous exploration of concepts “synced” with what the teacher is discussing?What if in corporate Education, we saw complimentary interactions and information that gave students a better understanding of what the instructor is explaining or even interact with other students in a backchannel discussion around the topics in class?

Many already use in conferences, for instance, Twitter streams as a means to have a backchannel discussions in different sessions. Can we to go beyond that, explore other forms of “second screen experiences” at events, in the classroom, outside the classroom?

How can we combat some of the potential negative aspects of the second screen in the classroom, like distraction, lack of concentration? Can we produce second screen experiences that are channeled. guided and enhances attention rather than distract the learners? How can we employ this concept in online learning environments (being them synchronous live virtual classrooms or self-paces asynchronous experiences)?

Many questions, exciting exploration.

Food for thought: here’s a blogger’s take on how second screen experiences could be used not only in entertainment but also in politics, for instance.

 

Perhaps second screen experiences in Education will be a trend in 2012, with more an more mobile devices in consumers’ hands.

Youtube EDU

There is a vast sea of information out there. In fact, it’s hard not to avoid drowning in it if you, as an educator or learner (which we all are) don’t put strategies in place to organize content by aggregating it using different bookmarking and sharing Web applications (which are a dime a dozen. Tools like Diigo and Pinterest, for instance, are excellent examples of aggregation tools which employ bookmarking and sharing mechanisms.

However, content aggregation can still be an overwhelming task. That’s where content curation comes in play. Services like Smartbrief thrive at selecting target news for users by means of curators. Only the “best content” (at the curators will) are included in perdsonalized newsletters or news briefs which the users can select to receive via email.

Similarly, Youtube is launching Youtube EDU to solve what has been a major pain point for educators trying to use Youtube in the classroom for a long time: inappropriate and irrelevant content. A curation platform for educators, Youtube for Schools allows teachers to select just the right educational videos for their students.

According to Mashable, there are already over 400 playlists curated by Youtube itself in partnership with 600 Education venues including major ones such as the Smithsonian and TED, all organized by grade level, content area (such as Lifelong Learning) and subject matter.

Educators can learn more about producing and sharing their own Youtube videos in the tutorials presented here as well as submit their own playlists to Youtube EDU.

Duolingo – free language learning while helping translate the Web

Duolingo claims to help you learn a language for free because as you practice translating sentences you are simultaneously helping them translate the Web.

It is not clear to me whether translation is the only methodology behind their language learning approach, and it is so not clear what exactly they mean by the Web to be translated (which websites) or how it is done (where the information is stored, who uses it, how are the best translations of the same sentence selected, where the sentences come from, etc). Relying solely on translation as a method to learn a language can be tricky and ineffective. I hope Duolingo offers more than flash cards and translation questions, otherwise, the only value proposition that makes it different from a flash card software (which there are free AND open source ones out there) is the fact that the students are also doing some greater good by simultaneously translating the Web).

I still need to see the product and play with or for a full review (which I will add as an update to this post as soon as I can access it), but from the video, it does not seem to offer a variety of valid and effective activities that employ different approaches for language learning.


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