Saturday, 2 March 2013

The Future

Some people think the future will look like this:

or like this:

I'm a little bit more conservative on my outlook. Our imagined future always out paces what actually comes. We should have had flying cars ten years ago, but we're still struggling to break away from fossil fuels.
I browsed through last year's NMC Horizon K12 Report, a project that looks at emerging technologies and predicts when they will be used in education. It predicted cloud computing, collaborative environments, mobiles and apps, and tablet computing would be in use within the year. From what I've seen in schools, and in this class, they were right.
Click here to see what topics are being discussed for this year's report.

It's a neat exercise, so I'm going to try my hand at it.
  • 3D printing is going to become wildly popular. First in design classes like shops and drafting, then in science courses where design is part of the curriculum. I feel it just may even the playing field for sciences fairs too. Students just have to book time on the school's 3D printer and can make anything they dream up to test their question, instead of relying on materials they have access to at home.
  • I want apps to evolve. They're good and all, but I feel like they are compartmentalizing our digital experience. There's an app for this thing and an app for that thing, but you have to download each individually and they run in isolation. As we use the internet to collaborate with each other more and more, I'd like apps to multi-task and collaborate.
  • I want virtual science labs to stop. Virtual disections, CGI chemical reactions and gravity simulators are great ways to supplement labs and demonstrations, but should not replace hands on science. The scientific attitude is about questioning and testing for yourself. I realize that some schools just don't have the budget for labs, but I want to see skype, or programs like adobe connect or blackboard collaborate, step in here. Universities could partner with high schools and conduct labs over skype. Audio, video, and even data could be streamed. This way students get to see science in action instead of programming in action.

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