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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Brave New World

I believe the startling rapidity of technological advancement we are likely to see over the next decade is not necessarily a bad thing. I would hope that technology expansion throughout the modern world would make having such technologies less expensive and more available to the masses, with those who cannot afford computer technology still being able to connect with more versatile access points. I imagine all students will be able to engage with new technologies as time goes on, either with laptops or mobile devices, but this won't necessarily improve learning outcomes. I imagine that after a prolonged push to increase technology use in classrooms, government policy will scale back ICT's in schools and highlight the need for good teachers and good pedagogy. Books will still exist, but there will be more oportunities for creativity and critiquing for readers - interactive texts ("choose your own adventure"). Interactive desktops will allow students to do everything electronically (but with traditional writing still in place), with finished work automatically sorted and work for assessment sent directly to the teacher, streamlining assessment and feedback practices.

More worrying will be the continuing loss of identity with people spending so much time online, inventing, reshaping and retooling their personas that they can't really tell who they originally were anymore. Second Life will have melded with Facebook to create a one-stop avatar empire that offers everything for humans except organic nourishment. Where does science become fiction and vice versa?

It's a brave new world we are entering, but are we ready? Are teachers, students, schools, parents, politicians, universities, businesses, employees, employers ready for it? In the immortal words of Hans Solo: "I've got a bad feeling about this." Now's the time to begin preparing people for the technological horizon that's approaching, because soon being an active citizen will mean being conversant and capable with all of these technologies.


  1. I found your predictions about ICT in schools interesting - I hope you're right. ICT certainly has its place in education but more does't always mean better.
    Yes, that last tutorial scared me a bit. I think as we move forward, we want to give our students the skills to make use of these new technologies, but finding opportunities for real social interaction and nurturing empathy will be just as important.

  2. I think we have to place some trust in humanity and that the need and desire for connection with real, squishy, smelly people will always exist...for most people anyway. I think if we cannot trust in this, we can trust that given our rapidly decreasing attention span we will eventually get bored of digital technologies and start fetshizing about old fashioned books, a pencil and the great outdoors.