Category Archives: future predictions

10 Global Trends in ICT and Education: my take

10 Global Trends in ICT and Education is a post by Robert Hawkins on EduTech, the World Bank’s blog on ICT use in Education. It’s a great list, an “aggregation of projections from leading forecasters such as the Horizon Report, personal observations and a good dose of guesswork.”

While I feel that the trends apply mostly to well-resourced, developed-country educational institutions, I’m happy to report that in South Africa (SA) we are seriously exploring:

Trend 1) Mobile Learning — although we’re not focusing on smart phones but rather on feature phones with GPRS-capability, e.g. in the m4Lit (mobiles for literacy) project.

Trend 8) Teacher-generated open content — the Siyavula project from the Shuttleworth Foundation is building a community of teachers and a platform for this very thing.

I think the trends least likely to take hold in SA are 2) Cloud computing (bandwidth is just too expensive and the infrastructure for it not well enough established) and 10) Teacher managers/mentors (in-service teachers don’t want to relinquish the role of font-of-knowledge and “head” of the classroom. A number of factors, such as poor learner discipline and low teacher content knowledge (making the teacher only just a font-of-knowledge, more like a trickling stream of knowledge) make this a complex issue … it is not simply a case of teachers being resistant to change).

Nokia study predicts rise of ‘circular entertainment’

A new study from Nokia and The Future Laboratory predicts that by 2012, a quarter of all entertainment will be “circular”, that is created, edited, and shared within peer groups rather than being generated by traditional media. The bulk of the study was based on interviews with trend-setting consumers from 17 countries about their digital behaviors and lifestyles.

Mark Selby, Vice President, Multimedia, Nokia, said: “The trends we are seeing show us that people will have a genuine desire not only to create and share their own content, but also to remix it, mash it up and pass it on within their peer groups – a form of collaborative social media.” The term circular is based on the movement of content: it is created, shared with friends/family, gets edited/remixed and then shared on or returned again.

As Tim Leberecht of CNet says, one has to take these vendor-funded studies with a pinch of salt. He makes an interesting point about the study: that the distinction between traditional and “circular” entertainment is becoming increasingly difficult to define. But still, for what it is worth, the tech early adopters in these countries are living in and establishing a participatory culture.

I wonder, since the data is based on the actions of early-adopters, how much of this applies to South Africa (SA)? If the prediction is five years out, is it any more for SA? And if yes, how many more years? Only two of the 17 countries are traditionally comparable to SA: Brazil and India. Reading about the survey findings there didn’t help to answer these questions, but it does make for interesting reading.

Interview with danah boyd, social networking expert

danah boydIn an interview with danah boyd, she speaks about the impact of social networking on society and education.

Key points:

  • We live in a changing world, with new technologies and social media that allow people to easily connect, communicate, create and share content.
  • These changes are reshifting and reshaping public life as we know it. Our lives today, which consist in large part digitally, are more persistent, searchable, replicable and visible (in public spaces we don’t always anticipate).
  • We socialise young people into public life (what to wear, how to behave, who to stay away from, etc.) but we also need to socialise young people into these new mediated public spaces.

Impact on education:

  • We need to primarily educate on how to deal with constantly evolving and emerging technologies (above teaching about the technology or even with the technology itself). (Of course it can be argued that the best way to teach the primary goal is through playing with current technology.)
  • We need to teach critical thinking skills and new media literacies.
  • She is working on a teachers guide to Wikipedia (out next US summer, June/July 2008) that can be used to teach critical thinking skills around Wikipedia, and is happy for someone in Cape Town to localise the guide to the South African curriculum.
  • Social networking is here to stay, but it might not be as Facebook or MySpace. As a concept it will be integrated into other technologies and media, e.g. your cellphone.

Pull quote: “Let the kids do what they need to do, but teach them how to be critical.”

Image by Loren Earle-Cruickshanks (All rights reserved)