Posted by: crudbasher | January 6, 2012

My 2012 Predictions

I have been reading a lot of 2012 predictions. Apparently if you have a blog, it’s mandatory to make some (although I didn’t last year).

(cc) Louish Pixel

I would like to stress though that I’m not trying to look specifically at education technology itself. To limit oneself to just that would miss a lot of innovations. The whole premise of this blog is about a stormfront of change sweeping towards the education community. Disruptive innovation will come from outside, not inside.

Here’s what I think will happen this year that will affect education.

 

  1. TVs get smart.The technology for putting a computer in a TV has been around for a few years but this year will be the break out time. Why? Well, TV makers are looking for some reason to have people buy new TVs. Everyone upgraded to HD, but nobody upgraded to get 3D. As I predicted, that has largely flopped. The next reason to upgrade will be to get Internet connectivity into your TV. Now, I have used one of these “smart” TVs recently and I found it to be slow, and the interface poorly thought out. It will take somebody like Apple to show everyone how it should be done. (there are rumors that Apple is working on a TV). These sets will be a no brainer to put into a classroom. In 5 years time it will be unusual to find a TV that doesn’t have Internet capability built into it.
  2. Smart phones become much more affordable.The traditional cell phone service plan originally existed to provide voice service. They also added on things like texting but data plans are rapidly becoming more important. Already many users rarely make actual phone calls but use data all the time. I think many consumers are starting to look around for data only plans. Cell phone carriers are moving slowly in this direction but they don’t want to give up their golden goose. Think about it: they charge a bunch of money for voice minutes that aren’t being used. This will change. Verizon is talking about going with a shared family data plan. This will let people add their kids onto their plan (for use in schooling). ATT already offers the iPhone 3GS for $49 dollars so price isn’t the obstacle for school kids getting one. This will accelerate the trend towards Bring Your Own Device.
  3. Economics. I think the financial crisis in Europe will blow up. Basically since the Second World War, much of the western world has been conducting an experiment to see if the state can provide the necessities (and many wants) of life. The results of that experiment are now coming in. Yes it can, until it runs out of money. (The Soviet Union proved this first because it was a more pure state run entity). This drastically affects education because most education is provided by the state. Economics will force efficiencies to be introduced into the public school model. Since I don’t think a government program can be efficient, this will cause fractures in the government school monopoly. We won’t see the system fail this year, but the seeds are clearly being sewn. Not only that, but a lot of very smart people are looking around for a new way of making a living. It only takes one person to make a Facebook for Education.
  4. Educational Outsourcing. I have mentioned before that the Internet is causing a disaggregation of societal structures that were based on the physical aggregation of resources. Since schools are based on the physical aggregation of resources they will have to change. This means more part time teachers, and teachers teaching remotely. Online learning is cheaper than classroom learning. That will cause desperate (because they are broke) school systems to adopt online learning. Once that happens, outsourcing can really begin. Providers like Khan Academy will really start to shine this year and prove they can provide quality educational materials.
  5. Social networks for schools. Schools, especially universities will really start to implement robust social networks for their students and staff. Apple with iTunes ad Facebook itself has shown how you can create a closed system and generate revenue from it. This is the year for schools to try to emulate that.

I’ll leave it at 5.

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