Last week I led a new Future Trends Forum with a twist. Instead of having a guest for conversation, we focused on fresh results from my ongoing FTTE research. This led to a lot of audience participation, and involved more presentation that we’ve seen so far in the Forum. The combination worked well.
I held back from presenting as much as I could, in order to let participants discuss the issues with each other. Shindig calls this “Mingling”, as each user can connect with others, like snapping together Lego bricks. When the crowd gets above 40 (I think) Shindig breaks people up into multiple rooms accessible through a Mingle Bar on the bottom of the screen, like so:
I also had a significant slide deck this time, as mentioned above. Here’s a link to the desk on Slideshare; embedded here, too:
Since I was presenting and using a prepared set of materials, I didn’t take as many notes as usual. Here’s an outline of topics that came up, partly from my FTTE observations, partly from participants:
Education and its contexts: I mentioned recent trends about state funding to public higher ed (increasing!), graduates living with their parents, mortality rates, internationalization of higher education, the shrinking middle class, students’ growing financial stress, and enrollments for both law schools and general undergraduate education.
Technology topics included social media, video, 3d printing, VR, internet of things, automation, and privacy. In discussion we touched on cognitive computing, “quick” (live or easily published) video (Kat’s term), video growing on mobile devices. Also on mobile we mentioned reading on phones and the uneven deployment of cell phones in America.
Educational technology: I noted stories about MOOCs growing, social media, 3d printing stretching across the curriculum, brainstorming about VR and automation. Participants spoke to early childhood computing. Ellen Borkowski asked about Watson for education. Paul mentioned an AI platform for K-12, ALEKS (thanks to Steve Kaye for identifying the right name from my fuddled notes). David (from Sydney) noted that Deakin University (Australia) has been implementing IBM Watson in their Student Admin system for two years (“basically a FAQ on steroids”).
Patrice (Cornell University) raised two topics: data analytics for learning, and MOOCs based on sustainability activism. An example of the latter is Cornell’s “Reclaiming Broken Places: Introduction to Civic Ecology” MOOC. Speaking of MOOCs, we discussed the use of Facebook to support better sociability in MOOCs.
Higher education bubble or crisis: I brought the gloom by mentioning the continuing tuition growth and income stagnation crisis, plus queen sacrifices, along with the recent audacity of CIC leaders. Rodney Hargis asked us to consider the impact of this year’s presidential election on higher education, including the possibility of increasing the size of or support to community colleges (I think this was a reference to Bernie Sanders). Mark Ulett pondered how much of the current crisis is due to administrations working around or blocked by faculty tenure, and also mentioned paracurricular centers, like writing or research centers. Patrice wondered about the impact of the sharing economy. Joe Murphy (Kenyon College) asked about what happens to organisms, like people or campuses, suffering stress for a long time.
Thanks to all participants for contributing throughout the hour!
Next week: Deanna Marcum (Ithaka S+R) and I will discuss campus leaders’ attitudes towards the transformation of education and the future of libraries. Click here to RSVP, or simply click on the link to jump in live at 11 am EST, on Tuesday, March 22nd.