How many general technology trends will have an impact on education? Tech strategist Amber MacArthur writes that 2016 tech headlines were often negative (fake news online, exploding Samsung phones, US election hacking allegations) but her own list of 4 trends for 2017 ignore what she calls "micro busts in the life cycle of technology" in favor of larger trends. In Amber's list, I find a surge in companies supporting social entrepreneurship as the least likely, but the other three all have educational impact possibilities.
She looks at that emerging generation of digital-first thinkers that we are calling Generation Z. She also discusses two trends that have been on the horizon for a few years without having a real educational impact: artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things.
Generation Z is still being defined but they are described as as being wary of brands (and your college is a brand) and more committed to social change than millennials, and they are more adept at using tech (filtering content, using devices) being the first truly digital generation. They are the youth born from around 1996, so they include a wide range of students ranging from 5-21 today.
Can we extrapolate their "wants" as workers to the classroom? They want a physical workspace, but a the ability to work remotely and have flexible hours. That sounds like an online student to me. And yet some believe this suggests Gen Z will place more importance on face-to-face communication than many millennials.
AI will certainly impact industry, but probably not the classroom - unless you consider how those changes in the job market will impact what we teach.
This CNBC article by Jeff Selingo sees the connection. "The question that politicians should be discussing now is what kind of education is needed to stay ahead of automation, or more likely, to complement technology. Previous changes in the nature of work all required massive policy shifts in education. Universal high school started at the beginning of the 19th Century in the move from the farm to the factory. The move from the factory to the office in the 1960s and 1970s required education after high school and began the universal college movement."
The Internet of Things might give us greater efficiencies in homes and many industries, but will IoT enter education? IoT works on data and once again that means that we need to be teaching about these trends and the technologies that support them. There is a growing demand for big data analysts and people who can secure that data.
Eric Schmidt, Google chairman, spoke on a panel at the World Economic Forum: "The Internet will disappear. There will be so many IP addresses, so many devices, sensors, things that you are wearing, things that you are interacting with, that you won't even sense it. It will be part of your presence all the time. Imagine you walk into a room, and the room is dynamic. And with your permission and all of that, you are interacting with the things going on in the room."
Future of Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Jobs (Pew Internet)
The Internet of Things Heat Map (Forrester)
Amber MacArthur sampler