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Emerging Technology for Emerging Scholars: Ed Media Conference and Beyond...
Sunday, June 16, 2013
Please Note: This blog post is not going to be the most thoughtful or illuminating that I have ever come up with. Hence, if you are a leader in the field of educational technology or e-learning or whatever, I would not recommend reading it. Skip it and save some time. There is not much here to really chew on. I just needed to post something since it has been over a month and I had promised that I would post more during my sabbatical. Apparently, I lied.

Now on to the post...On Thursday afternoon, my very delightful friend, Jim Hensman, at the Coventry University wrote me an email. Jim said that he wanted to pick my brain for a session he is doing in a week or so at Ed Media in Victoria, BC which is June 24-27, 2013. In fact, it is the 25th anniversary of Ed Media. I wish I could go; from 1999 to about 2007, I went every year.

Jim then told that his session was one of those "Emerging Scholar" types of events. He has one hour assigned and wants to "create a discussion about the future of learning and how new researchers can orientate towards this." He wanted perhaps four or five examples of key things happening that are indicators of the future. They could be highly specific developments or "something more generic and could be really way out or down-to-earth."

I thought about it very briefly and sent him the info below. Then I expanded in it a tad.

Some Indicators of the future of learning:
1. Embedded and ubiquitous computing: Wearable devices like smart watches, bracelets, smartphones, Google Glass, etc., from which to access information as well as to communicate with others. Many articles on Google Glass lately, including general ones from the USA Today in April and those that are specifically related to healthcare in March.
2. Massive Open Online Gaming (MOOCs): Hundreds of millions of people will be exposed to K-12 and higher education as a result of MOOCs who have never had access before. And many more will change their jobs or career pursuits as a result. But accreditation, assessment, and attrition remain serious issues.
3. Free and Interactive Mobile Books: I think that free books on mobile devices or on the Web or your watches, etc., are a key part of the next century of learning. Cites like BookRix allow anyone to post mobile books. And Subtext allows for comments and communities to form around books.

4. Gamification of Learning: Learners want to achieve goals, overcome challenges, solve problems, interact, and ultimately win at something. More emphasis on this gamification of learning will be placed on all digital contents. I appreciate Jane McGonigal''s October 15, 2012 article in "Big Questions Online" (BQO), "How Might Video Games be Good for Us?" Speaking of which, I also appreciate the BQO website. They ask questions like "Can You Learn to Control Your Mind," and "Do We have Souls" and "Are We Alone in the Universe." Stuff like that.

5. Wall of Video for Apprenticeship: I think that expert apprenticeship is on the rise. We have video walls at IU.  It is called the IQ-Wall. I used it when my emerging learning technologies class ended in April We could bring in people from around the planet and have them appear on that wall. We now have another IQ-Wall in our Herman B. Wells Library. You can also have mini walls on a mobile phone. In each window, you can have a different expert, tutor, mentor, etc., appear. Or a different friend, colleague, family member. Increasingly, instructors will be tapping into experts on the fly in video walls or in Google Hangouts or whatever. (see attached paper #1…just published)

6. Extreme Learning and Life Change: I think that people will seek out life change online. OpenCourseWare and Open Educational Resources led to MOOCs. But it is more than MOOCs. It is also adventure learning, social change, global ed, online learning, shared online video, online language learning, etc., which all combine to offer new learning paths and experiences. People learn when at sea or on a boat, in a plane, on a train, in the mountains, etc. We are learning all the time. I am working on papers on life change from such informal learning environments. Here is one paper that I wrote on extreme learning for an open university conference in Manila, the Philippines last year.

A few hours later, I added the following items:

7. Virtual reality holodecks. Here, the user(s) can reenact scenes in history. Apparently, we already have the capabilities for audio and video, just not tactile yet. According to a February 2013 report, some company in Canada, in fact, is designing virtual holodecks. Apparently, Microsoft and the University of South California are also working on such technology. The author of the article, Matt Hartley, states,
"While 360-degree video might be the most obvious component in a holodeck-like structure, according to Ms. Su, technologies such as directional audio — think movie theatre surround sound on steroids — help to situate the user within an artificial world." He goes on to say, "Some of the technologies that would enable users to navigate the a potential holodeck — including touch computing, speech recognition, and motion sensing capabilities — are already being used in consumer technologies today, such as smartphones and video game systems." LeVar Burton, who was interviewed for this article, said that transporter rooms would be a "down-river goal."

8. On Demand Mentoring. Have a series of mentors or teachers available on your laptop, mobile device, or other as needed. When you encounter a learning difficulty, a teacher, mentor, tutor, etc., will appear. This already is in place for many years in the corporate world. Companies such as Triple Creek took the early lead in online mentoring, coaching, collaboration, and related social learning services.

9. Interactive Video Displays of Teachers and Peers. In effect, when you enter a school, there will be a video display or kiosk of some type wherein a young person (or adult) will be able to pick her classmates as well as her instructors from around the planet. Such technology will help personalize the learning process.

10. Science on the Sphere. Interactive globes that display planetary data such as climate change, ocean temperatures, hurricane movements, etc., around the world. According to one of my students, Michele Kelmer, "it is a project by NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Assoc). IU has the 97th one in the world." Now what happens when such devices are extended to display anything happening at any place on the planet? Oh, I guess that is what the U.S. government may be already doing. 

11. New forms of CVs and Resumes. This is not necessarily a technology tool. However, it will be vital to have a way to place your informal learning experiences and accomplishments in some format. I imagine resumes and CVs will soon divide up education and training into formal educational experiences and certificates at the top; semi-formal next (with badges and still other types of certificates), and then informal learning explorations of OpenCourseWare (OCW), open educational resources (OER), and MOOCs. My research is now looking at learner motivations and goals as well as obstacles and challenges when using such content.

12. Language translation devices: Already, there are tablets, mobile, and other that will take signage you encounter and translate it. See this video on the World Lens tool for the iPhone and Android devices. Such technology allows people to function more effectively in diverse settings.

 Those were the 12 ideas that I sent to my buddy Jim. Nothing earth-shattering here.
Ok, let's add a 13th--Flexible Display Devices. Imagine reading off of buildings, buses, and bendable screens on your watch or smartphone. Cool. There are many other learning innovations. I was just trying to give Jim a few quick items.

By the way, I do hope to go to Ed Media next year in Tampere, Finland and join up with Jim for one of his sessions. I miss him and the conference. One of the best international conferences in the field that one can attend.

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About Me

Name: Curt Bonk
Home: Bloomington, Indiana, United States
About Me: I am a former accountant and CPA and a former educational psychologist. I am now Professor of IST at Indiana University and also adjunct in the School of Informatics. I founded and later sold SurveyShare. As president of CourseShare, LLC, I run around the world training instructors to teach online and give motivational talks about emerging learning technologies. I also write and edit books related to e-learning and blended learning. See bio and vita.

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