Monday 12 November 2012

The future of #HigherEd and #apps & #web two free report by Pew

The American Pew research center publishes a wide variety of human research topics. On many occasions these reports are linked to educational technology or trends, which is great when you are interested in training/education with innovative technologies.
Two reports that caught my attention were
The future of higher education : "tech experts believe market factors will push universities to expand online courses, create hybrid learning spaces, move toward ‘lifelong learning’ models and different credentialing structures by the year 2020. But they disagree about how these whirlwind forces will influence education, for the better or the worse".
While everyone knows by now that the future of higher ed is in a fast evolving state, and giving rise to a lot of new initiatives, the results of this report are of interest. Mentioning MOOCs, more particular the xMOOC kind: "as of mid-2012, Coursera’s massively open online courses (MOOCs) were provided free to its students—enabling unfettered, global access for millions to engage with some of the country’s most prestigious universities. Other start-ups such as MITx, 2tor, and Udacity are attracting similarly staggering, six-figure student enrollments". 
And yes, I feel that as a university we all need to build a masterplan which incorporates strategic higher ed goals and practices to refocus and gather an educational, qualitative space within this global higher education global evolution.
This report is of interest as it shows that all of us have no clue, and at the same time we are all pointing towards different global ed future movements. Ranging from full online learning as the key factor to high prized face-to-face, old school appreciated learning. Overall the authors of the report conclude that experts expect more-efficient collaborative environments and new grading schemes; they worry about massive online courses and the shift away from on-campus life. Overall a nice read and food for thought.

Another report that is of interest for a paper I am writing is the one on the future of Apps and the Web
My interest in apps versus web resides in the fact that many apps or applications can be integrated into curricula or training as learning tools. The same can of course be said about the mobile web. But this dichotomy (which in my mind will become obsolete once technology allows us all to get full access no matter where or when via personal devices; which by that time will not even be called mobile, just learning devices at most). But for now as a teacher and trainer we still need to choose between mobile apps or mobile web to add specific learning options.
The report is also a nice read and I just take out the following excerpt as it links apps to controlled content versus content openness... which I feel is relevant for all learning future (no critical thinking without openness!): "Many responders challenged the structure of the apps-Web question. Among their arguments: The world ahead is not either apps or the Web. A more hybrid world is likely. Moreover, the tussle between controlled content and user experiences on the one hand and openness on the other hand will play out in other ways. As one anonymous writer put it: “Apps will continue, as will app stores, but they’ll continue to be mass-market outlets for lightweight products on the one hand, and very narrow vertical outlets for very specific platform-dependent professional tools on the other, while the entire middle-ground will continue to belong to the Web.”

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