Hotseat 3 - "Hot topics"
Explore the hot topics and trends in ICT
Thinking about ICT trends and hot topics
Part of my job at CORE Education is leading the thinking we do in our organisation which results in the publication of our annual 'ten trends'. These trends are intended to provide insights into some of the ICT-related innovation and issues we need to be aware of and engaging with as educators to understand the ways in which these may be impacting our practice, and the lives of ours students. The video below provides a brief introduction to these trends (and lets you see me rather than just read what I'm writing)...
What are the trends?
These trends are an attempt to monitor and map developments in our education environment that are being driven predominantly by innovation in the technology space. They are not predictions about the future, rather, they are an attempt to outline a trajectory of development, providing us with the opportunity to consider the potential impact(s) on our work as educators.
Why should we be interested in the trends?
Some people are just naturally inquisitive about new ideas and things, others are just happy to stick with what they know and can find change annoying. As educators we have a responsibility to be informed about what is happening in our professional environment, and to ensure that we are are adequately prepared for the changes that we may be faced with as these trends impact what we do.
A second reason is that technological change is a fact of life in our world, and technological change isn't additive - it is ecological. That is, a new technology doesn't just change something, it changes everything - think of the wheel, fire, internal combustion engine etc. This is true in our education system (and the world that we operate that system within). The internet, for example, hasn't just provided a different way for us to access information, it has changed the entire way we can think about the time, place, and pace of teaching and learning. In our previous discussions about the use of a VLE we touched on this. A VLE doesn't simply provide an alternative to a text book for sharing resources with students - it creates a whole new environment within which the acts of teaching and learning can occur, impacting on the time and place of learning, and on the roles of teacher and learner within that system.
How can engaging with these trends help us?
There are a number of reasons I believe that engaging with understanding these trends can help us as educators. Here are some (in no particular order) - you may have more you can think of...
- Our students are growing up immersed in this technologically rich environment. It doesn't automatically mean they understand or can operate within it effectively. They need our guidance and support - and if we are ignorant or ill-prepared, we do them a disservice by effectively creating a 'digital divide' between their experience in school and their experience outside of school.
- We are constantly being bombarded by change. Engaging with these trends can help us move from being reactive (causing stress and negative feelings) to being proactive (feeling empowered) in our response to this change.
- Engaging with the trends can help us be prepared for potential conflicts and issues that may arise when these technologies do emerge (e.g. focusing on cyber citizenship programmes in our curriculum).
- More importantly, early engagement can help us find ways of accommodating or even adapting these new technologies for the benefit of our students and the wider education community (e.g. adapting data analysis tools to aid our internal assessment and record keeping systems).
Here are a couple of key resources for you to review as part of this hotseat:
CORE's Ten Trends - Each year, CORE Education’s experienced staff of researchers, education trainers, and technology experts pool together their expertise, and publish CORE’s prognosis on what are the coming ten major ICT-related trends that will make an impact upon education in the coming year.
Horizon Report - published annually as the centerpiece of the NMC Emerging Technologies Initiative, The Horizon report charts the landscape of emerging technologies for teaching, learning. I am on the consultative board for this report, and find it an exciting and challenging group to participate with. You can find links to all of the reports that have been published on the left hand menu of the page.
Let's discuss this
For our hotseat discussion this time I want to focus our thinking purely around what you see as the key issues and trends affecting your teaching and learning. In order to do this I encourage you to look at the resources I've shared, and consider the reasons I've provided for engaging with these. In our discussion over the next couple of weeks let's use the opportunity to ask questions and share ideas about some of these trends and where we see them taking us in the future.
To kick things off for this discussion, I invite you to list your 'top three' trends - that is, the three things from these lists (or something else not included here) that you think are the priority at the moment, the things having the biggest (or potentially biggest) impact on the lives of our students as learners and us as educators.
Some further 'big questions' to get us started might be...
- Are there any trends that are missing from these lists that you think ought to be included?
- Are there trends here that you have questions to ask about, things you're not clear about?
- Are there examples of these trends that you can point to - places where schools are already engaging with these trends in positive ways?