Predictions of what will happen next year should be viewed with great suspicion.
Those dealing with what will happen in the next five years are pretty much worthless.
However, these four big predictions about the web’s near term future I think fall into the no-duh category.
1. The Web Will Be Accessible Anywhere
It’s pretty clear that many of us want to be connected, at high speeds, from anywhere we go. Those numbers will only grow and the infrastructure to do it is rapidly expanding as well.
2. Web Access Will Not Focus Around the Computer
Certainly not around those devices that we currently identify as “computers”.
3. The Web Will Be Media-Centric
Is that a prediction or a statement of current reality?
4. Social Media Will Be Its Largest Component
Again, a trend that is well underway.
I wonder when (or if) these trends (you can’t really call any of them “predictions”) will significantly affect schools and the American education process.
After all, none of them fits particularly well with the traditional teacher-directed educational structure we continue to cling to.
When it comes to using the web, schools work hard to control the times, locations, and circumstances under which access will be allowed, at least for the vast majority of the people involved in the learning process (ie. students).
In most schools and districts, we insist that the equipment used by teachers and students look like a “normal” computer, often locking them up in formal “lab” settings or slightly less formal “mobile labs”.
And, of course, the media used in most classrooms is still overwhelmingly text-based (even when using screens) and we actively discourage anything that looks like social media.
So, is the American education system immune (or just oblivious) to these major shifts in the way the world outside communicates and uses information?
How long can we prevent the future (or the present for that matter) from leaking into our classrooms?