This Week’s Trends in Education and Technology (February 15-21)
[The Week in Education and Technology is a weekly summary of news, events, and ideas related to education.]
Change is constant and everything inconvenient will change. How we prepare for that change will hinge in whether we are asking the right questions.
Chris Luebkeman, Global Director of Arup Foresight at last year’s Global Talent Summit.
Things That Caught My Attention
As I wrote in today’s Daily Take, one real education issue we can’t afford to ignore is the challenges being faced by the rural school districts. These districts often struggle to lure and keep teachers and many are dealing with a lack of network or other technology deficiencies.
On the other hand, so many opportunities. For example, a new report addresses the number of high school students who could benefit financially from starting college early.
Should those students head off to college without having a senior year? Yes and no, a new report from Education Reform Now and the Alliance for Excellent Education argues. The report makes the case that there should be better pathways for these nearly 850,000 students — one-third of whom come from low-income households — to begin college coursework but still remain in high school, if they choose, and possibly save time and tuition money.
And finally, the Pew Research group has released its latest report on the behaviors of U.S. teens. Here are some key takeaways.
- Overall, teens (ages 15 to 17) spend an hour a day, on average, doing homework during the school year.
- Teens enjoy more than five and a half hours of leisure a day (5 hours, 44 minutes). Most of this is spent viewing various screens: 3 hours and 4 minutes on average. This figure, which can include time spent gaming, surfing the web, watching videos and watching TV, has held steady over the past decade.
- Teens are less likely to work today than in the past.
Papa John’s is the latest big company announcing free college tuition to its students via a university partnership. In this case, the pizza company is working with Purdue Global.
This is just one of many new and emerging business models we see aimed at funneling more people into postsecondary education programs. Some institutions are offering Income-Share Agreements (ISAs), while others are ramping up alternative-credential options.
Small liberal arts universities, in particular, are becoming increasingly aggressive with experimentation as they look for ways to thrive in a challenging higher education market. According to the President of Sterling College in Vermont, however, there are real, long-term issues that these institutions must address to be successful. “There are serious structural challenges and issues that small rural liberal arts colleges are going to face, and just contraction is not going to be enough.”
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that, with the rapid evolution of technology and business models, schools are beginning to look at how they can prepare students for the professional futures they face. Part of this effort is focused on experiential learning as a way to inculcate the literacies and competencies future workers will need. One solution? Focus less of information processing and more on real-world problem -solving (which doesn’t feature neat and tidy answers).
After 25 years of focusing on basic literacies, there is a broad movement to expand the definition of success to career and citizenship readiness. In the last few years, a number of outcome frameworks have been introduced that value success skills.
I think this shift toward experiential learning will continue to push folks toward blended learning strategies. With that in mind, here is a good post on lessons learned by one district’s move to blended learning.
Workforce Readiness and Education
At a very high level, the key takeaways from the 2019 Global Talent Summit look right. Of particular note for me are the conclusions that (1) Education has never been more expensive or more worthless (2) The need for reskilling may perpetuate inequality, (3) New technologies impact different economies in different ways, (4) To solve the skills gap, we need to understand what skills are, (5) Soft skills development is vital and should start from an early age, (6) Talent is universal; opportunity is not, (7) Learning happens beyond and outside of school, and (8) Employers must foster a growth-focused environment to retain talent.
Also worth looking at are Workfront’s 2019 U.S. State of Work report, and Getting Smart’s post on Preparing All Learners for an Uncertain Future of Work.
Interesting Media and Technology Developments
In media news, it seems that Pearson has finally found a way to shed its K-12 courseware business so that it can focus more narrowly on adaptive learning software, assessment, and online course services It’s hard to tell if this will really make the education giant more nimble or how it will affect the K-12 marketplace in general.
On the technology front, one big theme for the past week was “convergence.” We learned that
Apple is reportedly planning to combine iPhone,IPad, and Mac apps by 2021. We also saw news about wearable devices that are integrating functionality from other mobile products (see here and here). And, while we don’t know where this trend is headed, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Samsung’s announcement of its new, foldable smartphone/tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Fold.
Of course, there were plenty of articles and posts on AI this week. Here are a few that will elicit further thought and discussion.
- Website uses AI to create infinite fake faces
- An AI that writes convincing prose risks mass-producing fake news – MIT Technology Review
- New AI Tech Can Mimic Any Voice – Scientific American
- OpenAI refuses to release software because it’s too dangerous
- This AirBNB Does No Exist
Research Articles and Posts for the Week
TEL Library Posts You May Have Missed
The Best Bread in the World: A Parable (Parables on Learning)
Preparing Tomorrow’s Workers for an AI Future (Daily Takes)
Education Futures Episode 4: Redefining Instruction for the 21st Century (Education Futures Podcast)