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Engaging the Next 10%
Twenty Predictions 
- from year 2000

Excerpt from:  "A New Vision Worth Working Toward:  Connected Education and Collaborative Change"

 What follows are twenty predictions about teaching, learning, and technology -- based on observations.  Most of these predictions are about how things will continue to change.  Of course, major new discoveries or social upheavals are impossible to predict, and even the consequences of currently significant new technologies may bring surprises in the next few years.  Who knows what shape the Internet will have in 2005?  Who knows what the next “big thing” after the Web might be? 

    1. The Safest Prediction
    In the next decade at least one major new trend in the educational use of information technology will NOT have been predicted by anyone highly respected in fields closely related to education or technology.  Technology can change quickly and unpredictably, even if human nature cannot.

      2.  Accelerating Accumulation of Knowledge;  Wisdom, Selectivity, and Guidance
      The accumulation of information and knowledge will continue to accelerate.  Respect and reward for conveyed wisdom, knowledgeable selectivity, and thoughtful guidance will grow. People will pay a premium for services that pre-sift information;  i.e., for the privilege of NOT receiving so much information or communication.  Learners with good information tools at home or in school will become less dependent on teachers for access to information;  but more dependent on them for perspective, interpretation, analysis, motivation, and direction.

        3. No “Moore’s Law” for Learning
        No “Moore’s Law” for learning will emerge.  No new application of technology, no new educational approach will double the speed of human learning.  More combinations of technology and pedagogy will be developed and both the speed and effectiveness of education in many fields will increase significantly, but not dramatically.

          4. Variety of Educational Needs, Abilities, Goals, Programs, and Institutions
          Teachers, learners, and other human beings will continue to have a remarkable range of educational needs, abilities, and goals.  The variety of educational programs and institutions in the United States will increase, even as consolidation continues in closely related industries (e.g., publishing, communications media). 

            5. New Technology Applications Enhance Traditional Courses
            New applications of technology, that appear to offer the potential for improving teaching and learning, will continue to arrive at an accelerating pace;  but the dominant model for using technology in higher education will continue to be the enhancement of traditional classroom-based courses.  More new buildings will be opened on higher education campuses than will be closed.

              6. “Distance Education” Becomes More Creditable
              Fully asynchronous “distance education” courses, especially those that require no special meeting space, will become more credible and attractive -- and will be used for many kinds of instruction.  Many people will welcome supplementary educational ATMs [Automatic Teaching Machines?] into their homes and offices.  Unlike the role of ATMs in banking, these educational ATMs will not be viewed as the preferred alternatives for most kinds of traditional education.

                7.  Distance Education and Online Education Mix with Face-to-Face
                Mixtures of online and face-to-face education will become more common than programs that offer either one alone.  The most widely used patterns will be:
                - Courses in which students meet face-to-face with each other and the teacher(s) some of the time and in which they are also assigned combinations of group work and independent work including a variety of media and tasks;  e.g., electronic mail, the Web, new technology applications, books, writing papers, science labs, etc.
                - Programs or sequences of courses, in which some of the courses include regularly scheduled face-to-face group meetings of students with faculty, and some of the courses do not.  The latter may be completely “distant” and asynchronous, or may include some live communications at a distance.

                  8.  No Proof, But Widespread Adoption of Email, Web, and Instructional Combinations
                  No conclusive proof of the general educational superiority of any technology application will emerge.  Evaluation and assessment activities will be used more frequently to improve the results of continuing investments of time, money, and other resources in educational uses of technology.  However, some combinations of technology application, teaching/learning approach, and subject matter content will be widely adopted because they are so easily implemented, reasonably priced, and OBVIOUSLY effective in achieving important educational goals.  Debate about these combinations, if it arises at all, will be brief and inconsequential.  For example, the vast majority of faculty members will decide to use electronic mail and the World Wide Web in their scholarly work – including teaching – without the benefit of convincing evaluative studies. 

                    9.  Increase Technology Investments;  Forums for Exploration, Planning, Advice
                    Presidents, boards, and other academic leaders will continue to increase institutional resource allocations for academic uses of information technology – and to be uncomfortable about doing so.  Consequently, more colleges and universities will form internal groups representing diverse constituencies (faculty, academic support professionals, administrators, students, …) and provide them with a forum to:
                    - Explore and develop ways of improving teaching and learning – with technology.
                    - Plan for the continuing integration of new technology applications into all scholarly work and for the institutionalization of change.
                    - Offer academic leaders the best advice and help them shape related policies and decisions.
                    [These groups are like TLTRs -- Teaching, Learning, and Technology Roundtables.]

                    10.  Institutionalize Change, Accept Risk, Make Space/Time Flexible 
                    More colleges and universities will recognize the need to plan for and institutionalize a process for change, and to accept the increased risk of failure along with the exciting prospects of new success.  This attitude may be instigated by, but not limited to, the increasing importance and more widespread use of information technology in teaching, learning, and research.  To institutionalize change, colleges and universities will:
                    - Develop new administrative units to support changes in teaching and learning.
                    - Provide incentives and reduce obstacles for faculty members to take risks in trying to find, develop, and use combinations of technology, pedagogy, and content.
                    - Make it easier for faculty, students, and academic support professionals to reconfigure their schedules and the spaces in which they work together.  Do so by making flexibility a high priority when retrofitting classrooms, renovating old buildings or designing new ones, and modifying the system for scheduling course activities.

                    11.  Widening Expectation-Resource Gap
                    At most educational institutions, the gap between expectations and resources will continue to widen (with respect to the improvement of teaching and learning with technology).  The need for academic support services will continue to grow faster than the supply.  The competition from industry to hire technical support professionals will become more intense. Both learners and teachers will need the services of librarians more frequently and extensively so long as sources of information continue to proliferate.  Demand will continue to increase for the services of faculty development professionals, instructional design specialists, and other pedagogical experts (as a consequence of the increasing number of faculty members who want to use new applications of technology in their teaching).

                    12.  New Faculty Responsibilities, Increasing Workload for All
                    More faculty members will decide that their professional responsibilities include keeping current with the knowledge accumulating in their fields, pedagogical options, and supportive technology applications.  The workload for faculty, academic support professionals, and academic administrators will continue to increase. 

                    13.  Extend, Coordinate, and/or Outsource Academic Support Services
                    More colleges and universities will form local centers and/or related institutional Web-based directories, forums, and services to coordinate the work of existing academic support services, encourage the development of new combinations of those services, and make it easier for faculty and students to find and use those services.  More institutions will also “outsource” some technology and other academic support services and/or develop inter-institutional collaborations for more cost-effective delivery of those services.  Other new commercial services may provide “academic” support services directly to faculty members or students – with or without the involvement of the colleges or universities in which those learners and teachers do their work.  This may be a new role for textbook publishers and other companies in education-related industries.
                    14.  Student Technology Assistants
                    To meet the growing need for academic support services, more colleges and universities will take advantage of one of their unique resources – the students.  They will move beyond current programs of using students for clerical help in the library and as room monitors in computer labs.  They will provide more training for these student assistants, give them opportunities for more technologically and consultatively challenging work, and promote some to positions of responsibility for supervising and training their peers.  Many students, especially those who are not pursuing technology-focused careers, will find the training and experience of these roles a major asset in preparing for most jobs or further study as the value of  technology skills continues to increase in most fields.

                    15.  More Speech on the Web
                    Human speech on the Web – recorded or delivered live -- will take a central role in many kinds of education.  It will become easy for faculty members and students to add recordings of their own speech to text and other information media.  Voice recognition software may dramatically alter human-computer interaction and all related communications/education activities;  probably NOT by eliminating keyboards, but by adding another attractive mode for controlling technology and entering and editing text.

                    16. Better Understanding of Face-to-Face Communication and Other Teaching/Learning Options
                    Educators, corporate leaders, and many others (religious leaders? entertainers?) will learn to take greater advantage of the unique possibilities of face-to-face communications.  They will do so in conjunction with the invention of new ways of combining applications of technology, pedagogical options, content, and purposes.  They will discover the new power of matching all of these with the different capabilities and styles of individual learners, individual teachers, and groups of both.  The “human moment” [see Connect by Edward Hallowell] in which two human beings talk AND LISTEN to each other in the same place at the same time will be more highly valued and sought more intentionally and frequently.

                    17.  Academic Freedom Redefined
                    As faculty and student roles shift and new educational resources are integrated, academic freedom and faculty leadership will remain highly valued;  but they may be redefined.  Many faculty members will embrace greater responsibility for identifying, selecting, and implementing pedagogical options – and supportive applications of technology.

                    18.  Adjuncts Become More Important
                    Adjunct faculty members, especially retirees from first careers, will continue to become a growing part of the teaching faculty at most colleges – both in classrooms and online. Support services for adjuncts will become more common and necessary.  Part-time teaching may prove among the most attractive and self-respect-enhancing new retirement options.

                    19.  Access, Disabilities, and Information Literacy
                    Access to computers, related information resources, and “information literacy” will become higher societal priorities.  More educational institutions will recognize and respond to the need to provide such equitable access for all --- regardless of wealth or disabilities.  Many colleges and universities will develop programs for defining and regularly revising access and information literacy goals;  and for helping students, faculty, administration, and staff to achieve them.  Eventually, colleges and universities may only need to offer guidelines about the expected information literacy competencies of entering students, and to provide some modest remedial services for the few who require them.
                    20.  Educational Rights and Educational Costs
                    Debate will continue on how much education, of what kind, for whom.  As with health care, the notions of a citizen’s educational rights and the locus of decision making about them will be difficult to resolve.  Human society will recognize that the costs of the most effective kinds of education (like the costs of much of the most effective kinds of health care) will continue to rise faster than the costs of food, clothing, and housing.  Quality of life for will depend on access to better quality education and health care for all.  [Will enough world resources be generated and allocated to provide everyone with adequate food, health care, shelter, clothing, and education?  How will “adequate” be defined?]

                    Finally, the concluding section of this paper will describe a new kind of Vision – a vision that seems both feasible and worth the effort to achieve it.  Yet, it is not a vision of an end, but rather of the means for steering in the right direction, confirming progress, and making mid-course corrections.