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In January one hundred educators from around the globe were invited to Austin, Texas to mark the tenth anniversary of the New Media Consortium Horizon Project, and reflect on no less than the future of education. A Communique from the event listed 10 Major Trends that are having an impact on education globally. They were:
Read also: Technology Trends in Education
The direction in which education orients a person, to paraphrase Plato, will determine their future in life. While educational aims should be varied, an underlying goal should be in focusing student awareness in a metacognitive direction. If schools hope to prepare students for our hyper-connected world, it reasons that training students to be proficient with digital tools is only part of the equation.
Students must also be mindful of how digital tools and perpetual web connectivity are shaping their brains, perceptions and habits. To that end, several promising studies have demonstrated the power of mindfulness mediation in schools to improve executive functioning, reducing stress, anxiety and aggression.
The conception of learning as memorization of facts and procedures is living strong in our educational thinking and system. The two main supporters of this simplified conception of learning are the industry producing mass products for consumer society and the military organizations training millions of individuals around the world. In both cases the aim is to train people to behave as reliable pieces of the system.
Knowledge is situated in the time and place where it is generated, modified, and exploited. In this way knowledge is local. We learn in time and place where we are collaborating with other people. Just like knowledge is local, so should be learning. If we are interested in to have citizens with higher mental abilities, meaning making skills, critical thinking skills and creativity we should let people to focus primary to and build on their local environment.
Unfortunately in education we too often pay most of our attention to such issues as curriculum, learning content, standards, management of learning and assessment. In education the focus should be on building communities, offering people spaces and facilitating their advances in the community’s area of interests.
Below is a list of 50 Special Education Twitter Feeds worth following. The list includes Parents, Educators, Advocates, Attorneys, Therapists and National Organizations. This list should keep you up to date on everything happening in and around the world of Special Education.
EventEye is the first in a new generation of tools to enable event organizers to capture the backchannel and to integrate it with the main themes and presentations of the conference, to create a fluid dialogue that demonstrates an understanding of the audience and makes the links between the disparate comments.
By using EventEye, organisers will understand the mood and interests of their audience and will be able to react in real time to audience feedback and need. Event Eye has the potential to build the social capital of a conference, capture the collective intelligence and to turn an event into a movement.
If you like typing on a touchscreen, you’re going to love this thin Minebea Cool Leaf Keyboard.
Strangely enough, even though the keyboard itself is one large touchscreen, it doesn’t bring any of the versatility such a format (like the Razer laptop’s keyboard we saw at CES) could offer. For instance, imagine substituting a video window for the number pad, or designing your own keyboard layouts for specific tasks, or even displaying tool palettes for Photoshop. Let’s hope Minebea explores that kind of versatility with this keyboard that already possesses multitouch capability.
If you’re touch typist, the inability to feel the keys might be a dealbreaker, but if you’re a germ freak, this flat and shiny keyboard will be a whole lot easier to keep clean. It must be a fingerprint magnet, as evidenced by its shiny nature and included cleaning cloth.
Blurb, a veteran self-publishing startup for do-it-yourself book makers, is launching Blurb Mobile for iPhone and iPod Touch Thursday to let users tell stories in a whole new way.
The application invites users to create mobile shareable stories using photos, videos and audio sourced from their devices. The idea is to turn mobile users into storytellers with a fast and elegant way to shape their rich media content into engaging stories.
Now consider e-readers like Amazon’s Kindle, a technology that is moving astonishingly quickly in the developed world. (In January 2011, e-book sales surpassed those of hardback books in the US.) These devices were designed for readers in wealthy countries, but their impact on the developing world may well be even more profound due to the relative lack of access to books, and the ever-increasing popularity of mobile phones: it’s getting hard to find a part of the world where kids don’t have access to cell phones, and with that, some kind of power supply to keep them recharged… and of course, e-readers use the cell phone network to download new books.
Most importantly, e-readers offer a blend between something familiar and something new. What is familiar: teachers already know how to incorporate books into their classrooms, and students already know how to use devices with keyboard and screens thanks to the growth of cellphones. But what is new is the concept of nearly infinite choice: now students can read not only the books that are required in their classrooms, but also have access to any book that piques their curiosity. Watching a child finish a Curious George book and then ask: “Can I have another?” is magical.
Tablets offer a number of advantages for education in comparison to laptops or netbooks. First, their lighter weight and orientational flexibility makes them far superior for digital reading or accessing of content. Second, their instant-on capability and fast switching among applications allows learning activities to proceed with less delay. Third, their touchscreen interface allows a high degree of user interactivity. Fourth, they are much more mobile than laptops, as students can carry them inside or outside a room without having to close and reopen the screen and can also use them for mobile data collection or notetaking. Fifth, since it is inexpensive to develop apps for mobile platforms, there is a rapidly growing amount of free or low-cost apps for tablets, many of which are suitable for education. And finally, tablets’ long battery life makes them more suitable for a school day.
With the rise of the iPad, Kindle, and similar eReaders and touchscreen devices, tablet-shaped form factor computing power has become much more portable and yet sizable. This holds great promise for educators on par with the introduction of slates, which swept across classrooms at the turn of the century before last. Back then, the personal transcription device of chalk and stone slate tablets was seen as revolutionary.