In the short term, we can make some very good predictions. According to futurist David Houle, curriculum will be digital, and hardware will be mostly a throw-in to sell the content. The hardware will become less and less expensive, and at some point the brand or platform won’t really matter. Connectivity will be from the cloud, and all our schools will be wirelessly connected through a fast (Gigabit Wifi or faster) broadband solution. Personally, I believe that handheld devices will eventually be replaced by either wearable devices or smart glass desks that are the device.
I also believe that in the long term, we have no idea where technology will be. When I tried to discuss this with David Houle, he laughed and dismissed it as “locker room” talk. David may be the world’s top futurist and has written extensively about the future of ed tech. If he can’t hazard a guess, then the future should be pretty amazing. If Moore’s Law holds (processing speeds doubling every two years), then we could be enjoying real A.I. (artificial intelligence) in our lifetimes. Can we expect classes taught by holograms of virtual A.I. teachers? Or global classrooms? What about quantum computers with neural interfaces that analyze and respond to the brain’s (nanosecond to nanosecond) learning process?
In the 1950s, futuristic art was very popular. According to artist predictions, by now we should all be riding rocket ships or hover cars to work, and then going home to dinner cooked by our personal robots. They missed all the important stuff, and never could have predicted the Internet or smart phones. Just like their predictions of our time, any prediction by us of future technology is bound to be myopic.
As compelling as the future is, we need to make the best use of the resources we have today. As superintendents, school board members and principals, a large part of our mandate is to master the Business Side of Education. The reality is that most of us began as teachers, and the majority of our training is from the education side. Few of us are business school grads, and yet we run districts with budgets the size of large corporations, making decisions on spending and purchasing, personnel, land acquisition, construction and finance, insurance and risk management. In this issue of SEEN Magazine, we bring you some very practical advice on the business side of education from some of the best advisors in the world. Enjoy this information and use it. I guarantee you will find something you can use today to make your district’s business run more smoothly.
Next issue, we’ll bring you in-depth, practical resources for Managing and Using Data. It’s often said that education runs on data. With the remarkable increases in technology, our ability to gather, use and manage data is increasing at an impressive rate. This increase brings both benefits and challenges. We’ll look at data privacy and security, explore data literacy, and examine data measurement models and the causal nature of data management. Like to weigh in? I’d love your input. You can email me at [email protected], or call me at 704-568-7804. I hope to hear from you soon.