Bryan Alexander's: Emerging technologies for teaching and learning: a tour of the 2010 horizon


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SLN SOLsummit 2010
February 25, 2010

Bryan Alexander, Director of Research, National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education.

Emerging technologies for teaching and learning: a tour of the 2010 horizon

How is the landscape for teaching and learning with technology changing this year? We begin with an overview of current methods for apprehending emergent technologies, including Delphi, futures markets, networks, and scenarios. Drawing on those methods we identify a series of emerging trends, from interface changes to open content to gaming. Next we delve into several high-impact fields. Social media has already transformed the general cybercultural world, and is reshaping the academy. Mobile devices have begun to revolutionize many levels of our technological interactions.

I research and develop programs on the advanced uses of information technology in liberal arts colleges. My specialties include digital writing, weblogs, copyright and intellectual property, information literacy, wireless culture and teaching, project management, information design, and interdisciplinary collaboration. I contribute to a series of weblogs, including NITLE Tech News, MANE IT leaders, and Smartmobs, when not creating digital learning objects (like Gormenghast). I’ve taught English and information technology studies at the University of Michigan and Centenary College.

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Bryan Alexander's: Emerging technologies for teaching and learning: a tour of the 2010 horizon

  1. 1. Emerging technologies for teaching and learning: touring the 2010 horizon SUNY Learning Network - February 2010
  2. 2. One problem: How does academia tend to apprehend emerging technologies?
  3. 3. How does academia tend to apprehend emerging technologies? • Panic/siege mode • Vendors • Futurism methods • Networks, online and off- • Informal curricula
  4. 4. Five responses • Take advantage of preexisting projects and services • DIY • Literacy: new media • Scan influence • Curriculum (pagedooley, Flickr)
  5. 5. One theoretical question What about technological determinism? “In information ecologies, the spotlight is not on technology, but on human activities that are served by technology.” -Nardi and O’Day, 1998, 1999
  6. 6. Alternatively: “Out of the dialectical exchange between the media-technological ‘base’ and the discursive ‘superstructure’ arise conflicts and tensions that sooner or late result in transformations at the level of media…” -Friedrich Kittler, 1999
  7. 7. How do information technologies change? Janet Murray’s two-step argument 1.Theater->film 2.Printed page->Web (Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace. Cambridge: MIT, 1997.)
  8. 8. How do information technologies change? The perception of user degradation: “[T]his discovery of yours will create forgetfulness in the learners' souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves. …”
  9. 9. “…The specific which you have discovered is an aid not to memory, but to reminiscence, and you give your disciples not truth, but only the semblance of truth…”
  10. 10. “… they will be hearers of many things and will have learned nothing; they will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing; they will be tiresome company, having the show of wisdom without the reality.” -Plato, Phaedrus (370 or so BCE) Jowett translation
  11. 11. How do information technologies change? We see information overload: “We have reason to fear that the multitude of books which grows every day in a prodigious fashion will make the following centuries fall into a state as barbarous as that of the centuries that followed the fall of the Roman Empire…”
  12. 12. “…Unless we try to prevent this danger by separating those books which we must throw out or leave in oblivion from those which one should save and within the latter between what is useful and what is not.” -Adrien Baillet, Jugemens des sçavans sur les principaux ouvrages des auteurs (Paris, 1685)
  13. 13. How do information technologies change? Change the format: the humble marginal annotation • Glossators (Franciscus Accursius, Denis Godefroi) • Then the Geneva Bible
  14. 14. New becomes old Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Rime of the Ancient Mariner - second edition, 1817 (Virginia e-text)
  15. 15. Generate new content types Another response to overload • Cyclopedia (Ephraim Chambers, 1728) • Encyclopedie (1751- 1772)
  16. 16. Re-see the past Dr. Johnson the blogger: “Of other parts of life, memory can give some account; at some hours I have been gay, and at others serious; I have sometimes mingled in conversation, and sometimes meditated in solitude; one day has been spent in consulting the ancient sages, and another in writing Adventurers.” – Adventurer #137 (February 26, 1754)
  17. 17. Seeing the future • Extrapolation • Delphi • Scenarios • Futures market • Environmental scan
  18. 18. Apprehending the futures Principles of Forecasting (2001) (
  19. 19. Extrapolation iPhone Apps Store downloads 1. April 2009 1.0 billion 2. July 2009 1.5 billion 3. Sept 2009 2.0 billion -works with data sources -can lead to more data-gathering, metrics
  20. 20. Limitations • Trend lines vary • Doesn’t account for new things • The Black Swan (Taleb, 2007)
  21. 21. Delphi • Assemble experts • Probe for opinions • Rank and distill ideas • Reiterate
  22. 22. Example: the Horizon Report • “[A] comprehensive review and analysis of research, articles, papers, blogs, and interviews • [We] discussed existing applications and brainstormed new ones. • A key criterion was the potential relevance of the topics to teaching, learning, research, and creative expression. • Iteration, ranking, reiteration, reranking”
  23. 23. Limitations • Groupthink • Information compression • The Black Swan
  24. 24. Scenarios Stories about futures • Roles and times • Event and response • Emergent practices and • Creativity patterns
  25. 25. Limitations • Culture • Resources • The Black Swan
  26. 26. Futures market Features Advantages • Propositions in time • Continuous • Shares to be traded • Distributed feedback • Affordances of play
  27. 27. Will 25 or more institutions be participating in Flickr’s Creative Commons project by March 26, 2009?
  28. 28. Limitations • Quantitative threshold • Physical proximity • Market metaphor • The Black Swan
  29. 29. Scanning • Environmental scanning • Pattern recognition
  30. 30. Crowdsourcing Different levels • Crowd computing • Social network • Iterated resource feeds
  31. 31. Emergent future: one revolution Mobile devices Or ubicomp: • Phone, WiFi, Bluetooth • Mark Weiser, 1988ff • Portability • Ex: "The Computer for the Twenty-First Century" (1991) • “The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it.”
  32. 32. What it means, top-level “A device ecology” -Petra Wentzel, "Wireless All the Way: Users’ Feedback on Education through Online PDAs" (presentation at the EDUCAUSE annual conferenceAnaheim, Calif., November 7, 2003).
  33. 33. What do we already use and know? • Laptops • Mp3 players • Clickers • Netbooks • Machines with IP addresses • Tablet PCs • Cameras (through • Palm Pilot Flip) • Pocket PC
  34. 34. Ecosystem model • Types of wireless • Multiple, connected devices • Web services Example: iPhone Utah State University Example: Kindle 9/anatomy-on-the-iphone/
  35. 35. Evolving practices and issues • Digital layer • Social over spaces connectors • Expanded media • Multitasking consumption  Small groups and capture  Attention index • Uneven uptake  On/off
  36. 36. Evolving pedagogies In class Out of class: • Quick polling • Content delivery and associated • Information and activities media capture • Live search • Backchannel • Backchannel
  37. 37. Live search and content access “Students who have superb search skills have introduced useful material or questions into discussion. In a few cases, I’ve had students find pertinent archival video in response to the drift of the conversation which I’ve then put up on the classroom projector.” -professor Tim Burke, Swarthmore College 6/the-laptop-in-the-classroom/
  38. 38. Backchannel Increased amount and variety of discussion (for better and for worse) • Chat, Twitter (dotguy_az)
  39. 39. Smartphones Uses out of class: 1. Content delivery 2. Social interaction 3. Content capture
  40. 40. “The mobile phone is the primary connection tool for most people in the world. In 2020, while "one laptop per child" and other initiatives to bring networked digital communications to everyone are successful on many levels, the mobile phone—now with significant computing power—is the primary Internet connection and the only one for a majority of the people across the world, providing information in a portable, well- connected form at a relatively low price.”
  41. 41. Can we apply clicker pedagogies to smartphones? In class: assessment vs constructivist approaches Pedagogical themes • Anonymity yet universality • Aimed at large size class, often
  42. 42. Can we apply clicker pedagogies to smartphones? Clickers for questions • Binary or multiple • Student-generated Using results • Hide, reveal, or share? • Snap poll • Discussion generating
  43. 43. Apps for .edu • iPhone in the lead • Campus life apps • Development kits and forks
  44. 44. Smartpens • Text scanning (OCR) • Audio recording • Web service Michael Wesch
  45. 45. Uses in class • Discussion recordings • Annotation • Grading (UQ) • “Pencasting” Professor Shawn Evans,. Washington and Lee University October 2009;
  46. 46. ebook readers
  47. 47. Advantages • Cost savings per book • Weight savings • Subscription updates • Dictionary • Public domain by cable
  48. 48. Ebook reader constraints • Limitations of device interfaces • Device cost • Ebook limitations: DRM, availability, quality • Annotation issues
  49. 49. Netbooks continue
  50. 50. Tablets 2.0
  51. 51. Likely uses From Tablet 1.0: • drawing (art) • drawing (math) • non-Latin characters foreign languages Since 1.0: • Multimedia consumption • Appeal of touchscreen
  52. 52. Emerging stuff for 2010 AR moves into a boom?
  53. 53. Rotterdam Market Hall; Mondrian; Abbey Road; 5-cases-to-show-the-power- of-the-platform/
  54. 54. Emerging stuff for "For all its faults, the keyboard will remain the 2010 primary text input device. Nothing is easily going to replace it," he said. "But the idea of a keyboard with a mouse as a control interface is Beyond the mouse breaking down." move_over_mouse_gartner/
  55. 55. Web 2.0 in 2009 -growing in scale -growing practices (after Schmelling, hmelling.html)
  56. 56. Universal McCann (March 2008) • 184 million worldwide have started a blog | 26.4 US • 346 million read blogs | 60.3 US • 77% of active Internet users read blogs comScore MediaMetrix (August 2008) • Blogs: 77.7 million unique visitors in the US… • Total internet audience 188.9 million eMarketer (May 2008) o 94.1 million US blog readers in 2007 (50% of Internet users) o 22.6 million US bloggers in 2007 (12%) David Sifry, September 2008; Juan Cole on the Colbert Report (
  57. 57. David Sifry, September 2008; ScienceBlogs ( ng/state-of-the- blogosphere/)
  58. 58. Social images are large • 3 billion+ photos in Flickr • 4,230,432 - 32,170,657 shareable (first stat, Flickr blog, November 2008; Second stat, Flickr CC search page, March 2009, )
  59. 59. • LinkedIn: 30 million users claimed
  60. 60. (eMarketer, March 2009; Scott Sigler, 2008)
  61. 61. “There are currently 2,807,974 articles in the English Wikipedia.” ( , March 2009)
  62. 62. YouTube nearly youbiquitous Senate and House channels, January 2009
  63. 63. Facebook growth 400 million users (February 2010, )
  64. 64. Realtime search • Emerging market • Not always useful • No clear leader
  65. 65. Practices mainstreams: data mashups, Web 2.0 as platform • Programming staff • Open APIs • Perceived recognition • Access to data • “Mashup” (AccessCeramics project, Lewis and Clark College)
  66. 66. Practice: tag clouds Folksonomies mainstreamed 24 hours of Twitter’s #SLNSOLSUMMIT
  67. 67. Classic forms developing Diigo
  68. 68. Practices: years of edublogging Selected, documented • Creative writing practices: • Distributed seminars • Publish syllabus • Campus organizations • Publish student papers • Prospective students • Discussion • Library collections • Journaling • Alumni relations • Project blogs • Project management • Public scholarship • Liveblogging
  69. 69. External hosting reexamined
  70. 70. The specter of Wikipedia Wikipedia remains • growth and pedagogies
  71. 71. Web 2.0 content distribution models: Rutgers; University of Mary Washington; http://www.journalofameri
  72. 72. Beyond the classroom • accessCeramics, Lewis and Clark College • 1000 images, February 2009 (http://accesscerami 9/02/today-is-big- milestone-as-weve- reached.html)
  73. 73. PLE vs LMS • Self-created • Small pieces, loosely • Consumer products joined • Personalization • Variable levels of presence Beyond the students: Professional development Reputation growth
  74. 74. New forms River of news wars: Twitter vs Facebook vs Buzz
  75. 75. New… things • Google Wave, SAP
  76. 76. Your turn, constructivistically What else are you More: seeing? • Understand • Organizing stuff in affordances constructive and useful way • What are the ways these tools improve teaching and learning? • Keeping up with next.gen
  77. 77. Your turn, constructivistically What else are you How are you finding seeing? this stuff out? • Organizing stuff in constructive and useful way • What are the ways these tools improve teaching and learning? • Keeping up with next.gen
  78. 78. Citations • iCub, children-toddle-out-of-the-uncanny-valley.html • Principles of Forecasting chart, • accessCeramics, Lewis and Clark, • Nassim Taleb, • Black Swans: Field Museum Library, ; gnuckx cc0, • Great California Shakeout,
  79. 79. More citations • NITLE Prediction Markets, • Cat and kitten, • Bing’s Twitter search, • Episilon Aurigae crowdsourcing, • Horizon Report 2010 wiki, • “Apprehending the Future: Emerging Technologies, from Science Fiction to Campus Reality”, EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 44, no. 3 (May/June 2009): 12–29. MagazineVolume44/ApprehendingtheFutureEmergingT/171774. More sources there.
  80. 80. The ultimate links NITLE Our blog NITLE prediction markets game Bryan on Twitter
  81. 81. The ultimate links Techne Bryan on Twitter /BryanAlexander
  82. 82. The ultimate links NITLE prediction markets game NITLE