Serendipity35 jumps once again into the year-end pool of predictions for the twelve months ahead. But no politics, no environmental disasters here - just technology and learning.
Innovation creates disruption. It may be short-term disruption, but there is no avoiding it. If you don't like disruption, get out of the way. Most of the innovation will come from outside education, so then we will have to adapt before we adopt - which isn't the best way to do it. Innovations that come from within the system will last longer, get better buy-in and be better tolerated. I don't think the biggest disruption will come the current generation of teachers. The innovators are not here yet. I expect big things from the college class of 2025.
eBooks will make a bigger impact in 2012 - They made an impact in 2011, but not to the degree that was predicted. This will be the year that they take hold in academia the way they have taken hold in the consumer market. It may not be a call that schools or faculty make - students will just do it on their own.
Assessment will not go away as a buzz term, but we need something significant to happen this year to make it more comprehensive and continuous. You can't believe the analysis if you can't believe the data. Everyone wants "metrics" on this difficult to quantify thing we call an education. The way we do it now is not working.
The for-profit sector of education will gain even greater numbers of students and its legitimacy will also increase. Trying to put tighter regulations on them in order to preserve higher education as we knew it will fail.
Despite the rise of alternative ways to learn using technology, online learning and social networking, a good number of young people (and their parents) will still want to learn in a real classroom and pay that tuition, room and board or their local property taxes to make that happen. They will be more demanding. They will expect results and ROI, but they will be there. Their numbers will decrease, but we still have at least a decade, so make the most of it.
Administrators will still take a superficial view of how technology and online/hybrid learning makes it possible to grow despite financial problems. It does allow for that. But, if that's the only reason you do it, and you do it without some long-term planning for quality in the design, training and implementation, you will lose money in the long-term.
Students using their own laptops, netbooks, cell phones, tablets and pads will require rethinking how we deliver content. Immediately, that means our delivery system and methods, but ultimately it means how we teach
The decline in federal and state support of K-12 and higher education will continue. Rising tuition will make college once again not an option for everyone. (That may not be a bad thing.)
Facebook has to be addressed by educators. It is going to move into education in some real way. Ignoring it is as silly as telling your students that they can't use Wikipedia. Who do you think you are? Google may be a player in this arena too.
And with that comes less restrictions on Net use in classrooms (especially pre-college) despite SOPA and other acronymed efforts to control the Net.
There will be more adoptions of open educational resources. Open textbooks is a likely candidate for easy adoption. More use of OER would happen easier if the government helped make the best content available and encouraged its use. Yes, I know, there must be lobbyists for the billions of dollars spent each year on paper copies that come from companies offering a new edition with new pictures and more references to Twitter and Facebook, but if you want to move education forward in a time of economic squeezing, then...
OER will also drive global learning communities that will offer content, pedagogy, facilitators and maybe even certifications and degrees.
Students will increasingly learn outside of school buildings. That means everything from hybrid classes and programs, to real world learning, home learning and learning that does not lead to a degree.
Courses and majors that are designed primarily to get students ready only for graduate study will be the ones to disappear first. Even programs designed to prepare students for professional school or move them right into the workplace will need to trim away components which are seen as superfluous.
Though it will be difficult to get rid of tenure, schools (especially in higher ed) this year will hire fewer people on a tenure track. It may take time for the tenured faculty to fall away, but they will, and there will be no more to follow them.