This Week’s Trends in Education and Technology (February 22-28)
[The Week in Education and Technology is a weekly summary of news, events, and ideas related to education.]
The future is all around us, waiting in moments of transition, to be born in moments of revelation. No one knows the shape of that future, or where it will take us. We know only that it is always born in pain. (from the TV series Babylon 5)
Things That Caught My Attention
As we ramp up our efforts at TEL to provide high-quality, affordable dual-enrollment solutions to public rural high schools in Oklahoma, I’m aware of the challenges faced by many of the districts we hope to serve. One of those challenges is the isolation that many rural school teachers experience.
Teachers are often all on their own, too, as the only ones in their grades or subjects in a particular school. Overwhelmed by planning and teaching multiple course sections, they have no access to the expertise of teachers in the same boat. As one rural teacher told me, “It’s hard to collaborate with yourself!”
One of the ways to address this challenge is by creating networks of teachers and students working on similar projects or problems. Building such a collaborative network is one of the of our new experiential learning research that I discussed on my podcast this week.
Improved and consistent dual-enrollment opportunities, Advanced Placement (AP) course offerings in high school or by allowing these students to skipping the senior year altogether are among the easier pathways to college that should be available for the nearly one in four juniors who has already met all four ACT college benchmarks, according to a new report from Education Reform Now and the Alliance for Excellent Education.
Michael Feldstein may be right about a lull in the edtech hype that has been so pervasive in higher education.
Mostly, people seem to be approaching all of these things—learning analytics, adaptive learning, OER, inclusive access, etc.—with a little more sobriety. These developments are all getting attention, but not a lot of hype (though not always for lack of trying). The general attitude among educators and institutions seems to be more like, “Huh. So that’s a thing now. Good to know. What can I do with it?”
Of course, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty going on in the higher education space. For example, we have the all-too-familiar reporting on college closures, cutbacks, and queen sacrifices. These include the College of New Rochelle, Azuza Pacific, Carrol College, DePauw University, and National American University. For a full roundup, head over to Bryan Alexander’s post on college closures and queen sacrifices.
The reshaping of the higher education landscape is also creating new business models. One that we’ve seen emerge is the mega-university. In his post, Bryan Alexander points to several potential mega-institutions on the horizon.
Missing from this conversation is the presence of potential megauniversities in state systems. The Houston Community College ecosystem – I think the largest community college system in America – includes twenty-three campuses and 69,000 students. Twenty-four Penn State campuses serve 97-99,000 students. The University of North Carolina system teaches almost 229,000 students across 17 campuses. Think of the number of students enrolled in all sixty-four SUNY units: more than 600,000 students, or more than half a million! Could any of these become something like a mega-university?
Workforce Readiness and Education
There’s been a decent amount of noise lately about shifts in education and training for the 21st-century workforce. This includes posts on education and training in the new “gig’ economy, and a move by employers to integrate and bundle education services for their employees (see here and here).
Also worth noting is the new report from Edicate+Innovate, Shift Happens 2: Finding Strong Footing: The Future of Assessment in the Learning-to-Employment Landscape.
Interesting Media and Technology Developments
On the technology front, the week was dominated by foldable phones. Who knew we needed one, much less a whole handful of these expensive gadgets? For the record, we say actual foldable phones and prototypes this week form Samsung, TCL, Oppo, and Huawei.
And, for the record, the rise in popularity of wearable devices is being fueled primarily by Apple.The company accounted for one-half of smartwatch shipments in Q4 2018.