Looking ahead

Last week I attended the ECOO (educational Computing Organization of Ontario) conference, titled “Learning in the Now Century”. It was a wonderful event – I have lots of new tools I am eager to try out, and lots and LOTS of information I am still trying to parse.

One of the themes that carried through the keynotes, and echoed by many of the presentations, is the level of technology and the pace of change. During the panel discussion, Jaime Casap of Google pointed out that “the worst technology today’s students will ever know is the iPad 1. It’s their Commodore 64″. And look how far we have advanced in the last two years.

We are only just into the second decade of the 21st century. Look how far we have come in a decade. Now can anyone predict, with any kind of certainty, what we will have available to us in the next decade? Because that’s what today’s kindergarteners will be using in high school, and today’s high schoolers will be using in the workforce.

One of the points John Seely Brown made during his talk was that context is becoming at least as important as content, and probably more so. I think I need to really wrap my brain around that. In my subject area there is a lot of content – that is, there is a lot of factual information that must be leveraged in order to answer questions and solve problems. The question for me, I think, is how much, and what, of that information is actually necessary to know, and how much need only be findable? And how much of the takeaway from a course should be content, and how much context? And how can we best achieve the goal of preparing our students for a world we can’t predict?

Of course, I don’t have any answers to these questions. I just think they need to be repeated out loud.

You can watch Nora Young’s keynote address here: http://ecoo.org/blog/2012/10/26/ecoo12-nora-young-keynote/

and John Seely Brown’s here: http://ecoo.org/blog/2012/10/26/ecoo12-john-seely-brown-keynote/


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